NOV 19, 2015 7:55 PM PST

Children Born to Women after Weight Loss Surgery at Higher Risk of Obesity and Diabetes

WRITTEN BY: Julianne Chiaet
Researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center wanted to find out whether it was purely beneficial for mothers to have offspring after surgery.

At first glance, it seemed to be. Obese women have a higher risk of experiencing several complications during pregnancy. Their fetuses are also at a higher risk for complications, such as being born prematurely. Thus, it's advisable they lose the extra weight, but dieting is not a legitimate long-term solution for severely obese individuals. 
Children born to obese mothers are at higher risk of complications while in the womb

The only long-term observable option available to them is weight-loss surgery. For women seeking to have children, the surgery boasts of myriad of benefits. It can boost fertility in women and reduces the risks of pregnancy complications that are common in obese women.

In their first study, the researchers found "that [the offspring] was shorter, smaller, and glucose intolerant,” says study author and metabolic disease expert Bernadette E. Grayson to LabRoots. In addition, the offspring was more susceptible to developing long-term problems, such as diabetes and obesity. 

In her new study, Grayson wanted to identify what was happening in the placenta and fetus that could be driving the issue. Her team put Long-Evans rats on a high fat diet for 3-weeks. They then performed either a vertical sleeve gastrectomy or a placebo surgery on the each rat. The vertical sleeve gastrectomy removed 80 percent of the rat’s stomach.  

The females were mated after the surgery. During the first two weeks of pregnancy, the rats who underwent weight-loss surgery gained weight and took in a similar amount of calories to the control rats. Between day 12 and 18 of their pregnancies, the gastrectomy rats lost weight. On day 19, the researchers found the rats’ average blood pressure significantly dropped in comparison to the obese and lean controls. The same day, they euthanized the rats to analyze the contents of their wombs. They found the placental-to-fetal weight ratios suggested a placental insufficiency, meaning there was insufficient blood flow to the placenta. 

The researchers found an increase of genes involved in oxygen deficiency and inflammation in the rats’ placentas. Oxygen deficiency and inflammation are both linked to weight gain. The data suggests weight-loss surgery alters mother's chemical balance, which in turn harms their offspring, causing obesity and diabetes.

The next step in research is to figure out what pathways are driving the alterations in the womb. 

We need to understand whether we are creating a greater problem of metabolic disease for the next generation, and what we can do to stop it, Grayson says. 

Grayson presented her findings today, November 19, 2015, at the APS Conference: Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic Diseases: Physiology and Gender.

Sources: The American Physiological Society via Newswise, personal communication with lead researcher Bernadette E. Grayson, conference abstract via APS Communications Office 
About the Author
  • Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to
You May Also Like
MAY 29, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
MAY 29, 2020
Japanese Company Makes CBD from Orange Peels
Japanese company, Hiro International, has derived cannabidiol (CBD) oil from orange peels. Free from tetrahydrocannabino ...
JUN 22, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JUN 22, 2020
Half of the global population is exposed to air pollution
A World Health Organization study published recently in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science reports that half of ...
JUN 23, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JUN 23, 2020
FDA Warns Against Toxic Hand Sanitizers
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen demand for hand sanitizers soar in recent months. As such, the Food and Drug Administrati ...
JUN 24, 2020
JUN 24, 2020
Even low levels of air pollution are associated with morbidity
A new study investigates the causal relationship between mortality and long-term exposure to a low level of fine particu ...
JUN 26, 2020
JUN 26, 2020
Drug for Osteoporosis Linked to Increased Risk of Adverse Cardiovascular Events
In a recent study done by Jonas Bovijn, MBChB, MSc, DLSHTM, of the Big Data Institute at the University of Oxford’ ...
JUN 28, 2020
JUN 28, 2020
A Brief History of the 1918 Pandemic Flu
The 1918 pandemic flu was caused by a variant of the HIN1 strain of the influenza virus, and its genome shows that it pr ...
Loading Comments...