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Women Who Undergo Weight-Reduction Surgery Should Have Vitamin Levels Checked Before Becoming Pregnant

July 26, 2010 by  

Women Who Undergo Weight-Reduction Surgery Should Have Vitamin Levels Checked Before Becoming PregnantResults of a recent Australian study suggest that women who undergo gastric bypass surgery to treat morbid obesity are at a high risk of suffering vitamin deficiencies and may want to consider taking supplements if they wish to become pregnant.

Although weight-reduction surgery can save the lives of severely obese individuals, it is associated with several adverse side effects, including severe vitamin deficiencies.

A research team from the department of ophthalmology at Royal Children’s Hospital found that the nutrient levels of women who undergo this procedure may become even lower during pregnancy and, if not corrected, can lead to major birth defects in their children.

Lead author Glen Gole and his colleagues cite the case of a woman who had biliopancreatic diversion surgery nearly seven years before becoming pregnant. Nine weeks into her pregnancy, the patient was diagnosed with severe deficiencies of Vitamins A, D and K.

Due to the surgery she was unable to boost her nutrient levels during gestation and gave birth to a child with serious malformations to both eyes.

"It is important for any woman who has had this form of gastric bypass surgery to be checked for vitamin deficiency—and have it corrected—before considering having a baby," said David Hunter, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, which published the research.
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