Pregnancy Outcomes After Bariatric Surgery: Importance of Maternal Ferritin on Birth Weight

Obes Surg. 2024 Jun 6. doi: 10.1007/s11695-024-07285-3. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: The risks carried by pregnancy after bariatric surgery (BS) include small-for-gestational age (SGA) newborn and prematurity. However, the underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood in pregnant women after BS.

Material and methods: This single-center retrospective observational cohort study includes all women with a first and single pregnancy after BS who completed at least one clinical and biological nutritional assessment during pregnancy between 2010 and 2016. The quarterly biological assessment comprised blood count, ferritin, calcium, 25OH vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, fasting glucose, albumin, prealbumin, vitamin A, vitamin B12, folic acid, and zinc.

Results: Among 120 pregnancies analysed, two-thirds underwent gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y and one-anastomosis) and one-third a restrictive procedure (adjustable gastric band or sleeve gastrectomy). The median [Q1-Q3] preoperative BMI was 43.8 [41.1-47.7] kg/m2 and the mean age at pregnancy was 32.6 ± 5.3 years. Weight loss and time from surgery to pregnancy were 35.1 ± 15.4 kg and 2.9 [1.3-4.5] years, respectively. Ten women (8%) gave birth prematurely, and 22 newborns (19%) were SGA. Univariate analysis shows that ferritin was significantly higher in mothers with SGA than in those without SGA (35.5 [22.3-69.5] vs. 15 [10-32] ng/ml) at third trimester of pregnancy. Women who received pre-pregnancy nutritional assessment seemed less likely to give birth to a SGA newborn (32% vs. 54%, p = 0.07).

Conclusion: Iron supplementation should be carefully prescribed and closely monitored during pregnancy in women who have undergone BS.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Ferritin; Iron; Micronutrients; Pregnancy; Small for gestational age.