Vitamin A and micronutrient deficiencies post-bariatric surgery: aetiology, complications and management in a complex multiparous pregnancy


Adequate vitamin A is essential for healthy pregnancy, but high levels may be teratogenic. We present a patient who underwent bariatric surgery, prior to child bearing, and suffered maternal and foetal complications during eleven pregnancies, possibly associated with vitamin A deficiency, amongst multiple micronutrient deficiencies and risk factors including smoking and obesity. Maternal complications included visual disturbance, night blindness and recurrent infections. Recurrent foetal pulmonary hypoplasia and microphthalmia led to foetal and neonatal loss, not previously described in the medical literature. Current guidance on vitamin A deficiency in pregnancy is focused on developing countries where aetiology of vitamin A deficiency is different to that of women in developed countries. We describe nutritional management of the micronutritient deficiencies, focusing on vitamin A, during her last pregnancy. The need for specific antenatal nutritional guidance for pregnant women post-bariatric surgery is becoming more urgent as more mothers and offspring will be affected.

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We thank Mr Michael A Burdon for his ophthalmology expertise.

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Correspondence to Fiona L. Mackie.

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Conflict of interest

Dr SC Cooper has received honoraria and participated in advisory boards for Covidien, honoraria from Baxter, and educational sponsorship from Calea. Ms LJ Whitticase has participated in an advisory board for Fresenius Kabi.

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The patient has given informed written consent to allow the publication of her case history.

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Mackie, F.L., Cooper, N.S., Whitticase, L.J. et al. Vitamin A and micronutrient deficiencies post-bariatric surgery: aetiology, complications and management in a complex multiparous pregnancy. Eur J Clin Nutr 72, 1176–1179 (2018).

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