Obesity in women: anaesthetic implications for peri-operative and peripartum management.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

The prevalence, healthcare and socio-economic impact of obesity (defined as having a body mass index of ≥ 30 kg.m-2 ) are disproportionately higher in women than men. A combination of biological and social factors, including the adaptation of energy homeostasis to the increased demands of pregnancy and lactation and poor access to healthy foods or exercise facilities, contribute to the increasing prevalence of obesity in women. Obesity-related physiological changes stem from mass loading and increased metabolism of adipose tissue, as well as secretion of bioactive substances from adipocytes leading to chronic low-grade inflammation. As a result, obesity is associated with increased risks of: infertility; malignancy; sleep-disordered breathing; cardiovascular disease; diabetes; and thromboembolism. Hence, obese women are at markedly increased risk of peri-operative morbidity and mortality and require comprehensive evaluation and targeted comorbidity optimisation by a multidisciplinary team. In addition to routine obstetric challenges, pregnancy in women with obesity further exacerbates the above risks, making multidisciplinary management starting at pre-conception even more important. Weight loss, lifestyle management and optimisation of comorbidity are the cornerstone of reducing obesity-related risks. The anaesthetist plays a vital role within the multidisciplinary team by emphasising weight loss as part of pre-operative comorbidity optimisation, formulation of individualised peri-operative management plans, supervising postoperative care in the high dependency or intensive care settings and providing safe labour analgesia and careful peripartum management for obese parturients.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tan, HS; Habib, AS

Published Date

  • April 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 76 Suppl 4 /

Start / End Page

  • 108 - 117

PubMed ID

  • 33682095

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1365-2044

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/anae.15403


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England