Obesity and overweight can reduce your chances of conceiving, either naturally or via assisted reproduction such as IVF. In addition, obese women and their children are at a higher risk for complications during pregnancy and beyond.
A new study published by Dr. Kyra Sim from the Boden Institute in Sydney provides good evidence that weight loss can improve fertility outcomes. Dr. Sim and her team recruited 49 obese women who were then randomised to a weight loss programme. Half of the women underwent supervised weight loss in a group support programme with weekly meetings for advice and encouragement. The other half were advised on the same weight loss protocol but had no additional support.
After 12 weeks women in the support group had lost more weight, 6.6 kg (~1 stone) versus only 1.6kg (3.5 pounds) in those that had no support. After 12 months, the women from the group had achieved more pregnancies and live births after assisted conception and indeed 3 natural conceptions. After completing the supervised group programme, the women were 5 times more likely to have given birth to a healthy baby.
The study suggested that “group treatment methods tend to be more beneﬁcial than individual treatment programmes because of factors including group support and cohesion, realization that an individual’s problems are not unique, the sharing of difﬁculties with other group members, encouragement from others and a group expectation of a positive outcome”
If you are looking to lose weight or are concerned about the effects of being overweight on your fertility, talk to us on 01-4020777.
Read the study summary:
Clin Obes. 2014 Apr;4(2):61-8. doi: 10.1111/cob.12048. Epub 2014 Feb 28.
Weight loss improves reproductive outcomes in obese women undergoing fertility treatment: a randomized controlled trial.
Sim KA1, Dezarnaulds GM, Denyer GS, Skilton MR, Caterson ID.
- 1The Boden Institute, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
For women attempting pregnancy, obesity reduces fertility and is an independent risk factor for obstetric and neonatal complications. The aim of this evaluator-blinded, randomized controlled trial was to evaluate a weight loss intervention on pregnancy rates in obese women undertaking fertility treatment. Forty-nine obese women, aged ≤37 years, presenting for fertility treatment were randomized to either a 12-week intervention (n = 27) consisting of a very-low-energy diet for the initial 6 weeks followed by a hypocaloric diet, combined with a weekly group multidisciplinary programme; or a control group (n = 22) who received recommendations for weight loss and the same printed material as the intervention. Anthropometric and reproductive parameters were measured at baseline and at 12 weeks. The 22 women who completed the intervention had greater anthropometric changes (-6.6 ± 4.6 kg and -8.7 ± 5.6 cm vs. -1.6 ± 3.6 kg and -0.6 ± 6.3 cm) compared with the control group (n = 17; P < 0.001). The intervention group achieved a pregnancy rate of 48% compared with 14% (P = 0.007), took a mean two fertility treatment cycles to achieve each pregnancy compared with four in the control group (P = 0.002), and had a marked increase in the number of live births (44% vs. 14%; P = 0.02). A group weight loss programme, incorporating dietary, exercise and behavioural components, is associated with a significant improvement in pregnancy rates and live births in a group of obese women undergoing fertility treatment.
© 2014 The Authors; Clinical Obesity © 2014 International Association for the Study of Obesity