Weight-loss intervention increases pregnancy rate, Sydney University study

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th May 2012

New research from the University of Sydney, Australia, has found that weight loss intervention in obese women undergoing fertility treatment substantially improves pregnancy rates.

The study is being presented today at the 19th European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France (the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Obesity).

According to lead author, Dr Kyra Sim of The Boden Institute at the University of Sydney, the study is the first randomised controlled trial that brings together the results of weight loss strategies in women on fertility treatment with the economics of such strategies.

In the trial, 49 subjects undertaking an assisted reproductive technology programme with a body mass index higher than 30 kg/m2, and aged below 37 years, were recruited.

Some of the participants undertook a 12-week intervention programme consisting of a very-low-energy diet for the initial six weeks followed by a low-energy diet, combined with a weekly group multidisciplinary programme. The other participants, the control group, received recommendations for weight loss.

Each woman was followed up at 12 months to confirm whether a pregnancy had occurred.

The intervention group lost an average of 6.6 kg and dropped 9 cm from their waistlines, compared with a 1.8 kg average weight loss and 1 cm drop in waist circumference in the control group.

The intervention group also had a significant improvement in pregnancy rates (intervention: 48 per cent versus 14 per cent controls).

The researchers found a decline in the number of assisted reproductive cycles required to achieve pregnancy, maternal and fetal risk factors, and metabolic, hormonal and psychological improvements.

According to the researchers, a cost-effective saving of AU$9,035 per pregnancy was achieved by those in the intervention group.

Dr Sim said, “Beneficial outcomes reported in the study demonstrate the importance of implementing a programme of preconception weight management together with the provision of specific information concerning the maternal and fetal risks of obesity in pregnancy.”