The study found that losing weight prior to fertility treatments didn’t raise the chances of conception.
Carrying extra weight is often said to be a contributing factor when struggling to conceive. But according to the results of a new study, losing weight prior to beginning fertility treatments may not increase chances of conception.
The researchers considered over 300 women who were classified as obese and also struggling to get pregnant. To be included in the study, the participants had to have a body mass index (BMI) of or greater than 30 kg/m2. They also needed to have regular ovulation but a year of unexplained infertility.
Women with anovulation (when an egg isn’t released by the ovaries during the menstrual cycle) and/or polycystic ovarian syndrome were excluded from the study.
The researchers wanted to see if participants who lost weight were more likely to conceive. To do so, they divided the women into two groups. One group was told to follow a specific diet and exercise regimen in order to lose weight, while the other increased their physical activity but didn’t modify their diet.
All the participants finished the diet and exercise regimen 16 weeks before beginning fertility treatments, which included ovarian stimulation and IVF.
In conclusion, although the group that changed their physical activity and diet lost more weight than the other participants, they didn’t have higher rates of conception after reproductive assistance. The weight loss group shed an average of 7 percent of their body weight, while the other group had no significant weight loss prior to the fertility treatments.
The researchers explained that the results don’t necessarily suggest that chances of conception aren’t linked to obesity. Rather, it doesn’t appear that losing weight in the months leading up to fertility assistance increases the likelihood of pregnancy, at least in women classified as obese.
However, they did emphasize that even if it doesn’t improve chances of conception, there are other benefits to losing weight pre-pregnancy, as may allow for a healthier, smoother pregnancy.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends attempting to lose excess weight prior to getting pregnant. The CDC explains that research has found children born to obese mothers are more likely to have poor developmental outcomes, including cognitive delays, learning problems, and difficulty with regulating emotions.
Please speak to your healthcare provider for more information on weight and pregnancy.
by ALEXANDRA SAKELLARIOU