In a nutshell
This study explored the idea that losing weight may improve the chances of conceiving and giving birth in overweight patients.
Roughly 50% of women of reproductive age are currently overweight, with a body mass index (BMI, a measure of body fat that takes height and weight into account) of more than 25 kg/m2. Being overweight can reduce the chances of becoming pregnant naturally or with fertility treatment. Once pregnant, overweight patients are also at higher risk of miscarriage.
It is not known whether losing weight can increase pregnancy and live birth rates in women dealing with infertility.
Methods & findings
52 females who were overweight and being treated for infertility were included in this study. They were advised to lower calorie intake and do 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.
One third of patients achieved the goal of to losing 10% of their maximum weight. The woman who did not acheive the weight loss goals were more likely to be obese (a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more). 14% of the obese patients lost the required amount of weight compared to 56% of non-obese patients.
Patients who did not meet the weight loss goals were also more likely to have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone problem that can affect fertility and weight. 14% of these patients achieved the weight loss recommended, compared to 54% of non-PCOS patients.
88% of patients who lost the recommended amount of weight conceived and 71% gave birth to a live baby. This is compared to overall conception rates of 54% the group that did not make the weight loss goal. 37% of women in this group gave birth to a live baby.
The bottom line
This study found that losing weight may lead to a greater chance of conceiving and giving birth.
The fine print
The number of women who took part in this study was small, a bigger study may be necessary to provide more meaningful results.
The fertility and weight of male partners was not taken into account in this study, this may be important.
Talk with your physician about whether losing weight may help your chances of conceiving and giving birth.
Published By :
Fertility and Sterility
Feb 27, 2014