Losing Just a Small Amount of Weight Could Help Women Get Pregnant Without IVF

Losing a small amount of weight can help more women conceive naturally, according to new research. British women are increasingly likely to be overweight or obese, with nearly six out of ten falling into one of the categories. A study of females with fertility problems found that losing 9 ½ pounds on average in six months through regular diet and exercise doubled their chances of becoming pregnant naturally.

The Study

The study, presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual meeting, in Helsinki, involved 577 females who suffered from fertility issues and were overweight or obese.

Half of the women were given advice on losing weight through exercise and dieting with the goal of losing 5 percent of their body weight. The other half were not put on an intervention program.

One in four in the group who were able to lose weight got pregnant, when compared to just over one in ten of those who didn’t go through a fitness program. The women, had a body mass index of 29 (overweight) and 35 (morbidly obese).

The study was performed by Dr. Anne Van Oers at the University Medical Center Groningen, in the Netherlands. She states that the largest impact of losing weight was in women whose periods are occasional or have stopped.

She stated, “Our finding that lifestyle intervention in obese women more often leads to natural conception, specifically anovulatory women, should be used in their counseling before fertility treatment and could reasonably be offered as first line treatment for anovulation in obese women.”

Stuart Lavery, consultant gynecologist at Hammersmith Hospital who wasn’t involved in the study said, “Sometimes the changes in BMI do not have to be enormous and that’s quite reassuring for a lot of people because it is really difficult to actually go out there and lose the weight.”

Dr. Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society said, “Obesity is a massive problem in the UK and has major ramifications throughout life but particularly on reproductive health. We also know losing weight may have a beneficial effect on the long-term health of the baby conceived.”


Dr. Balen stated in closing, “Especially, if you are overweight, you want to restrict calories, maybe by 500 calories a day to 1,500 calories diet. Daily exercise, so cardiovascular exercise-30 to 45 minutes a day- and if you can achieve that you would expect to lose one or two pounds a week and that is sustainable.”

Professor Nick Macklon, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Southampton, stated, “This is an important study, in that it does throw an emphasis on the importance of pre-conception care, of which losing weight in obese women is just one. You should not just go on a huge crash diet and reduce your calories to almost zero.”


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