Background: Small lifestyle-intervention studies suggest that modest weight loss increases the chance of conception and may improve perinatal outcomes, but large randomized, controlled trials are lacking.
Methods: We randomly assigned infertile women with a body-mass index (the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) of 29 or higher to a 6-month lifestyle intervention preceding treatment for infertility or to prompt treatment for infertility. The primary outcome was the vaginal birth of a healthy singleton at term within 24 months after randomization.
Results: We assigned women who did not conceive naturally to one of two treatment strategies: 290 women were assigned to a 6-month lifestyle-intervention program preceding 18 months of infertility treatment (intervention group) and 287 were assigned to prompt infertility treatment for 24 months (control group). A total of 3 women withdrew consent, so 289 women in the intervention group and 285 women in the control group were included in the analysis. The discontinuation rate in the intervention group was 21.8%. In intention-to-treat analyses, the mean weight loss was 4.4 kg in the intervention group and 1.1 kg in the control group (P<0.001). The primary outcome occurred in 27.1% of the women in the intervention group and 35.2% of those in the control group (rate ratio in the intervention group, 0.77; 95% confidence interval, 0.60 to 0.99).
Conclusions: In obese infertile women, a lifestyle intervention preceding infertility treatment, as compared with prompt infertility treatment, did not result in higher rates of a vaginal birth of a healthy singleton at term within 24 months after randomization. (Funded by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development; Netherlands Trial Register number, NTR1530.).