Published in Californian Journal of Health Promotion, Volume 11, Issue 2, September 1, 2013, pages 86-92.
Pre-pregnancy obesity is a well-established risk factor for several adverse maternal and fetal outcomes, including gestational diabetes, hypertension, cesarean sections, and fetal macrosomia. Weight loss before pregnancy could help prevent such complications, but the feasibility of such an approach remains unknown. The current study examined the feasibility of a 3-month pre-pregnancy behavioral weight loss program in 12 overweight/obese women planning pregnancy. The 3 month program resulted in an average 5.4 ± 3.0 kg weight loss and significant improvements in self-monitoring, physical activity, eating and exercise self-efficacy, and healthy eating (p < 0.04). By the end of the 9 month follow-up, half of sample (n = 6) had conceived. Women reported significant increases in weekly or more frequent self-weighing (p < 0.0001), counting calories (p < 0.001), consuming fruit and vegetables (p = 0.007), and cutting out fat (p = 0.0001) and junk foods (p = 0.002). A lifestyle modification program to promote weight loss before pregnancy promoted clinically significant weight loss and appeared feasible.