[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 19-Apr-2012
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Contact: Annette Whibley
annette.wizard@gmail.com
Wiley

96 percent of women in IVF preconception study faced multiple lifestyle issues and health risks

Nurses were surprised that some women refused to lose weight or quit smoking

Ninety-six per cent of women who attended a preconception clinic before undergoing IVF had three or more lifestyle problems and risk factors, according to a study in the May issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Half of the obese women lost weight and nearly a third of the smokers decided to quit after receiving advice at the clinic. But the nurses were surprised that some women had no motivation to lead healthier lifestyles, even though they were prepared to go through IVF to get pregnant. For example 30% of the smokers refused to quit and 16% of the obese women weren't prepared to lose weight.

Researchers from the University Medical Center in Utrecht, The Netherlands, analysed the results of questionnaires completed by 101 women who had received preconception care before IVF, together with the seven nurses who advised them.

"Medical professionals are increasingly recognising that there are important links between preconception health and positive IVF outcomes, both in terms of the success of the procedure and the health of the baby" says nurse researcher Henrietta Ockhuijsen from the Department of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecology at the Center. "Despite this, preconception care is rarely offered to couples undergoing IVF."

A total of 130 women, aged from 25 to 42 years, completed an internet-based preconception questionnaire developed by the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and 101 of those completed a further questionnaire after they had received lifestyle advice from one of the seven nurses. The obese patients and smokers were then followed up for a further year. The registered nurses ranged from 42 to 51 years-of-age and had all worked in the fertility clinic for more than five years.

Key findings of the study included:

"The results of our study show that preconception care was well received by the patients and that it motivated some women to lose weight and quit smoking" concludes Henrietta Ockhuijsen. "We feel that such care should be incorporate into IVF programmes and that nurses could play a key role in running special clinics, as long as they were provided with additional education and clear protocols."

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Notes to editors



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