Promoting Weight Loss Before Pregnancy

Feasible or Futile?

  • Suzanne Phelan California Polytechnic State University
  • Todd Hagobian California Polytechnic State University
  • Anna Brannen California Polytechnic State University
  • Ana Stewart California Polytechnic State University
  • Brianna Schmid California Polytechnic State University
  • Leonard Cedars Obstetrix Medical Group


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 selfweighing (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.
How to Cite
Phelan, S., Hagobian, T., Brannen, A., Stewart, A., Schmid, B., & Cedars, L. (2013). Promoting Weight Loss Before Pregnancy: Feasible or Futile?. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 11(2), 86-92.