Antenatal interventions for reducing weight in obese women for improving pregnancy outcome


Being obese and pregnant is associated with substantial risks for the mother and her child. Current weight management guidance for obese pregnant women is limited. The latest recommendations suggest that obese pregnant women should gain between 5.0 and 9.1 kg during the pregnancy period, and weight loss is discouraged. However, observational studies indicate that some obese pregnant women, especially those who are heavier, lose weight during pregnancy. Furthermore, some obese pregnant women may intentionally lose weight. The safety of weight loss when pregnant and obese is not substantiated; some observational studies suggest that risks associated with weight loss such as pre‐eclampsia are improved, but others indicate that the incidence of small‐ for‐gestational infants are increased. It is important to evaluate interventions that are designed to reduce weight in obese pregnant women so that the safety of weight loss during this period can be established.


To evaluate the effectiveness of interventions that reduce weight in obese pregnant women.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (31 July 2012) and contacted experts in the field.

Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials, ‘quasi‐random’ studies and cluster‐randomised trials comparing a weight‐loss intervention with routine care or more than one weight loss intervention. Cross‐over trials were not eligible for inclusion.

Data collection and analysis

We identified no studies that met the inclusion criteria for this review.

Main results

There were no included trials.

Authors’ conclusions

There are no trials designed to reduce weight in obese pregnant women. Until the safety of weight loss in obese pregnant women can be established, there can be no practice recommendations for these women to intentionally lose weight during the pregnancy period. Further study is required to explore the potential benefits, or harm, of weight loss in pregnancy when obese before weight loss interventions in pregnancy can be designed. Qualitative research is also required to explore dietary habits of obese pregnant women, especially those who are morbidly obese.