Nearly all of a sample of around 100 women who attended a special clinic before undergoing a course of IVF treatment to try to have a baby had three or more lifestyle problems and risk factors, according to Dutch research published in the May issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
The risks included bacterial and parasitic infections, alcohol use, smoking, obesity and using medication without a prescription.
But many of the women refused to take action to improve their health – for example 30% of the smokers refused to quit and 16% of the obese women refused to lose weight, the study found.
Half the obese women did lose weight and almost one-third of the smokers quit after being given advice on improving their health and lifestyle.
The research was carried out by Utrecht University’s medical centre.
‘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,’ nurse researcher Henrietta Ockhuijsen said. ‘Despite this, preconception care is rarely offered to couples undergoing IVF.’
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