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The acceptability and feasibility of a planned pre-pregnancy weight loss intervention.


Approximately 50% of women of childbearing age in England are overweight or obese (Public Health England, 2015). With the known health risks this presents in pregnancy to mother and child, services to support women planning a pregnancy with weight loss are needed. Current weight loss interventions in pregnancy do not make enough difference to mother and babies health and so attention has turned to interventions before the woman becomes pregnant (pre-pregnancy). This is not a group that would routinely attend for appointments with their GP or healthcare providers, with the exception of women using long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) such as the intrauterine device (“coil”) or sub-dermal implants, who need them removed by a GP or Sexual Health Practitioner (Practitioners) before they can become pregnant.

Study aims

The aim of this study is to discover if it is possible to do a research study that asks women who are overweight/obese to delay LARC removal and take part in a pre-pregnancy weight loss intervention.

We want to find out:

  1. how many women request a LARC removal each year and if it is possible to identify from clinic data if they are overweight/obese
  2. what type of weight loss intervention might suit them
  3. if the clinicians who remove LARCs are prepared to refer patients to weight loss interventions
  4. how best to design a study to tell us whether such an intervention will work. We want to understand the possible problems in order to design a study that is acceptable and feasible or explain why this study cannot currently be done.

The Plan-it study will therefore aim to identify the number of LARC removals nationally and if those women are overweight/obese. We will look at the types of weight loss interventions that might work and also any guidelines that might affect practitioners' practice. We will also gather the views of women (through online surveys advertised through social media e.g Facebook,  weight loss forums etc) and practitioners of a possible intervention. We will put this information together and work with groups of women and practitioners (our stakeholder advisory groups, SAGs) to translate this into possible interventions and study designs. We will ask women and professionals in individual/group interviews, for their views of our suggestions and then we will draft a proposal that will be finalised by discussion with the SAGs.


The final study design, or reasons for no study, will be written up as the final report, published, put on the study website and presented at conferences.


Key facts

Start date 1 May 2019
End date 31 Oct 2019
Grant value £281,958
  • Published

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