New world-first clinical trial on benefits of losing weight prior to pregnancy

13 January 2022
Women in Sydney planning to get pregnant invited to join PreBabe trial
The University of Sydney is leading the world's largest clinical trial exploring how losing weight prior to pregnancy can improve the long-term health of mothers and babies.

The PreBabe clinical trial is looking for 2,200 women to take part over the next three years, building on promising data from a recent pilot study.

Women living in Sydney or Newcastle with overweight or obesity (BMI>25), aged 18 to 40 and thinking of becoming pregnant in the near future are encouraged to register their interest.

Participating women will be offered a free 10-week weight loss program as part of the trial under COVID-19 safe conditions.

PreBabe will test two different approaches to losing weight prior to pregnancy to see which has the best short- and long-term results for women and their babies.
Both weight loss programs are safe, supported by a clinical team, and designed to be followed for 10 weeks prior to trying to get pregnant.

Professor Adrienne Gordon from the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine and Health and the Charles Perkins Centre is leading the PreBabe study. She said preconception health is a critical timepoint in both a woman’s health, and that of her baby’s.

“One in two women in Australia start their pregnancy journey above a healthy weight,” Professor Gordon said.

“While you can have a higher BMI (body mass index) and be very healthy, carrying extra weight at the start of a pregnancy can be associated with complications in pregnancy such as high blood pressure, diabetes, miscarriage, preterm birth and caesarean delivery.

“Losing weight before trying to get pregnant may help you to conceive, and is also safer than trying to lose weight during pregnancy, which is not recommended”.

“Our aim is to assist women to lose weight and build healthier lifestyles in a supportive environment within a clinical setting. This will provide metabolic health benefits and they may be more likely to fall pregnant”.

“It's possible that babies and children may also be healthier, as research has shown that mothers having a BMI over 25 doubles the risk of having a big baby, which increases the risk of complications during childbirth, and obesity in childhood”.

“We need around 750 women each year over the next three years, so if you’re thinking about trying for a baby in the near future and would like to be involved, please get in touch,” Professor Gordon said.

Aedin ni Dhiomasaigh took part in the pre-trial before conceiving her second child and said it was a positive experience that helped her lose weight and get her health on track.

“It was a very positive experience and I’ve had a beautiful healthy boy after a very healthy pregnancy,” said the 42 year old midwife from Earlwood.

“I’d really recommend any women who are considering pregnancy or getting pregnant again and want to lose some weight and get their health on track to get in touch with the PreBabe study and get involved,” she said.

The trial is a partnership with five maternity hospitals: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the Royal Hospital for Women, Nepean Hospital, Westmead Hospital, and John Hunter Hospital.

The multidisciplinary team includes experts in obstetrics, fetal medicine, midwifery, newborn care, epidemiology, weight loss and nutrition.

For more information and to register for the study visit

Declaration: This study has been approved by the Ethics Review Committee (RPAH Zone) of the Sydney Local Health District.  

Ivy Shih

Media and Public Relations Adviser (Medicine and Health)

Michelle Blowes

Media and PR Adviser (Health Sciences)

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