A blended preconception lifestyle programme for couples undergoing IVF : lessons learned from a multicentre randomized controlled trial
STUDY QUESTION What is the effect of a blended preconception lifestyle programme on reproductive and lifestyle outcomes of couples going through their first 12 months of IVF as compared to an attention control condition?SUMMARY ANSWER This randomized controlled trial (RCT) was stopped prematurely because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic but the available data did not suggest that a blended preconception lifestyle programme could meaningfully affect time to ongoing pregnancy or other reproductive and lifestyle outcomes.WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Increasing evidence shows associations between a healthy lifestyle and IVF success rates. Lifestyle programmes provided through a mobile phone application have yet to be evaluated by RCTs in couples undergoing IVF.STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION A multicentre RCT (1:1) was carried out. The RCT started in January 2019 and was prematurely stopped because of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to a reduced sample size (211 couples initiating IVF) and change in primary outcome (cumulative ongoing pregnancy to time to ongoing pregnancy).PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS Heterosexual couples initiating IVF in five fertility clinics were randomized between an attention control arm and an intervention arm for 12 months. The attention control arm received treatment information by mobile phone in addition to standard care. The intervention arm received the blended preconception lifestyle (PreLiFe)-programme in addition to standard care. The PreLiFe-programme included a mobile application, offering tailored advice and skills training on diet, physical activity and mindfulness, in combination with motivational interviewing over the telephone. The primary outcome was 'time to ongoing pregnancy'. Secondary reproductive outcomes included the Core Outcome Measures for Infertility Trials and IVF discontinuation. Changes in the following secondary lifestyle outcomes over 3 and 6 months were studied in both partners: diet quality, fruit intake, vegetable intake, total moderate to vigorous physical activity, sedentary behaviour, emotional distress, quality of life, BMI, and waist circumference. Finally, in the intervention arm, acceptability of the programme was evaluated and actual use of the mobile application part of the programme was tracked. Analysis was according to intention to treat.MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE A total of 211 couples were randomized (105 control arm, 106 intervention arm). The hazard ratio of the intervention for time to ongoing pregnancy was 0.94 (95% CI 0.63 to 1.4). Little to no effect on other reproductive or lifestyle outcomes was identified. Although acceptability of the programme was good (6/10), considerable proportions of men (38%) and 9% of women did not actively use all the modules of the mobile application (diet, physical activity, or mindfulness).LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION The findings of this RCT should be considered exploratory, as the Covid-19 pandemic limited its power and the actual use of the mobile application was low.WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS This is the first multicentre RCT evaluating the effect of a blended preconception lifestyle programme for women and their partners undergoing IVF on both reproductive and lifestyle outcomes. This exploratory RCT highlights the need for further studies into optimal intervention characteristics and actual use of preconception lifestyle programmes, as well as RCTs evaluating effectiveness. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) Supported by the Research foundation Flanders (Belgium) (FWO-TBM; reference: T005417N). No competing interests to declare.TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER Identifier: NCT03790449TRIAL REGISTRATION DATE 31 December 2018DATE OF FIRST PATIENT'S ENROLMENT 2 January 2019
Source (journal)
Human Reproduction Open / European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
Oxford University Press , 2023
2023 :4 (2023) , p. 1-10
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Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Web of Science
Creation 30.10.2023
Last edited 10.11.2023
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