Risks of weight loss surgery make healthy lifestyle support best option for improving fertility

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists releases a Scientific Impact Paper today (Thursday, 15th October 2015) suggesting that weight loss surgery can improve fertility and reproductive outcomes in obese women. 

In response, Carolyn Pallister, Public Health Manager at Slimming World, has urged women and health professionals to take note of the recommendation in the report that getting support to lose weight through healthy lifestyle changes is always preferable to surgery in the first instance.

“Bariatric surgery carries serious health risks and can be emotionally stressful," says Carolyn. "So while maintaining a healthy weight has a positive impact on conception, pregnancy outcome and the long-term health of mother and baby, it’s really important that women are encouraged to manage their weight by getting support to make healthy lifestyle changes first of all.

“Many people hope that surgery will be a quick fix, but it’s rarely the magic bullet they were hoping for. As well as the risk of complications such as possible infections, blockages, slippages if you have a gastric band, and food intolerances, the possibility of nutritional deficiencies means that women are advised not to conceive within 12-18 months of having the operation.


Carolyn Pallister, Public Health Manager
It makes sense for women who wish to lose weight and start a family to be guided towards weight management support groups rather than surgery.
Carolyn Pallister, Public Health Manager

“When losing weight through bariatric surgery, patients still need to make long-term healthy lifestyle changes, which is why several hundred bariatric surgery patients have begun attending Slimming World in the last year for additional healthy lifestyle support.

“With all this in mind it clearly makes sense for women who wish to lose weight and start a family to be guided towards weight management support groups rather than surgery, at least in the first instance. This will enable them to develop healthy habits so they can lose weight and give their baby the best possible start in life by passing healthy lifestyle behaviours on to their children.”

Notes to Editors

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now more than 18,000 groups held weekly across the UK and Republic of Ireland via a network of 4,000 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques.

Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people and a recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating behaviour change in a warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.

For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000.

For the Press Office please email public.relations@slimmingworld.co.uk