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Effectiveness of naturopathy for pregnancy in women with diminished ovarian reserve: feasibility randomized controlled trial.

RESEARCH QUESTION: Is conducting a randomized control trial (RCT) to assess the effectiveness of whole-system naturopathy in improving pregnancy rates among women with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) feasible?

DESIGN: A two-arm, parallel group, assessor-blinded feasibility RCT was conducted. Women with DOR, trying to conceive naturally or by ART, were randomly assigned to naturopathy plus usual care, or usual care alone for 16 weeks. Primary outcomes were feasibility (recruitment, adherence, retention rates), acceptability and safety. Secondary outcomes included ongoing pregnancy rates, live birth rates and health-related outcomes (mental health, quality of life, diet, exercise, sleep and weight). Statistical significance of the differences between the two groups (P-values) were exploratory.

RESULTS: One hundred and fifteen women completed the screening survey between March and November 2022. Of these, 66 women were assessed for eligibility and 41 (62%) consented. Recruitment resulted in seven enrolments each month. All 41 participants (100%) adhered to the intervention, 38 (93%) completed end-point questionnaires, 32 (78%) found study participation to be acceptable and 18 out of 21 (86%) from the intervention group would recommend a naturopathic intervention to other women with DOR. The naturopathic treatment was associated with only mild and temporary adverse events. No between-group differences were observed for pregnancy and live birth rates.

CONCLUSION: The evaluation of whole-system naturopathy through a RCT was feasible and the treatment was acceptable and well tolerated according to women with DOR. Outcomes from this study will help inform sample size calculations powered for fertility outcomes for future RCTs on this topic.

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