Trying to lose weight to get pregnant? Weight loss of as little as 5% could be beneficial.
Obesity could have a negative impact on pregnancy, long term health of both mother and child, male fertility, and response to fertility treatments. To determine if you or your partner’s weight may be an issue, you can calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). There are several online tools. Here is a link to the CDC’s online calculator: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html.
Weight management is challenging. Having an elevated BMI can be uncomfortable to tackle, but is a modifiable risk factor that can help increase chances of successful pregnancy. Studies have shown that a 5-10% weight loss could improve pregnancy outcomes. 5% weight loss could lead to a regular menstrual cycle, improve endocrine systems, and increase ovulation frequency.
You may know what to eat for good health; however, people often do not follow through.
Here are some tips that we hope will help you in your efforts to getting pregnant:
- Abandon low-calorie or low-fat foods you do not like. For instance, if you dislike eating fat-free mayonnaise, but are eating it because it’s fat free, then use regular mayonnaise and cut the fat in your diet elsewhere if necessary.
- Eat what you really desire. Healthy eating and weight management can be achieved while enjoying high and low-calorie foods. End food restrictions, and enjoy nutritious eating. Forcing healthy choices can result in feelings of deprivation, guilt, and resentment about not eating or eating certain foods.
- Use positive “self-talk”. Instead of “The day is ruined, I should not have eaten that”, say “I forgot to pack fruit today, I’ll put a reminder in my calendar to pack fruit for tomorrow”.
- Identify emotional eating, which is eating due to emotions including boredom, anger, stress, joy, reward or loneliness. Many people are unaware their eating is emotionally driven. It can be hard to differentiate between “hunger” that is emotional and not physical.
- Here is a link to more information about foods that can affect fertility.
- There are endless tips for weight management, but everyone is different. What will work for one person, may not work for you. Work with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) to individualize your plan. You can search by expertise and location on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Here is a link to find an expert in your area.
1. Professor Adam H. Balen, Richard A. Anderson & FOR THE POLICY & PRACTICE COMMITTEE OF THE BFS (2007) Impact of Obesity on female reproductive health: British Fertility Society, Policy and Practice Guidelines, Human Fertility, 10:4, 195-206, DOI: 10.1080/14647270701731290
Jeanna Ryan MPAS, PA-C, MS, RDN, MSCIS
Cofounder of Layla Technology
Physician Assistant, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Mother of 3 Daughters