Last Updated on November 13, 2023
If you want to start a family, making positive lifestyle choices, reaching an optimal weight, and following a healthy diet have proven to increase your chance of conceiving.
Although fertility treatments are available, if you suffer from excess body fat, you could face problems getting ready for pregnancy or conceiving. This is the reason doctors suggest dropping down to a healthy weight to improve your chances of fertility and pregnancy.
However, losing pounds is difficult and takes strength and determination, and although our social feeds are filled with fad diets and weight-loss plans, very few have proven to help with being overweight and fertility.
So, what’s the answer? What is the best way of losing weight for pregnancy?
Here’s a look at being overweight and pregnancy health, some tips for a healthier weight before pregnancy, and explore the best way to reach the ideal weight for pregnancy.
Let’s also discover how intermittent fasting (IF) can help to bring your pre-pregnancy weight into check, detoxify your body, and lessen the risk of complications during pregnancy.
- 1 Why is it important to reach your ideal weight before pregnancy?
- 2 How IF is a healthy and effective way to lose weight
- 3 How IF affects your hormones, especially your reproductive hormones
- 4 Can fasting improve fertility?
- 5 How IF is effective at helping the treatment of PCOS, which will improve your fertility
- 6 Which intermittent fasting plan is best when trying to get pregnant?
- 7 The upshot: Is intermittent fasting an effective way to lose weight before pregnancy?
- 8 Lose weight with fasting
Why is it important to reach your ideal weight before pregnancy?
When you are planning a pregnancy, starting at a healthy weight is essential as it helps to reduce the risk of premature birth, lessens the chance of developing health problems like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, and puts the baby at less risk of suffering from birth defects.
Although many overweight women do have a normal pregnancy and carry a baby to full term, excess pounds can cause complications, so putting steps in place to minimize these risks is essential and could help you conceive and enjoy a safe and trouble-free pregnancy.
So, what is the ideal weight for pregnancy?
To figure this out, a doctor takes your weight by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated according to your height.
A healthy BMI weight for pregnancy is generally between 18.5 kg/m2 and 24.9 kg/m2; and if you are over 25 kg/m2 and below 30 kg/m2, you are classed as overweight, and if you have a BMI of 30+ kg/m2, you are considered obese.
The higher your BMI, the harder it may be to conceive a baby and the more risk you have of complications during pregnancy. This is why a doctor usually suggests you follow a diet and change certain aspects of your lifestyle to bring your weight into the optimal range.
Being overweight and fertility in women
To give you an idea of how important weight can be, several reports suggest that women who are obese are more likely to experience hormone imbalances and impaired fertility than those who are within the right range.
Difficulties conceiving, complications during pregnancy, and a greater risk of miscarriage are all associated with being overweight or obese, so weight loss before pregnancy is beneficial if you are planning to start a family or trying to conceive with or without assistance.
Being overweight and fertility in men
Achieving a healthy weight before pregnancy not only applies to women, but it is also vitally important for prospective fathers.
The relation between male infertility and obesity is clear, and the risk of experiencing problems conceiving is increased by 10% in men who are just 20 pounds over a healthy BMI.
A study by a leading professor at the Harvard School of Public Health suggests men carrying excess weight are far more at risk of experiencing fertility difficulties, and those who are obese are 42% more likely to have a lower sperm count or produce no sperm at all.
The accumulation of adipose tissue (body fat) does cause inflammation and increases testicular temperature, impairing semen quality. In addition, obesity-related conditions, such as diabetes, can also lead to infertility in men.
How IF is a healthy and effective way to lose weight
It is said that 1 in 6 couples worldwide are affected by infertility, which can be caused by many factors, including health, age, hormonal imbalances, and weight.
If you plan to start a family, making healthy lifestyle changes, exercising more, and following a structured diet will improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy child.
If you or your partner are overweight, there are many simple ways you can drop a few pounds. Here are a few tips for reaching a healthier weight before pregnancy:
- Set a realistic weight loss target and commit to achieving it in a realistic time frame.
- Swap convenience, fried, and fast foods for healthier options like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean meats, fish, and poultry to promote weight loss and form a balanced diet.
- Cut back on alcohol and sugary drinks and up your water intake instead.
- Boil, bake, use an air-fryer, or poach your meals rather than roasting or frying them in oil and unhealthy, saturated fats.
- Eat smaller portions or use a smaller plate to serve your meals.
- Sit less and incorporate some exercise into your daily routine.
In addition, IF helps your body detox, as fasting puts your body under positive stress that causes your system to break down and reuse cells through autophagy.
Autophagy is a process that causes your body to enter natural detox and recycling mode. It helps rid your cells of the toxins and junk they have accumulated over time and causes your system to reboot and repurpose inactive cells to make them work again. Allowing your body to clean out inactive cells is beneficial for everyone, as it helps your body fight disease and function correctly – which is a great advantage if you are trying to get pregnant.
To start on your body detox and weight loss journey today, sign up for Fasting Kompanion.
Note: Do consult your doctor or obstetrician for guidance before embarking on any weight loss plan if you are already pregnant, suffer from any pre-existing conditions, or have concerns you may be infertile.
How IF affects your hormones, especially your reproductive hormones
Getting your body ready for pregnancy is complicated, mainly because hormones and menstrual cycles play such a significant role in conceiving a baby.
A woman’s monthly cycle and the chance of getting pregnant rely on achieving the right balance of the reproductive hormones including estrogen, progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Some research has shown intermittent fasting long-term can help to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, providing the fasting is done over shorter daily periods, for example, no longer than 12:12 or 16:8 plans and a balanced diet is observed during the eating window. Fasting for longer periods does shock the system and could negatively affect hormones.
For women trying to get pregnant, following an intermittent fasting regimen that works according to your monthly cycle works best and produces the most positive hormonal effects.
You normally start to see the benefits of intermittent fasting and your periods begin to regulate within two months. You can then use Period Kompanion to track your monthly cycle, learn your most fertile days, and monitor changes in your mood and fertility patterns.
Can fasting improve fertility?
Fasting has been practiced for centuries, and it has become increasingly popular over recent years due to its widely recognized health and weight loss benefits.
Although more research needs to be done on intermittent fasting before pregnancy, several studies suggest that it can help boost male and female fertility.
Research was conducted on men following the fasting month of Ramadan when they fasted from sunrise to sunset. This showed that testosterone levels and sperm count increased in many of the men monitored, both of which can lead to increased fertility.
For women, intermittent fasting for pregnancy promotes weight loss and can help reduce inflammation in the body. IF can also help achieve and maintain optimal insulin levels and reduce the risk of developing polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition known to cause infertility.
How IF is effective at helping the treatment of PCOS, which will improve your fertility
If you have PCOS, you can seriously benefit from intermittent fasting, especially the 16:8 plan.
Research into intermittent fasting and PCOS suggests that fasting for sixteen hours a day and consuming calories for just eight helps to improve insulin levels, regulate hormones, and bring androgen levels into check.
The study showed that IF stimulated the production of reproductive hormones and helped to balance the menstrual cycles of 73% of the women studied, thereby boosting their fertility.
Research is ongoing into the treatment of PCOS in females intermittent fasting before firm conclusions can be made, but IF may be suggested as a treatment for the condition in the future.
Which intermittent fasting plan is best when trying to get pregnant?
Today, there are many intermittent fasting plans available that can help you improve your health and lose weight for pregnancy – but the plan that could work for you may be different from the one that works for others.
Fasting Kompanion helps determine the best plan for you according to your height, current weight, goals, lifestyle, and menstrual cycle.
If you are starting on your intermittent fasting journey, a gentle plan like 12:12, where you fast for twelve hours and consume calories during the other twelve, is usually a good place to start, as it works with your circadian rhythm. This plan can then be stepped up gradually to 14:10 or 16:8 to increase results once your body is used to the change in routine and fasting process.
The upshot: Is intermittent fasting an effective way to lose weight before pregnancy?
To conclude, yes, intermittent fasting does offer a simple, safe, and effective way to lose weight before pregnancy, detox your body, and improve your overall health, especially if you are a woman suffering from PCOS, a man experiencing fertility issues, or if you are obese.
Many men and women now benefit from intermittent fasting, including those trying to improve their fertility and long-term reproductive health.
Getting started with intermittent fasting is easy with the help of Fasting Kompanion, which helps you monitor your fasting and eating windows and supports you throughout your entire fasting journey.