There are a few women out there who want the experience of trying to get pregnant to not be too stressful and as part of their normal life as possible. We get a lot of emails saying how much they’d like to try for a baby at the same times as living their normal lives so that it never becomes the elephant in the room – this means that they want to keep going to the gym, continue to have vacations and do not have to change their eating habits.
We often get asked the question of whether or not it’s OK to be on a diet when trying to conceive and in this blog, we are going to discuss why the answer is “Yes! …With caveats”. Let’s jump in.
Dieting when trying to conceive
For some people, dieting while trying to conceive is more than just a lifestyle choice it’s something they need to do in order to improve their chances of conception. It is not a myth that obesity can affect your chances of conception. For those who struggle to conceive and obese dieting can improve their chances dramatically. This is a particularly important point for those currently going through or is considering in vitro fertilisation (IVF). For others, however, being on a diet is simply a lifestyle choice and one they want to continue even when trying for a baby.
Dieting and watching what you eat is perfectly fine when you’re trying for a baby provided you’re eating enough (discussed in more detail below), staying active and eating healthily. We mentioned some caveats above as to why a diet when trying to conceive would not be recommended and they are;
- When you’re underweight
- When your severely restricting calories
- Not eating a balanced and healthy diet
If you’re looking to lose weight at the same time as trying for a baby then great! This is a very positive choice to make and one that will no doubt make you feel great and focused.
Obesity and chances of conception
If you’re obese and wanting to try for a baby then it is strongly recommended to become more active, eat healthier and reduce weight to improve the chances of successful conception and a successful pregnancy. Improving your overall health will help with;
- Reducing the effects of gestational diabetes
- Regulate blood pressure better
- Reduce the chances of pre-eclampsia
- Reduce the chances of premature labour
- Reduce the probability of miscarriage
As you can see there are plenty of strong reasons to try and diet when trying for a baby both for your health and your future babies.
Dieting Tips When Trying For A Baby
Dieting is never easy, especially if you’re not clued in on nutrition or exercising. Here are some simplified easy to follow tips on how to get started:
Understanding calories in/calories out
Losing weight is simple if you understand one rule: if you consume fewer calories than you burn then you will lose weight. But how do you calculate that? Well, we recommend using an app such as MyFitness Pal and then count your calories. This handy app will help you understand how much calories you can eat and still lose weight. To help you figure out with better accuracy how many calories you’ve burned then products such as FitBits can help.
Be more active
The easiest way to start losing weight and dieting is by becoming more active in your day to day life. This will help you burn more calories which will allow you to be less reliant on eating less. Start by walking more, taking the stairs instead of taking the lift and other simple changes. If your starting point is no exercise at all then just 30 minutes of activity a day can make a dramatic difference to your wellbeing.
Lots of sex while trying for a baby does count as exercise, ladies!
Cut Out Junk Food
Junk foods are packed with sugar and fat which adds to the calories and doesn’t give your body many nutrients. Cutting out junk food, takeaways and other unhealthy foods and swapping them with healthier alternatives such as fresh fruits and vegetables will help you cut your calories and be healthier and in better shape to conceive a baby. Other foods to take caution with are dairy products, sugary drinks and alcohol which can rack up some calories in a very short space of time.
Healthier foods will help you improve your chances of conception as well thanks to all the nutrients and minerals you’ll be getting.
Make a plan and stick to it
It’s easy to fall into the trap of having good intentions and then changing things drastically in a short space of time. If you take baby steps and change your life one part at a time you are much more likely to stick to it and make it work. Changing aspects of your life abruptly may become too much of a shock for you making you quit and adopt bad habits again.
We recommend setting realistic short term and long term goals which are achievable.
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Calories and conception
Some would argue that trying for a baby is a healthy thing to do because of the extra sex and the regular release of happy hormones. You’ll be getting plenty of exercises while doing the deed and (hopefully) you’ll be eating the right stuff to help you even more. However, all of this takes calories to fuel so it’s important to understand that you need to be eating enough to keep your body in good shape.
If you’re on a diet or counting calories before you try for a baby we recommend adding some more calories on top to make up for it. This is to ensure that not only you’ve got enough energy for all the activities but also so that you don’t disrupt your menstrual cycle. A study has found that low calories and carbohydrates can cause irregular menstrual cycles.
The above doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be OK to be on a diet while trying for a baby just that it’s not great to be too much under calories. Make sure to eat enough when trying and you’ll be OK.
In case it wasn’t obvious – yes! it’s OK to diet while trying for a baby. If you’re overweight it is actually recommended! We recommend to take it nice and easy at first to ensure you start a lifestyle change that will last.