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Is it okay to diet while trying to conceive?

We look at how dieting might affect your chances of getting pregnant.
When trying to fall pregnant you'll want to be as fit and healthy as possible to ensure your wellbeing, as well as that of your unborn baby. So you may be considering going on a diet if you aren't completely happy with your weight at the moment.

While this can be a good idea for those who are medically overweight, it may not be necessary if you are already in good shape. We discuss whether it's okay for you to diet while trying to conceive.

Find out your 'ideal weight'...

When deciding whether or not you should go on a diet while trying to fall pregnant, you should ask yourself honestly how close you think you are to your ideal weight. This doesn't mean trying to drop a dress size so you can fit into your old pair of jeans, but instead trying to reach a weight that is healthy and balanced for you.

To find out what your ideal weight is you could consult your doctor, or work out your BMI (Body Mass Index) yourself here. By entering your current weight and height you can find out how close you are to reaching a weight that is ideal for your body.

What if I am overweight?

If you are overweight or obese you may benefit from losing a little weight before you fall pregnant.

If you reach a healthy weight your chances of conception may actually increase. If you have experienced problems with irregular periods you may find that your menstrual cycle becomes more regular. It will also mean that you are more likely to feel healthier and fitter when going through all the different stages of pregnancy.

Reaching a healthy weight is also very important when trying to conceive as it means you are less likely to experience difficulties during your pregnancy. Those who are at a healthy weight when conceiving will have a lower chance of developing pre-eclampsia or diabetes than those who are overweight.

However, rather than trying to lose weight quickly in time for the beginning of your pregnancy, it is advisable that instead you focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of nutrients, and lose weight slowly. If you subject your body to sudden weight loss you may be less likely to conceive as your body will experience unnecessary strain.

The best thing to do to ensure a healthy diet is to make sure you are getting plenty of low-fat foods, varied nutrients, fibres, and lots of fluids, while introducing a gentle exercise regimen, so that you can lose weight slowly and steadily.

What if I am underweight?

If you weigh less than your ideal weight and have low body fat, you may be less likely to conceive, particularly if your menstrual cycle is not regular due to your weight. In this case you may have to increase your calorie intake in order to be at a healthier weight and regulate your menstrual cycle, making you more likely to ovulate.

The key thing to bear in mind is to eat a healthy range of food while trying to conceive. If you restrict your diet in any way in an attempt to lose or gain weight, you might not be getting all the nutrients you need to conceive and carry your pregnancy through to term.

If you are planning on starting any kind of diet while trying to conceive, make sure to consult your health practitioner first. They will be able to advise you of your ideal weight and how you can go about reaching that healthily and safely. They will also be able to advise you of the right foods to eat and exercise to take that will increase your individual chances of conceiving.

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