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Weight Loss While Trying to Conceive
By Jennifer J. Francis, MPH, RD/LD
Jennifer FrancisQ. Is it okay to maintain a lower calorie intake to lose weight while trying to conceive? I range between 1500 and 2000 calories a day with 2-4 litres of water when I'm 'on plan' which I know is safe and healthy to lose weight. Should I still be trying to lose while I try to get pregnant? I have lost 60 pounds so far and still have another 50 to reach goal. I know it will be easier on me to be closer to goal for pregnancy, so that is why I'm hoping to continue my plan.

A. This is sort of a catch-22 situation. On the one hand, being overweight can affect fertility. Since estrogen is produced in fat stores, having excess fat stores can delay ovulation, and make it harder for you to get pregnant. So the closer you are to a healthy body weight, the easier it should be to conceive.

On the other hand, sometimes reduced calorie intake can lead to absent or irregular ovulation as well. In addition, if there is a chance that you could get pregnant, you want all your body's stores of nutrients to be at their best--something that might not be the case if your food intake was restricted. So the best possible scenario would be to lose the weight first, and then try to get pregnant. Of course, I know that advice is not very realistic for someone longing for a baby.

The good news is that even a modest weight loss will improve fertility, so if you have already lost 60 pounds, that's excellent! (By the way - congratulations! That's a wonderful thing you have accomplished for your health! ) At this point, what I would do if I were you would be to start worrying less about calories and losing weight, and concentrate more on eating the most nutrient rich foods you can. This will make sure that you will be getting all the nutrients you need to support a pregnancy, and as an added side benefit, these nutrient-dense foods are often low calorie anyway!

Good luck, and I hope you get your BFP soon!!!

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