Diet, fertility and IVF: Tips to reduce your BMI and get your body ready for IVF

22nd October 2015 in Advice

Being very overweight affects your chances of conceiving naturally, whilst also increasing the risk of miscarriage and pregnancy complications, according to a new report by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

The report reveals that although weight-loss surgery can help boost fertility, it should only be ‘a last resort’ and women planning a family should be urged instead to lose weight in a healthy way, through cutting calorie intake and exercising.

So what should you do if your BMI is high and you need fertility treatment? A high BMI doesn’t just reduce your chances of conceiving naturally, it also means treatment such as IVF is less likely to be successful.

It’s why we would never recommend you start a cycle of treatment if your BMI is high. We would always advise you make lifestyle changes first, so that you have the maximum chance of success

Here’s some simple and easy tips from our consultant nutritionist Jeannette Jackson, on how you can reduce your BMI and get your body ready for fertility treatment:

Move more

Did you know that if you’re trying to lose weight, on average you need to burn about 600 calories a day more than you’re eating? Exercising frequently for short periods is a great first step. Build up to longer exercise sessions to see greater results. Choose activities that raise your heart rate, such as jogging, swimming or fast biking.

Walking is great exercise

A person weighing 60kg burns 75 calories simply by strolling at 2mph for 30 minutes. Increase that to 3mph and 99 calories are burnt. A faster brisk walk where you’re slightly out of breath (4mph) and you’ll burn off 150 calories!

Cut down on stodgy carbs

Carbohydrates are one of our main sources of fuel and a vital macronutrient within our diets, but you should aim for healthy complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice, kidney beans or lentils. When these are added to lunchtime salads, they help boost and sustain your energy for longer periods and help you to avoid energy dips where you may reach for unhealthy snacks.

Beware of Sugar

Cut out added sugar and remember that on food labels everything that ends in an ‘...OSE’ (like Fructose) is sugar. This includes cakes, biscuits, sweets, hot drinks or cereals. Research shows that drinking one to two (or more) sugary drinks per day increases the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes by 26 percent. 

Take Control of Your Cooking

Wherever possible cook your meals from scratch using fresh whole-foods and cut out the packaged and processed foods which can be high in salt, fats and added sugars. They also tend to be high in calories and void of natural vitamins and minerals.

You can book in for a one-to-one private consultation with Jeannette by calling our Patient Advisors on 0845 268 2244. She also holds a regular ‘Stress and Nutrition for Fertility’ workshop at our clinic, designed to give dietary advice to patients embarking upon treatment. Ask our Patient Advisors for more details.

Last updated: 21st October 2015