Intermittent fasting is not just a delicious new weight-loss strategy, it is also a powerful fertility enhancer.
For women struggling to conceive, intermittent fasting can be an extremely effective tool to aid them in getting pregnant. Once women get pregnant, intermittent fasting can also be beneficial in reducing the risk of certain complications, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a dietary regimen that allows for eating during certain hours and fasting during other hours. For example, when women fast, they may eat any time between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and then don’t eat throughout the rest of the day. The act of eating can be broken down into three phases:
- Pre-fasting phase: This phase occurs any time before you begin your fast, and this is when you are most likely to be hungrier than usual because your metabolism is elevated during this time. You may eat up to five hours before bedtime to take advantage of your enhanced metabolism, which keeps insulin levels low so that fat burning goes up significantly.
- Fasting phase: This period typically lasts between 12 and 16 hours, but it can last longer or shorter. You will typically end your fast after eating the first meal of the day.
- Post-fasting phase: During the post-fasting phase, you can consume anything you like after you’ve finished your fasting period. Although your hunger will be greatly reduced during this phase, once you’ve started eating again, it may take some time for that hunger to return to normal levels.
The Impact of Intermittent Fasting on Fertility
Intermittent fasting has also been shown to have significant positive benefits for fertility, including:
When you fast, your insulin sensitivity increases. Higher levels of insulin resistance are associated with lower fertility levels in women. Many healthcare practitioners recommend that their female patients receiving fertility treatments reduce the number of carbs they consume to boost their chances of conceiving.
I know what you’re thinking: how can intermittent fasting possibly lower blood pressure? Surprisingly, it improves the insulin resistance associated with several health conditions, such as obesity and prediabetes. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for preeclampsia and gestational hypertension, which pose significant threats to women and their babies during pregnancy. In addition, it has been proven that reducing the amount of salt in your diet can also lower your blood pressure.
We’ve discussed this before: overweight women are at an increased risk for infertility. Weight loss is an essential part of fertility treatment, and although it’s difficult to lose weight during pregnancy, it’s possible. There’s no reason that women have to feel restricted when they’re trying to conceive.
The surge in insulin that occurs as you begin fasting can also increase your ovulation rate by helping to clear blocked sperm from the cervix. This means that egg release may be more likely, making conception easier. In addition, the lower levels of blood sugar will stimulate the release of luteinizing hormones from the pituitary gland, which help prepare eggs for ovulation.
In addition, intermittent fasting may increase the amount of testosterone you have in your body. Testosterone is an essential hormone for fertility in men because it helps with the production of sperm and ensures that ovulation occurs when it’s supposed to.
How to Get Started
The most important thing to remember when approaching fasting for fertility is that you have to avoid this method entirely if you are pregnant. If you are not yet pregnant, here is what you need to know:
- Work with a nutrition professional who can guide your diet. This means someone who specializes in working with women trying to conceive.
- Try not to go on other diets or follow different eating regimens when you start intermittent fasting. If you do this and it doesn’t work well for your body, it won’t be very encouraging. Set yourself up for success by making sure you eat a nutritious diet that is healthful for you and try not to change your diet entirely.
- Start with a very low-carbohydrate diet. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which spikes insulin levels and increases fat burning. Reducing the number of carbs in your diet will help reduce insulin resistance and improve fertility.
Intermittent fasting is a diet with many benefits, especially for women trying to conceive. It can help with weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity, which improves fertility. The beneficial effects of intermittent fasting on fertility have been proven in multiple studies. Thus, it should be considered a dietary option, especially for women trying to conceive while also trying to lose extra weight.