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You’ve got polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), your periods are all over the place and you have no idea if you’re ovulating or not. You’re trying to conceive, but it’s feeling like mission impossible at this stage.

To make matters worse, your GP says you need to lose weight to improve your chances of conceiving, even with the help of metformin. Easy for them to say – you’ve TRIED to lose weight, but it’s so hard!

You’ve been trying a keto diet and high intensity workouts, but you’ve only seen a little weight loss so far. What else can you do?

I love to help my PCOS clients with weight loss from a holistic perspective. It’s not all just about calories in vs calories out. There’s multiple factors that affect your body’s ability to let go of that weight it’s hanging onto. One particular factor is raised cortisol levels. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, puts your body into fight-or-flight mode. When your body is in fight-or-flight, it wants to hold onto your weight as a survival mechanism.

Improving your sleep is often a key factor for helping your body to regulate cortisol levels. Lack of sleep or disrupted sleep increases your cortisol levels. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night, ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet and comfortable, and avoid the use of electronic light-emitting devices before bedtime (such as your phone, television or computer). If you have difficulty falling asleep, try meditation (I love the guided meditations for deep sleep on Insight Timer app!) or a calming herbal tea such as chamomile or lavender.

Managing your stress can be a game changer for improving weight loss too. Stress raises your cortisol levels, and cortisol can not only make it difficult to lose weight, but can disrupt your other hormones too. When the body receives signals to increase production of cortisol, that cortisol takes priority over your sex hormones. This can lead to irregular cycles, or stop you from ovulating until the stress is over. Stress management techniques include meditation, yoga, and self care (treat yourself to a relaxing bubble bath!).

Weight loss can help with PCOS in a number of ways. Excess body fat can store oestrogen. Now, not all women with PCOS have elevated oestrogen levels, but it’s definitely a common feature. So losing that excess oestrogen can help with balance your hormones, regulating your menstrual cycle and improving ovulation, conception and successful pregnancies.

Trying to conceive with PCOS | Kyra Howearth Herbalist

Studies have shown that a weight loss of at least 5% body weight can resume ovulation in women who are experiencing infertility due to not ovulating. By using the tips above, you can start working towards that weight loss goal so you can improve ovulation.

Are you ready to stop letting PCOS control your life? Don’t let PCOS stop you from having a baby. It’s time to take action to improve your chances of conceiving.

Sign up for the Preconception Challenge to get more tips for improving your fertility naturally! Enter your details below to get the Preconception Challenge delivered straight to your inbox.