7-Step PCOS Fertility Diet with Supplements to Get Pregnant

7-Step PCOS Fertility Diet

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a whole-body disorder that can cause hormonal imbalances in a woman’s body. 


It affects 1 out of 10 women of childbearing age and may cause irregular periods, an excess of androgens, and cyst-like formations in the ovaries.


When periods are irregular, this may signal a lack of ovulation most of the time as well.


As such, it may pose a challenge for those looking to fall pregnant with PCOS.


 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility in women.


However, it’s definitely still possible to get pregnant with PCOS, especially if you know how to manage your symptoms, support your fertility, and ultimately restore ovulation.


In this article, we’re going to take a look at a 7-step PCOS diet plan to get pregnant—including supplements you should take to manage symptoms and boost fertility.

How PCOS Affects Ovulation and Fertility

When you have PCOS, your body is most likely producing excess androgens, which causes pesky symptoms such as irregular periods, acne, excess facial hair, and male pattern hair loss. 

Excess androgens may also cause ovulation problems, which can give rise to fertility issues.

If you’re looking to fall pregnant naturally with PCOS, there are certain things you need to pay attention to. 

For example, those with PCOS may have an overabundance of testosterone and other androgens, so taking an androgen-blocking supplement and finding ways to address excess androgens in your body can be useful. 

Depending on your root cause, your body may also react differently, and your PCOS may manifest as varying symptoms.

For example, if you have high insulin levels or long-term chronic inflammation, your body may produce too much testosterone. 

On the other hand, if you have extremely high levels of cortisol (stress hormones), your adrenal glands may produce excess adrenal androgens. 

Lastly, an imbalance in your thyroid hormones may trigger an increase in testosterone production and thus affect your ovulation.

Common Fertility Challenges in PCOS

There are several fertility-related challenges that PCOS cysters often have to deal with:

Irregular Menstrual Cycles

As mentioned earlier, an excess of androgens may cause irregular menstrual cycles. 


This usually translates to roughly nine menses a year instead of the usual twelve. 


In some cases, a woman with PCOS may not even have a period at all within a year. 


Cycles that last anywhere between 35 days and up may also mean that menstrual cycles are irregular.

Anovulation and its Implications for Pregnancy

Ovulatory dysfunction, which manifests as anovulation, is part of the Rotterdam criteria that is used to diagnose PCOS. 


Anovulation means the ovum (egg) fails to release from the ovary during the menstrual cycle.


When one has PCOS, ovulatory health is crucial, as regular ovulation increases one’s chances of naturally falling pregnant. 


Every time you ovulate, an egg is released from the ovary and moves down the fallopian tube, staying there for up to 24 hours.


It waits for the sperm to fertilize the egg, which can result in pregnancy if successful. 


For the same reason, irregular periods and anovulation can make conceiving naturally a challenge. 


However, there are ways to support fertility naturally and encourage the body to ovulate regularly. 


These include lifestyle changes, taking the right PCOS supplements, and knowing the right things to eat.

Increased Risk of Miscarriage

PCOS has also been known to increase the risk of miscarriage, according to several studies. 


However, there are also ways to lower this risk. 


According to research, maintaining a healthy weight can improve egg quality, ovulation, and embryo implantation—thus increasing the chances of pregnancy and lowering miscarriage risks.

The Role of Diet and Nutrition in PCOS Management

Diet and nutrition play a pivotal role in PCOS management. 


Let’s take a look at how they influence PCOS symptoms and what you can do to adopt a PCOS fertility diet:

Understanding Insulin Resistance in PCOS

Insulin resistance is also a key factor in PCOS. 


The pancreas produces insulin to regulate blood sugar, but when there’s too much sugar, insulin resistance may occur. 


This encourages the ovaries to produce androgens in excess.


Insulin resistance causes inconsistent energy levels and thus may cause cravings for carbohydrates and sugar. 


This, in turn, may cause ‘hangry’ attacks, brain fog, mood swings, and weight gain.


High levels of insulin raise the risk of pregnancy complications, with studies showing a 40% higher risk of gestational diabetes and a 24% higher risk of preeclampsia in women with high insulin levels. 


Improving one’s insulin resistance can likewise enhance the ability to conceive and have a pregnancy with fewer complications. 

The Impact of Diet on Hormonal Balance and Ovulation

Your diet has a huge effect on your PCOS symptoms, particularly with regard to hormone balance and ovulation. 


The ideal PCOS fertility diet generally involves eating a lot of quality, healthy protein (fish and lean meats), gentle starches that won’t spike your insulin, vegetables, fruits, and fiber.


There have been several studies that indicate a strong connection between diet and fertility and that a balanced diet can regulate hormones, support ovulation, and reduce inflammation.

The PCOS Fertility Diet

Research shows that diets rich in processed foods, sugar, and saturated fats may heighten the risk of infertility in women. 


Conversely, diets with healthy choices can support fertility, especially when you have PCOS:

1. Macronutrient Balance

Here’s how to effectively balance your macronutrients:

Ideal Ratios of Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats

Use a simple hack to keep your macros in the right ratios for hormone balance: The PCOS-Friendly Food Formula. 


Opt for animal-based protein like fish, meat, chicken, or eggs, as these have high protein and low carbohydrates.


Then:

  • Fill a quarter of your plate with animal-based protein

  • Fill a quarter of your plate with gentle starches to keep inflammation levels low

  • Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables

  • Include healthy fats like nut butters or avocado in your meal

If you’re using plant-based protein, remember that these contain a higher amount of carbs, so you’d have to reduce your starch portion by around half and increase your non-starchy vegetables accordingly.

The Importance of Low-Glycemic Index Foods

Studies show that a low-glycemic index (GI) diet significantly benefits women with PCOS. 


First, low-GI foods improved insulin resistance. Second, it helped spur weight loss. 


And third, the ovulation cycles of women with PCOS following a low GI diet significantly improved their ovulation cycles.

2. Essential Micronutrients

What are the essential micronutrients to look out for?

Key Vitamins and Minerals for Hormonal Balance and Ovulation

Among the key PCOS supplements for fertility are:

  • Inositol (Myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol): Inositol in a 40:1 ratio has been proven to improve cycle regularity, increase insulin sensitivity, enhance egg quality, and promote ovulation in women with PCOS.

  • Magnesium: A lack of magnesium has been found to contribute to insulin resistance. Magnesium is important for reducing inflammation and improving glycemic control.

  • Folate: Crucial for healthy fetal development as well as ovulation, folate can be found in citrus fruits, leafy greens, cereals, and beans.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Beneficial for fertility in both men and women, omega 3 regulates ovulation and enhances sperm quality. They can be found in chia seeds, flaxseeds, fatty fish, and walnuts.

  • Zinc: Incredibly vital for DNA production, as well as the development of eggs and sperm, Zinc can be found in beef, pork, oysters, beans, and fortified cereals.

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays an important role in hormone regulation. It may also aid fertility among women with PCOS and can be found in egg yolks, fatty fish, fortified dairy, and sun exposure.

3. Herbal Supplements

Let’s take a look at herbal PCOS supplements for fertility:

Importance of Supplementation in PCOS Management

Appropriate supplementation is key to proper symptom management when you have PCOS. 


For example, taking an androgen blocker may help you address symptoms like hair loss, acne, and hirsutism caused by androgens. 


Minerals like selenium, zinc, magnesium, and chromium can also counter the negative effects of oxidative and inflammatory stress associated with PCOS.

Key Supplements for PCOS Fertility

The top supplements for PCOS fertility are:

  • Saw Palmetto: This reduces 5-alpha reductase activity, which is the enzyme that converts testosterone to the more potent androgen, DHT. Saw Palmetto also promotes estrogen balance in women with PCOS and can help lessen PCOS symptoms.

  • Spearmint Tea: Spearmint tea has many PCOS-friendly benefits, including anti-androgen properties, testosterone reduction, an improved endocrine profile, and increased estradiol, FSH, and LH.

Remember, the key supplements you decide to use to manage your PCOS should be dependent on the root cause of your symptoms. 


Take this easy and free quiz to determine which supplements are right for your unique PCOS type.

4. PCOS-Friendly Foods for Enhanced Fertility

A healthy diet can vastly improve fertility, especially if you know what to eat when you have PCOS. These include:

  • Legumes: Legumes like beans and lentils are rich in plant-based protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. They also have very low GI and can promote better insulin sensitivity.

  • Seafood: Seafoods rich in omega-3 acids, like sardines, trout, and salmon, can improve fertility and lower inflammation in the body.

  • Olive Oil: Using extra virgin olive oil boosts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can lower risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and dementia. 

5. Foods to Avoid or Limit in PCOS

Among the foods to avoid when you have PCOS are refined carbohydrates, which worsen insulin resistance. 


This includes muffins, white bread, sugary desserts, breakfast pastries, and anything made with flour.


Likewise, pasta made of durum wheat flour, semolina, or durum flour is also very high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. 


Instead, opt for lentil or bean-based pasta. Sugary foods that contain sucrose, dextrose, and high fructose corn syrup should also be kept to a minimum. 


Lastly, inflammation-causing foods like margarine, fries, red meats, and processed meats should also be kept to a minimum.

6. Impact of Caffeine, Alcohol, and Smoking on PCOS and Fertility

Studies have shown that caffeine consumption may make it more challenging to fall pregnant, as well as affect fetal health. 


This is because caffeine apparently affects ovulation and the corpus luteum by altering certain hormone levels.


Alcohol has likewise been proven to adversely affect fertility, especially when consumed during pregnancy. 


As for smoking, it can raise the likelihood of infertility and may make it more difficult for a woman to conceive.


Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of birth defects and low birth weight.

7. Importance of Hydration and Water Intake

When you’re dehydrated, you’re at a higher risk of yeast infections due to vaginal dryness. 


This is also a huge factor when it comes to fertility, as vaginal fluid and cervical mucus have to be at the right consistency for sperm to thrive.


Without proper water intake, the cervical mucus can be a little dry, presenting a challenge during intercourse and making it more difficult to conceive. 


Electrolyte imbalances also influence follicular fluid and restrict follicle growth, hampering ovulation.

Meal Planning and PCOS

1. Creating a PCOS-Friendly Meal Plan

Let’s take a look at a perfect day of eating with PCOS-friendly foods:

Breakfast Options

Aim for a PCOS Repair Breakfast that is low in starch and sugar and high in protein. 


Have at least 30 to 40 grams of protein, a lot of non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats.


Keep carbohydrates and sugar at a minimum in the morning to ensure your blood sugar remains stable.


Avoid starchy vegetables (potato, pumpkin, sweet potato), grains, bread, rice, cereal, or legumes. 


Avoid fruits at breakfast, too, as they can be high in sugar. 


You can, however, eat berries as they are naturally low-sugar and high-fiber.  

Lunch and Dinner Ideas

For lunch and dinner, you can enjoy some carbohydrates like fruit, starchy vegetables, and grains. 


In fact, doing so is crucial if you want to ovulate and have PCOS. 


If you’re planning on falling pregnant naturally, ovulating should be a top priority as it is one of the body’s ways to make progesterone, which has the following benefits:

  • Keeps the skin clear

  • Keeps energy levels high

  • Aids in stabilizing weight

  • Promotes good sleep and relaxation

  • Protects from breast and endometrial cancer

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Snack Choices

If you find yourself reaching for a snack, opt for a small snack with carbohydrates, protein, and a bit of fat. 


For example, you can have one half of a banana with almond butter, three Brazil nuts, or some apple slices with peanut butter. 


You can also have a handful of berries or add them to coconut yogurt for a quick snack.  

2. The Importance of Regular Meal Timings

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day—and it’s true, especially when you have PCOS and are trying to get pregnant. 


According to research, skipping breakfast can significantly impact women’s hormones, as opposed to skipping dinner.


A study showed that women who ate a large breakfast and small dinner saw a 50% decrease in testosterone, better insulin sensitivity, and decreased androgens—as well as a 50% increase in ovulation. 


Meanwhile, those who ate a small breakfast and a large dinner saw no benefits with regard to their fertility.


This highlights how timing your meals appropriately can impact your PCOS symptoms. 


Even if you eat the same amount of food in the same ratios, paying extra attention to your breakfast does you more good than skipping it.   

3. Meal Prepping for Busy PCOS Patients

Meal prepping can save you time and money, so here are some tips for keeping your meals fresh, well-portioned, and ready to grab even when you’re busy:

  • Freeze stuff: Use your freezer to portion and freeze things you can throw in soup or a smoothie or just heat up when it’s time to eat. You can do this for proteins, like cooked shredded chicken or ground beef. You can also pre-portion fruits and vegetables for smoothies and soups.

  • Pre-slice vegetables: For quick salads and snacks, you can pre-slice vegetables and keep them in airtight containers.

  • Pre-wash and portion fruits: Wash your fruits and keep them in clean, airtight containers so they’re ready to grab and eat.

  • Pre-boil eggs: You can keep cooked hard-boiled eggs for up to 1 week inside the fridge!

4. Balancing Macros in Each Meal

Keeping your macronutrients balanced in each meal is important, especially when you have PCOS, as these affect hormone balance, fat loss, and muscle preservation. 


For an easy way to keep your macros in check, stick to the PCOS Repair Breakfast portions and PCOS Plate Method discussed earlier.

Lifestyle Factors to Enhance Your PCOS Fertility Regimen

1. The Role of Exercise in PCOS and Fertility

Regular exercise is crucial in PCOS management, as a sedentary lifestyle often also means that the extra glucose in your blood isn’t being used up by your muscles. 

As a result, insulin levels may rise to address excess sugar, leading to insulin resistance and inflammation. 

Finding ways to move throughout the day can do wonders for PCOS management, as it can curb inflammation levels, prevent insulin resistance, and lower stress hormones.

Types of Exercises Beneficial for PCOS Patients

Endurance-based cardio exercises like jogging, cycling, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are all beneficial for improving cardiovascular health when you have PCOS. 


HIIT is especially helpful in increasing muscle sensitivity to insulin, but you can enjoy all types of movement as long as you find one that’s fun and sustainable for you.

Frequency and Duration of Exercise

Three days of moderate-intensity activity like 20-minute HIIT or strength training sessions are your best bet for PCOS, supplemented with 30 minutes of cycling or walking on other days.

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2. Stress Management and its Impact on PCOS and Fertility

Stress can negatively impact one’s health, especially if you have PCOS.

Techniques for Stress Reduction

Mindfulness and meditation techniques can help your body reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. 


When you have PCOS, reducing stress is crucial, as it may be the key to managing some of your PCOS symptoms as well.


Practicing yoga and relaxation is also a great way to ease anxiety and depression. 


Additionally, a study has shown that regularly practicing yoga can also significantly reduce testosterone levels in women with PCOS.


Lastly, practice breathing techniques like box breathing to calm yourself down after a stressful encounter. 


Do this by inhaling, holding, exhaling, and holding your breath for 4 seconds.

3. Sleep and its Significance

Not enough sleep can wreak havoc on the body, especially when you have PCOS. 


Sleep deprivation can ruin your cells’ responsiveness to insulin, increase stress levels, and worsen inflammation. 


One night of poor sleep alone can spike insulin resistance, leading us to crave sugar and refined carbohydrates, which are not the most healthful choices when you have PCOS.

Creating a Sleep-Friendly Routine

Creating a bedtime routine is the first step to telling your body to wind down and start creating melatonin. 


First, do a wind-down. Take a relaxing bath, read a book, or make some tea. 


Then, ensure you stay away from screens for at least an hour before sleeping to protect your eyes from blue light. 


Lastly, keep your room cold and dark to help signal your brain to fall (and stay) asleep.

Free 3 min Quiz 

PCOS? Which Type Do You Have?

About The Author - Tamika Woods

Tamika Woods | PCOS Author | Nourished Natural Health
Tamika Woods, Clinical Nutritionist (B.HS; B.Ed), Bestselling Author

For a decade, Tamika battled chronic acne, irregular cycles, mood swings, hair loss, painful periods, severe digestive issues and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). You name it - she's been there!

Tam was finally able to clear her skin, regulate her cycle, be free of period pain and fall pregnant naturally with her daughter in 2020. It took Tam 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary education to get the answers she needed to get better.

She didn’t want other women to suffer as long as she did which is why she has dedicated her life to helping women in the same position as she was.

Tam helps women interpret what their bodies are trying to communicate through frustrating symptoms, and then develop a step-by-step roadmap to find balance again. She's here to help you get on track!

Tamika Woods is the author of the Amazon best seller PCOS Repair Protocol. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Nutritional Medicine) as well as a Bachelor of Education, graduating with Honours in both.

She is a certified Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Educator and a certified member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

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Get evidence-based nutritionist & naturopath hormone support direct to your inbox. Get my 50+ page PCOS repair guide instantly. No spam, ever!

About The Author - Tamika Woods

Tamika Woods | PCOS Author | Nourished Natural Health
Tamika Woods, Clinical Nutritionist (B.HS; B.Ed), Bestselling Author

For a decade, Tamika battled chronic acne, irregular cycles, mood swings, hair loss, painful periods, severe digestive issues and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). You name it - she's been there!

Tam was finally able to clear her skin, regulate her cycle, be free of period pain and fall pregnant naturally with her daughter in 2020. It took Tam 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary education to get the answers she needed to get better.

She didn’t want other women to suffer as long as she did which is why she has dedicated her life to helping women in the same position as she was.

Tam helps women interpret what their bodies are trying to communicate through frustrating symptoms, and then develop a step-by-step roadmap to find balance again. She's here to help you get on track!

Tamika Woods is the author of the Amazon best seller PCOS Repair Protocol. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Nutritional Medicine) as well as a Bachelor of Education, graduating with Honours in both.

She is a certified Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Educator and a certified member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

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