Ketogenic Lifestyle Side-Effect: Pregnancy

Pregnant man

Be warned, a ketogenic diet may cause pregnancy . . . !

Infertility and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common occurrence in women with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and diabetes.  When treated with a ketogenic lifestyle, these symptoms often improve dramatically, and in fact, I’ve had a number of women in my medical practice, previously unable to conceive due to PCOS, get pregnant after changing to a ketogenic diet.

We discuss PCOS, as well as CrossFit, NSAIDs, Toxic Mold, And Calorie Restriction On Keto-Talk this week.  Tune in here on you computer or down-load today’s podcast on iTunes for free. You won’t be sorry.



Adapt Bar Berry

9 Comments on “Ketogenic Lifestyle Side-Effect: Pregnancy

  1. Hi Dr. Nally,

    Do you have any experience with normal weight patients who are at late perimenopausal age who have adopted a ketogenic diet to alleviate the hormone rollercoaster and potential weight gain that often happens during that time of life? I wonder how a diet that is great for fertility in women of appropriate childbearing age could also be good for older women in which increased fertility and higher estrogen levels would also increase their cancer risk. Could high fat diets result in later menopause which may be good for the heart and bones but not so great for cancer risk and annoying non-cancer issues such as uterine polyps etc that are fueled by estrogen. In your recent interview on KetoTalk I was a little concerned when you mentioned that ketosis raised estrogen levels which is good for PCOS but not so good for others. Any thoughts would be most appreciated.

    • I have loads of experience with this. You’re assuming that natural production of estrogen is causing cancer, polyps etc and your assumption is wrong. The challenges of perimenopause and menopause is that estrogen also begins to decline sporadically. A high fat low carb diet helps to stabilize these changes and allows many women in this stage to lose or maintain weight more effectively.

      • Thank you so much Dr. Nally. Is it possible that the ketogenic diet has a normalizing effect which may result in higher or lower estrogen depending upon the person? I am curious about this because in the biography of Dr. Wolfgang Lutz bu Valerie Bracken entitled “My Life Without Bread: Dr. Lutz at 90”, there is mention of a study he conducted with Viennese endocrnologist, Dr. H. Iselstoger on obese patients fed less than 15 grams of carbs a day which resulted in lowered estrogen levels. Dr Lutz notes that the patients — male and female – all had elevated estrogen prior to the dietary intervention. If the diet was abandoned, the estrogen levels again began to rise. He refers readers to a paper published about the study: Lutz and Iselstoger 1960.

  2. I have one of those “ketogenic side effects”–she is 15 years old ;o) A wonderful endocrinologist put me on a low carb diet to help me treat severely insulin resistant PCOS and warned me that I could get pregnant. Since I was then 40 years old, had NEVER had an ovulatory period without fertility drugs, I laughed at him. I had my first ever ovulatory cycle without fertility drugs within 30 days and six months later I was pregnant (totally unexpected but very much wanted). Best side effect EVER!

    I was keto through menopause and had a very easy time of it. Whenever hot flashes ramped up, I found increasing good fats really helped. My only disappointment is that weight loss stopped and I cannot get it going again.

  3. Hi, I’m glad I stumbled upon this post. I started following a low-carb/keto diet just for health reasons and then found out that it can help with fertility. My husband and I suffered two miscarriages earlier this year, then did 3 rounds of fertility drugs to try to achieve a healthy pregnancy with no luck. We took 2 months off and now we are going to try again. I was so HAPPY when I read that my diet I was doing for other reason might help with our baby making hopes as well. (What a beautiful side-effect)… Anyway, sorry for the long story…My question is: Can someone stay on keto/low carb while pregnant? Since I have suffered two miscarriages already (assumed due to low progesterone) I don’t want to take any risks… Thank you in advance for any advice you can give.

  4. Dr Nally, Please help! First of all thank you for all the info that you have put out there regarding the ketogenic lifestyle. I find it to be the most sound information since I started keto in June 2016. A little background. I have suffered from PCOS for as long as I can remember and my cycle returned in July 2016 after being absent since April 2016. However, my cycle has not returned since the one I had in July. I am 42 years old and I have been trying to conceive for the last year. I am hoping that this keto lifestyle can help me regulate my cycles. Any suggestions for how keto can regulate my cycle and increase my chances of becoming pregnant? My doctor suggested clomid, but I do not want to take that stuff. Secondly, I have lost 26lbs since June, however, I cheated for the first time just last week and I know that I am out of Ketosis. Any suggestions on getting back into ketosis quicker?

    • The quickest way I know to get back into and stay in ketosis, Tiffany, is to use exogenous ketones. You can order them on my website at

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