Gaining weight during IVF treatment is a common side effect of treatment that many women seem to experience. So is it the IVF to blame? If not, what other factors could be causing it? And why don’t all women gain weight?

Before I dive into answering those questions, let’s get something clear from the start here. Pregnancy clearly causes weight gain, so it’s important not to confuse IVF treatment up to the embryo implantation stage as being a culprit of weight gain after it. What I’m talking about today is the IVF process itself and how much, if any, it can be linked to weight gain.

The weight gain is real

Now it is true that weight gain during IVF is a real thing. Some women will put on weight due to fluid retention during the superovulation phase of the IVF cycle. So in this case, it is the high estrogen levels that are causing the fluid retention. But the feelings of bloating are only temporary. While it may be uncomfortable, retaining extra fluid isn’t so much an issue compared to gaining extra body fat. And once the superovulation stops, the hormones get excreted into the urine and the bloating subsides. This means that most women will quickly lose the fluid they accumulated and will go back to their normal body weight.

The other type of weight gain that some women do experience is what I call ‘true weight gain’ and this from putting down more body fat. So are the IVF drugs to blame here? The answer is a bit murky because it isn’t quite clear how these hormones could cause the weight gain.

Looking a bit deeper into the science finds at least one study looking at weight changes over the IVF cycle. For women in the study, their weight at the beginning and end of each IVF cycle was the same. It was only during the stimulation phase that you see a temporary increase in weight. But the key to looking at this type of research is that this was the average result. Every woman is different so it is possible that some women did gain weight, but this was balanced by women that perhaps had a small amount of weight loss.

Now if you are that woman that gained weight, then your weight gain is real! But can the IVF be blamed for it? Maybe, maybe not, but what can change is how much is eaten, or even more likely, how active a woman is.

It seems many women do take it easier on themselves during embryo transfer and are less active because of concerns of exercise affecting a successful implantation. Less activity can easily lead to weight gain. So, drastically reducing exercise can definitely lead to weight gain over an IVF cycle, but this has little to do with the IVF drugs!

What have emotions got to do with it?

So what about eating changes over IVF? IVF can be stressful, and this is combined with mood swings that come from it. Some people are natural overeaters when stressed. Other people actually eat less when stressed. So here’s what I think is happening. Weight gain is likely if you are a person who is a stressful eater. So again, weight gain during IVF can be a very individual thing even though the science says ‘on average’ women don’t gain weight. Not everyone is average and some people do gain weight!

So in a nutshell, not every woman experiences weight gain with IVF. Weight gain when it happens is more a result of changes in physical activity habits and an eating response from stress and mood changes. So that’s why it’s important to understand that every person’s response can be different.

What to do about it

So what to do if you’ve experienced weight gain from your IVF treatment? First of all, this isn’t the time to embark on an intensive weight loss diet just to drop a few kilograms! Your health and nutritional needs mean you want to be eating well during this time. Fad and crash diets could even jeopardise your chance of becoming pregnant. And as I outlined earlier, it could just be that you’ve consciously become less active so that is something that is easier to fix.

If stress is causing you to overeat, then it is a great time to control this with things other than food. Yoga and exercise are great for this and come with the bonus that they will keep your body burning extra calories afterwards. On top of this, make healthy food choices your top priority rather than restricting foods. So that means plenty of fruits and veggies.

And the good news from all this is that if hormone treatments are a cause of weight gain for you, especially if it is fluid, you can expect to lose that weight once the treatments stop.

I’ve given you a lot of information today.  So, let’s summarise:

  1. Gaining weight during IVF is common, but not every woman experiences this
  2. Bloating does explain some of this weight gain, but fortunately, this settles with time
  3. Changes in activity levels are the likely reason that some women gain weight
  4. Stress and mood changes can be a trigger for over-eating during IVF treatment
  5. When it comes to food, it is much better to focus on eating healthier, rather than eating less to deal with any weight gain.

Now, I have a question for YOU.  What do you think is the key cause of YOUR IVF weight gain?  Let me know in the comments below.  And, if you have any questions for me, feel free to ask….I’m here to help!

And, to make all this easier for you, I’d love you to download my free meal plan.  Just go to



  1. Sarah McMonagle

    I’ve also experienced weight gain! My stomach is really hard and bulbous and is protruding loads – in particular, the lower part of my stomach underneath my belly button… exactly where I was injecting the hormones pre-egg retrieval! I’ve done one round so far and am now preparing for the second. Feeling quite self conscious but hoping the weight drops off in the medium term (!)

  2. Dr Chandana

    In most cases women gain weight when under gone IVF process it is completely normal, After that you will be slowly loosing weight. you will be back to normal body weight.

    Thank you for sharing this article, It will be helpful.

  3. Pau

    Oh yes, it does, undoubtedly! And I’m the skinny type who never gains weight, genetically, no merit. Regarding exercise, I never liked it, so not a change. In the pandemic 1 year ‘work from home life’, I weighed exactly as before. But this year after the first 2 IUIs with hormones I noticed that I had to undo the button of my jeans while sitting down, although at first I didn’t think anything. Even more, now after the first IVF treatment with much higher doses of hormones I look pregnant and I’m not, however I am significantly fatter in the waist area, feels like the 2-3 kilos extra went just there. I felt hungrier this time too, but I mainly just noticed the feeling, not necessarily ate more, as I’m not a fan of food. Also, pictures don’t lie, at 35 my belly area looked significantly different than now at 36. So, yes, I’m absolutely sure it’s the hormones!

  4. Janine

    I’ve been doing IVF and fertility treatments (Ayurvedic medicine) for the past one year and I put on 5kg during this time. My weight was stable before and never went up so much. I’ve done 2 egg retrievals end of last year and beginning of this year and since then been on Ayurvedic medicine to improve egg quality. I’m still exercising but don’t understand why I gained so much weight. I started with estradiol tablets yesterday for a final egg retrieval and feel like I’m sweating more already during exercise. Any suggestions for the weight gain and excess sweating? I’m not overweight.

    • Nata

      I had my first IVF three months ago, and tree days ago I started my second round. I gain about 5 kg because I was always working out but during IVF cycle doctor told me not to. Also during that period you are in pain and you don’t move that much. During three months I didn’t workout as much as before, and weight is still here. Just hoping that this time it will work, and that gaining weight it’s not going to be important after all. God Bless all of you girls that are going trough this ❤️

  5. Francesca

    I know the cause of my weight gain was I was told after implantation that I could not workout until my 9 week. I am a runner and extremely active person. Going from 100 to zero was devastating and cause me to gain fat. But in the end it doesn’t matter. I am carrying my baby and he is healthy.

  6. Sutton Alicia

    And the good news is that if hormone treatments are a cause of weight gain for you, especially if it is fluid, you can expect to lose that weight once the treatments stop. Melanie McGrice is a fertility and prenatal dietitian. She runs online programs on fertility nutrition for mothers-to-be, the ‘Nourish with Melanie’ YouTube channel, is the founder of Nutrition Plus Women’s Nutrition Clinics which provide specialist fertility and prenatal nutrition support around Australia and is an ambassador for Compassion’s ‘Mum’s and Bub’s Nutrition Clinics’, with the Nutrition Plus team sponsoring one in Tanzania. For more information

    • Anonymous

      Could this be a sign that she is pregnant ? If she gained weight after embryo transfer?

  7. Anonymous

    It’s really helpful and reassuring to read all your messages and comments. It definitely makes me feel better.

    • Mandie

      I am on my second cycle and it is Bak to back. I have gained weight but I know some of it is fluid .due to me doing two back to back cycles it’s hard to say what is fat and what is fluid. You can’t tell me that taking high stims. Estrogens and progesterone…doesnt effect your metabolism. It’s silly to think otherwise, that’s why some women gain weight as they age in the first place. I think it all depends on what drugs you have to take and how much of it you have to take. I’m unfortunately on extremely high stim due to my age.

  8. Paige

    I’ve been freezing eggs (3 cycles over the last 10 months) and my weight has been steadily increasing. It’s plateaued lately but I have been working really hard to try and get it down – HIIT and heaps of exercise, intermittent fasting and more recently calorie counting… and nothing seems to be working. I thought maybe also it was just getting older (I am 36 now) and I got a bit depressed about the prospect of eating like a sparrow for the rest of my life… but I am hoping it’s something that will pass.

    • Yshya

      Same age and same problem you are not alone

      • Anonymous

        You all should have your thyroid levels checked. Many women with low hormones also have Hypothyroidism which contributes to issues getting pregnant and slow metabolism. I didn’t realize I had issues till I tried to get pregnant. I have since done many cycles and after the last one slowly lost all the bloat but the weight took awhile and once I got my THC number back to a better place my
        Weight dropped off

  9. s

    I have been on Ivf treatment for two weeks and gained 2 kilos !!!

  10. KYC

    I had a FET on August 15. I had a positive beta and continue to take PIO and estrogen shots daily. I’ve gained 12 pounds over the course of IVF which began for me in January (stims, retrieval, transfer, negative beta, cycle 2 stims, retrieval, transfer and now today). I have never weighed this much in my life nor fluctuated more than 3-5 pounds. I’m 37 and maintain the exact same eating habits and exercise regimen as I always have. It is the drugs. Bummer but worth it when this works! Being positive!

    • Anonymous

      I have been through 2 unsuccessful cycles of IVF. I am currently half way through my 3rd. I have been the same weight for about 10 years but have gained 5 kilos since starting IVF. I used to be able to eat absolutely anything without gaining any weight. I didn’t put any weight on after the first cycle. I think the fact that I started my second and third cycles straight away without giving my body a break hasn’t helped. I feel like I am eating much less than I used to and exercising non stop but it’s not having any impact. I can only assume the hormones have affected my metabolism as I have never had a weight problem in the past.

  11. Melanie

    I gained about 7 lbs taking DHEA for 7 months to prepare for IVF. I had been the same weight for 20 years, +/- a pound. As I was taking the DHEA, I watched the scale slowly and steadily go up starting around month 3 and continuing until my IVF round at month 7. This was my 4th round of IVF, but the first time I had taken DHEA. My eating and activity habits remained the same, and I am 100% sure it was the DHEA. I gained another 3 pounds during the IVF cycle itself, but that has come off in the month after the IVF cycle and retrieval ended.

    • Anonymous

      I agree, I gained steadily in my 1st month on DHEA. I’m up 6lb, after no weight gain in the first IVF.

  12. Anonymous

    I did two unsuccessful IVF Cycles and I now have extra weight below my belly button, as well as an extra 7 pounds that I cannot get rid off. I am eating less and working out arduously. The weight remains the same no matter what I do. I hadn’t gain any weight in at least seven years. I am very frustrated. I am hoping that someone can confirm that is due to hormones, and that the weight will normalize with time. My last IVF Cycle was in June.

    • Brooke

      Hey there, I am so sorry that you are going through this. After my first cycle and before the miscarriage at 10 weeks, I gained 13 lbs. it took me 8 months to loose about 7 to 8 lbs of that weight. I’m into my second transfer and I have gained 3 lbs in a week and a half. I 100% blame the progesterone. My weight was steady until I started injecting the POI shots. It’s too early in this pregnancy to be gaining this kind of weight so I chop it up to good ol’ hormones. I hope this helps you and wish you so so much luck.

      • Kimmy

        I underwent 1 cycle of egg freezing and have gained 15lbs. I am still trying to get this weight off over 6 months later I am so frustrated. The weight gain is mostly below the belly button and looks as if I am pregnant. Everything I read online says the weight gain is temporary but I can’t get rid of it.

        • Carolina

          Hi Kimmy,
          Same here. I gained 10 lbs. and I am still trying to get this weight off over 3 months later I am so frustrated too. My stomach looks like I’m pregnant even though I’m not…
          I do exercise and some diet and I don’t see any results at all yet. Sad…

    • Anonymous

      Can you check your vitamin D level?

    • Anonymous

      Same here!!!! Help! I have NEVER had a weight problem, but my stomach looks like I’m pregnant even though I’m not… 🙁

    • Anon

      I found your comment so interesting. I’ve also had 2 unsuccessful ivf cycles where I was injecting into my bum. I’ve noticed that ever since I’ve had a
      “Fat pocket” on either side in the area I was injecting. I also gained 7kg in the 3 months that I did IVF and still cannot shift the weight no matter how clean I eat and how much I workout. It’s so frustrating.

  13. Bec

    I put on weight above my bellybutton where I was injecting myself with hormones during my first IVF cycle. I went through overstimulation syndrome and my blastocysts were frozen, but I later became pregnant and continued hormone injections during the first trimester. When I tried IVF again two years later I was told by the nurses not to inject in the abdomen, but on the thighs instead. I still have a bulge of fat above my bellybutton that I can not loose. I think the research must not be there, but anecdotal evidence supports weight gain due to hormone injections. I was diagnosed with large gallstones, six months after my IVF baby birth and had to have me gallbladder removed after a gallstone attack. I have heard that gallstones are also common in women who have had IVF?
    I did not put on belly fat during my first non-IVF pregnancy. I developed Graves’ disease after my first pregnancy and needed a total thyroidectomy and so was on Thyroxine during IVF treatment for my second pregnancy. A slow metabolism is sometimes attributed to this, so perhaps that has also contributed to weight gain.

  14. Dana

    I’m on round 2 and have gained 10 lbs and am definitely bloated. I have not changed my eating habits or exercise.

  15. Anonymous

    I’ve no doubt the IVF process has contributed to my weight gain. 5 unsuccessful stimulated cycles have taken their toll. I think there are additional factors due to the commitment IVF requires: not being able to make scheduled exercise classes due to procedures or expense; feeling unmotivated and having less energy; weeks where it feels uncomfortable to use core muscles; not feeling good in usual exercise wear, time taken up by IVF leaves less time to plan and cook healthy meals etc. I’d be interested in a holistic study which consider thee factors too.

    • Anonymous

      I agree 100%!

  16. Anonymous

    I have gained 10 pounds for 3 months and definitely due to the hormones. I have the same eating habits and activity. A lot of pills and injections, there is no way not to reflect metabolism. I tried to control the weight, but was not possible, I was gaining from nothing

  17. Anonymous

    Its my 4th IVF and I have gained around two kilos! Its not normal for me to gain weight at all and I am active as before.
    With previous cycles I took Progyluton white pills and I dont remember any changes in my body. Now I am taking Meriestra, they make me nauseous and feeling low, so I even eat less than usual. My transfer is on 3rd of june …hope in few weeks I get rid of this stuff as my Doc said I have to continue until I take the pregnancy test.

  18. Anonymous

    This is my second cycle of IVF and I’ve gained 10 pounds in 3 months! My activity has been the same, as well as my eating habits. I 100% blame the hormones.

  19. A reddel

    I’m fatter than I’ve been in 15 years, and it has to be the ivf hormones. I’m 5 weeks pregnant post transfer and still on lots of estrogen. I heard that elevated estrogen leads to extra ghrelin (that stupid hormone that makes you feel hungry). There’s no way my lack of physical activity has lead to my 10 extra lbs :(.

  20. Heather

    100% attribute IVF to my weight gain.

  21. Cassie

    Interesting read. I put on 3.5kg in 12 days since starting the treatment. I will def agree a small potioned has been due to some stress eating. However the regular exercising output i was doing out weighed the input of eating. So i wonder if the remainder if that weight is accountable to the treament.

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