The present study reports effects of severe undernutrition on luteal function and pregnancy in pigs. Gilts were inseminated and either fasted on Day 10 and 11 after conception (n = 11) or fully fed throughout (n = 10). Fasting did not affect LH or progesterone pulsatile secretion pattern on Day 11 in samples taken from blood vessels draining an ovary. Ultrasonographic measurements of the size of the corpora lutea did not show any effect of fasting either. However, fasted gilts had 10 to 30 % lower systemic progesterone from Day 12 through Day 15 after conception (P < 0.05). All gilts farrowed, but fasted gilts had fewer born piglets than fully fed gilts (8.8 ± 0.8 vs 10.9 ± 0.5 respectively; P < 0.05). In conclusion, fasting during embryo elongation can compromise embryonic survival by affecting ovarian function in the days after fasting, without having an immediate effect on LH secretion and progesterone output by the ovaries.