Piglet birth weight and within-litter birth weight variation are important for piglet survival and growth. Pre-mating diets may improve IGF-1 and follicle development during the weaning-to-oestrus interval (WEI) and subsequent piglet birth weight. The objective of this study was to modulate IGF-1 concentration during late lactation and the WEI of young sows by using specific pre-mating diets supplemented with microfibrillated cellulose (MF), l-carnitine (LC) or l-arginine (AR). A further objective was to investigate the relationship between IGF-1 and subsequent follicle development and oestrus and ovulation characteristics. In total, 56 first-parity and 20 second-parity sows in three consecutive batches were used for this experiment. Sows received daily either wheat (CON) or wheat plus MF, LC or AR at one of two supplementation levels (low and high) during last week of lactation and WEI. From weaning onwards, follicle and corpus luteum (CL) diameters were repeatedly measured with ultrasound. Blood samples were collected during the WEI for IGF-1 and on day 21 of pregnancy for progesterone analyses, respectively. Insulin-like growth factor-1 concentration, follicle diameter, oestrus and ovulation characteristics and CL diameter were not affected by pre-mating diets. Low IGF-1 class (≤156 ng/ml, N = 22) sows had smaller follicles at weaning (3.5 v. 3.8 mm, P < 0.05) and a longer weaning-to-ovulation interval (147.2 v. 129.8 h, P < 0.05) than high IGF-1 class sows. In first-parity sows, high loin muscle depth (LM) loss sows (≥8%, N = 28) had lower IGF-1 concentrations at weaning (167 v. 214 ng/ml, P < 0.05) compared to low LM loss sows (<8%, N = 28). However, after weaning, IGF-1 concentrations increased and did not differ between high LM loss and low LM loss sows. In conclusion, the different supplemented compounds in pre-mating diets did not improve IGF-1 concentrations around weaning in young sows. Furthermore, high body condition loss caused lower IGF-1 concentrations at weaning, but these levels rapidly recovered after weaning and were related to follicle development and the interval from weaning to ovulation.