Practical advice for new parents

The Fertility Diet

The Fertility Diet

Can the food that you eat affect your fertility? This book proposes that 10 simple changes in diet and activity may increase your chance of getting pregnant.
It has been well documented that fertility rates in most Western countries have been declining for some time now and there seems to be some consensus that our modern-day diet, with all the inherent chemicals and preservatives, must share some of the blame.

The Fertility Diet is the title of a book which hopes to draw attention to the role that diet plays in some causes of infertility, and offers a low-tech, low-cost potential solution. The book is based on research by the Harvard Nurses' Health Study which suggested that diet may have an effect on women who are trying to get pregnant. The research tracked the health habits of over 17,000 women over a period of 8 years however the book is based on observations from the data gathered rather than any specific laboratory tests.

Of course there are many factors that can prevent a woman from conceiving and this book is only concerned with the effects of diet and, in particular, how diet can affect ovulation infertility. Unrelated recent research in the U.S. found that around 40 percent of ovulation disorders (one of the biggest contributors of infertility) were due in part to being either above or below optimal weight - which of course is more often than not directly related to diet.

The Fertility Diet book outlines 10 diet and lifestyle changes that can women can adopt to prevent or reduce the risk of ovulation 'disturbances' and increase their chances of getting pregnant. In fact, one of the authors goes so far as to claim that 'women who follow five or more of these strategies have about one-sixth the risk of experiencing infertility than women who follow none'.

The basis of the fertility diet is that women trying to conceive should consume monounsaturated fats rather than trans fats and more vegetable proteins rather than animal proteins. They should also opt for slowly digested carbohydrates (brown rice, pasta, brown bread, etc) over easily digested carbohydrates (white rice, soda drinks, potatoes) and moderate (but not eliminate) their intake of high-fat dairy and iron. Naturally, limiting alcohol and tobacco consumption is also recommended and getting regular exercise is encouraged. On the bright side the authors suggest that full-fat dairy products are preferable to skim or low-fat alternatives (in moderation).

Of course while adhering to the fertility diet won’t guarantee a pregnancy (there are no guarantees with any other form of assisted pregnancy method either), it takes little to no effort and is essentially cost free.

At the end of the day though, the message seems to be that if you want to increase your chances of getting pregnant then eat healthy, keep your weight in check, and get regular exercise.

Good advice for everyone, really.