There’s been evidence to support the long-standing notion that a woman's diet before pregnancy affects her chances of conceiving, and reports continue to bolster this point. The most recent was a study that looked at the relationship between fast-food and fruit consumption prior to pregnancy. Researchers found that consuming too much fast food and too little fruit does in fact inhibit how quickly you can become pregnant.
The survey, which included women in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, asked 5,598 women a series of questions about their diet. The results showed that women who ate fast food four or more times a week took nearly a month longer to get pregnant than those who never or rarely ate it. Those same women had a 16 percent risk of being unable to conceive within a year. The study also showed that women with the lowest fruit intake had a 12 percent risk of not conceiving within a year, with those who ate fruit less than one to three times a month taking on average half a month longer to become pregnant than those who ate fruit three or more times a day.
However, the risk of not conceiving within a year was already eight percent for the entire group, making the results seem less severe. The research methods of the study have also been called into question, because researchers relied on the pregnant participants — who were already 14 to 16 weeks along at the time of the study — to remember their diet in the month before they conceived.
The information was gathered at this stage in the pregnancy by midwives who asked the women how often they ate fruit, leafy green vegetables, and fish, as well as fast food and various unhealthier options such as burgers, pizza, fried chicken, and fries. Surprisingly, the experts found no association between eating fish or leafy green vegetables and the time it took to get pregnant. Researchers have admitted that other unknown factors might have affected the results and acknowledge only a limited range of foods were incorporated into the study. Plus, there was no information on the father's diet.
Despite this, experts have decided that this research shows a correlation between a woman's diet and the time it takes her to conceive. Professor Claire Roberts, who led the study, said, "These findings show that eating a good quality diet that includes fruit and minimizing fast food consumption improves fertility and reduces the time it takes to get pregnant."
Adding to the growing body of evidence that diet is an important factor in conception, other researchers not involved in the study have also confirmed the overall findings of the study. Gino Pecoraro, MD, said, "Generally, the study does support what most health professionals would intuitively believe — having a healthy diet is good for couples trying to conceive."
This article was written by Georgia Aspinall. For more, check out our sister site, Grazia.