Nutrition and Fertility

Posted on 6 December 2018

Good nutrition is important to every aspect of good health. Being overweight and underweight are bad for fertility. We can optimise our chances of natural conception and success with fertility treatments by taking on the mantra “your body is a temple”. Giving our bodies the best nutrition and avoiding known may improve our chance of getting pregnant.

The fertility diet

There are some thing s we know about nutrition. We know that diets containing high levels of  unsaturated fats, plant sourced proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and fish have been associated with better fertility rates in both sexes.

Making it work

Like all aspects of fertility, nutrition is a partnership. No lifestyle change is an instant fix. We know that dietary changes are most successful when adopted together and consistently by both a man and a woman. We know that committing to lifestyle changes as a couple improved the chance of “sticking with them” and thus the probability that they will be helpful.

What about the effects of dairy on fertility?

Current evidence on the role of dairy is inconsistent. It is probably fine for most people, unless you have a diagnosed lactose intolerance.

Should I eliminate gluten to get pregnant?

If you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease, elimination of gluten will help you get pregnant. If you don’t have this specific autoimmune problem (which also has a genetic basis), then eliminating gluten does not help combat infertility.

I’m trying to conceive: Should I avoid alcohol and caffeine?

 Complete elimination of alcohol is recommended once pregnant and in the immediate preconception period. However, occasional social alcohol prior to ovulation does not need to be totally avoided. A policy of careful moderation and no alcohol after ovulation is what I recommend to my patients. If you could be pregnant, all alcohol should definitely be avoided.

Male fertility, alcohol and caffeine

In men, high levels of alcohol and caffeine intake have been shown to impair sperm quality. Avoiding extremes may help improve sperm quality over 2-3 months and may help you to conceive.

Saturated fats and sugar

Saturated fats and sugar are definitely the bad guys and need to be kicked off the fertility diet. High sugar and saturated fat intake have been associated with poorer fertility outcomes in women and men. Soft drinks should be completely ruled out as they reduce fertility. High levels of sugar are particularly bad for sperm quality.

Obesity is the pink elephant in the room for both women and men trying to conceive. Combining good diet with exercise together with weight and general health optimisation with help many women and couples conceive and go on to have a healthy pregnancy, and most importantly, a healthy baby.


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