Fertility food for thought

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: January 9th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Women hoping to get pregnant can add another item to the list of reasons to take good care of themselves.

A Harvard study has found that women who followed at least five diet and lifestyle behaviors were eighty percent less likely to have infertility from ovulatory disorders than women who didn’t follow the same behaviors.

The researchers analyzed more than seventeen-thousand married women and found those with the highest fertility scores shared some common traits. They ate less trans fat and sugar from carbohydrates, consumed more protein from vegetables than animals, and ate more fiber and iron. They also took more multivitamins, had a lower body-mass index, exercised more and consumed more high-fat dairy products.

The study found that as soon as women adopted these behaviors, their risk of infertility dropped dramatically.

According to the researchers, infertility affects one in six couples in the United States and Europe. Ovulatory problems are identified in up to thirty percent of the cases.

Diet and exercise aren’t the only factors to consider. Smoking and drinking can also inhibit a woman’s ability to get pregnant. While an occasional drink won’t hurt, binge drinking is a known cause of infertility. And even a few cigarettes a day can hamper your chances of conceiving.

Many doctors also recommend the use of prenatal vitamins, specially formulated to make up for nutritional deficiencies in a would-be mother’s diet. The supplements are especially rich in folic acid, iron and calcium.