For women hoping to conceive, experts advise watching your weight and following a Mediterranean-style diet to boost your odds of having a baby.
As fertility experts shared their research at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Boston this week, Loyola University dietitian Brooke Schantz offered essential diet tips to increase your chances of having a baby.
"Establishing a healthy eating pattern and weight is a good first step for women who are looking to conceive," she said. "Not only will a healthy diet and lifestyle potentially help with fertility, but it also may influence fetal well-being and reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy."
Thirty percent of infertility is due to being either overweight or underweight, according to the National Infertility Association in the US. Reducing extra weight by even five percent can enhance fertility, experts say.
For women looking to conceive, Schantz recommends the following:
- Reduce intake of foods with trans and saturated fats while increasing intake of monounsaturated fats, such as avocados and olive oil
- Lower intake of animal protein and add more vegetable protein to your diet
- Add more fiber to your diet by consuming whole grains, vegetables, and fruit
- Incorporate more vegetarian sources of iron such as legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, and whole grains
- Consume high-fat dairy instead of low-fat dairy. A Harvard University study showed that women who ate more than two portions a day of low-fat dairy foods were 85 percent more likely to be infertile due to ovulatory disorders than those who only ate it less than once a week.
- Take a regular women's multivitamin
But men aren't left out of the equation. "Men who are looking to have a baby also have a responsibility to maintain a healthy body weight and consume a balanced diet, because male obesity may affect fertility by altering testosterone and other hormone levels," Schantz said.
Approximately 40 percent of infertility issues are attributed to men, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.