In the fall of last year, a publication from the large Nurses’ Health Study, identified lifestyle and dietary issues clearly associated with reproductive health.
With access to over 25,000 pregnancies, the Nurses’ Health Study allows the prospective monitoring of women’s health and lifestyle choices.
Some take home lessons:
- A Normal BMI: 20-25, is associated with better fertility, decreased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth and lower risk of gestational diabetes
- For women who are overweight, a 4 kg (9 lb) weight loss after the age of 18 is associated with improved fertility over women who’ve not lost any weight. So every effort does matter.
- For women with irregular periods, certain dietary choices had a large increase (over 60%) compared with women without those choices.
It’s the third point that has led to a description of the “fertility diet”. Specifically, “Infertility associated with ovulation disorders is largely preventable. Nearly half of the cases (46%) could be attributed to poor diet alone, and the majority of cases (66%) could be attributed to poor diet, inactivity, and overweight.”
- High in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds
- Natural monounsaturated fats: olive oil
- Low to moderate amounts of fish, poultry and full fat dairy
- Minimal red meat and processed carbs
Other lifestyle changes that improved fertility:
- Increased water intake
- Increased daily activity
These findings aren’t surprising, given that women with irregular periods often also suffer from insulin resistance. When irregular periods and/or ovulatory dysfunction are the primary cause of infertility, metformin—a medication which helps lower insulin levels—and lower carb diets help improve ovulation and pregnancy rates. The “Mediterranean” diet associated with improved fertility does much of the same: lowers insulin levels.
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano is also a graduate of the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship at Stanford University, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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