Food consumption can increase difficulty getting pregnant, study says

Ebony Scott
May 10, 2018

The food may be fast, but it actually can slow down your goal of getting pregnant. And while eating fruit and fast foods appeared to affect how long it took a woman to get pregnant, eating vegetables and fish did not appear to make a difference.

For the study pregnant women were surveyed by midwives on how long it had taken them to become pregnant, as well as their intake of fruit, and fast foods such as burgers, pizza, fried chicken and chips. But those who ate fruit less than one to three times a month took half a month longer to conceive.

Experts say women who want to get pregnant should follow a healthy diet and limit their trips to the drive through.

Dr. Raj Mathur, secretary of the British Fertility Society, said that "the study could help women who seek to conceive".

The risk increased from 8 percent to 16 percent if they ate fast food four or more times a week.

The research study, which was published on May 3 in the scientific journal Human Reproduction, included 5,600 women ranging in age from 18 to 43. This was compared to women who ate more fruit instead of fast food. Among all the couples who participated in the study, 8 percent were found infertile and 39 percent conceived within a single month. Woman who consumed fast food four or more times a weeks were less likely to get pregnant in a month when compared to women who ate fast food less often.

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This study only shows an association between what a woman eats and their chances of conceiving a child. Meaning that overall, fast-food consumption might have been underreported, researchers said.

In assessing the link between diet and time to get pregnant, the researchers took account of other potential confounding factors, including ethnicity, body mass index, smoking, socioeconomic status and past reproductive history, including any miscarriages.

There were restrictions to this study, such as the researchers having to depend on women's recollections of diets past, as opposed to using information that was fresh in the mind of participants.

The researchers are continuing their work and plan to identify particular dietary patterns, rather than individual food groups, that may be associated with how long it takes women to become pregnant.

Finally, only a very small number of the women had fertility problems, and further dividing them according to their diet resulted in such small numbers that the likelihood of findings arising by chance was higher.

Funding for the work came from the NHS, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, University of Manchester Proof of Concept Funding, Guy's and St Thomas' Charity, and Tommy's Charity.

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