October 6, 2023
There is increasing evidence that following a healthy diet can reduce the risk of miscarriage. A US-Spanish study has now shown that this also applies to pregnancies after IVF, where the risk of miscarriage is generally higher.
Harvard University researcher Dr. Albert Salas Huetos and his team examined how eating habits have changed before IVF affects the success of fertility treatment.
Eight dietary recommendations in comparison
The research team recruited a total of 612 women (average age 35 years) who underwent at least one fertility treatment between 2007 and 2019. Using standardized questionnaires, the researchers collected detailed data on dietary habits before fertility treatment. In addition, other risk factors, such as body mass index, tobacco consumption, physical activity, and medical history, were recorded.
Eating habits were assessed based on how consistent they were with eight different dietary recommendations. For each dietary recommendation, women were divided into four groups, from least (1) to highest (4) consistent with the diet. The researchers then evaluated the extent to which dietary patterns affected fertility treatment outcomes (live birth, clinical pregnancy, pregnancy loss). “Clinical pregnancy” means that the pregnancy was detected 5-6 weeks after IVF.
The eight healthy eating recommendations included three Mediterranean diets, the Healthy Eating Index, the Alternative Healthy Eating Index, the American Heart Association Index (heart-healthy diet), the DASH Index (hypertension diet) and a purely vegetarian diet. .
In particular, a heart-healthy diet can protect against pregnancy loss
Study participants who consistently ate a healthy diet before fertility treatment had a lower risk of pregnancy loss. With one exception: with a vegetarian diet, the risk fluctuates in the “medium range.” The clearest differences were between a consistent heart-healthy diet (15% risk) and an unhealthy heart-healthy diet (30% risk). Otherwise, the research team found no clear link between the dietary patterns examined and other outcomes of fertility treatments.
Study results suggest that continued adherence to the American Heart Association (AHA) dietary recommendations prior to fertility treatment can significantly reduce the risk of pregnancy loss.
the AHA diet It is very similar to the Mediterranean diet and includes the following recommendations:
- A large assortment of vegetables and fruits
- Whole grain products and grain products consisting mostly of whole grains
- Healthy sources of protein (mainly legumes, nuts, fish, seafood, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products) – If you eat meat and poultry, they should be lean and unprocessed.
- Liquid non-tropical vegetable oils (tropical oils include coconut oil and palm oil)
- As little processed foods as possible (such as sausages and prepared foods)
- Minimize the number of drinks and foods containing added sugar as much as possible (such as glucose, fructose, dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, fruit juice concentrate)
- Foods prepared with little or no salt
- Preferably no alcohol
Source: Albert Salas-Huetos et al., Women’s Adherence to Healthy Dietary Patterns and Infertility Treatment Outcomes, JAMA Network Open (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.29982
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