Women who eat more junk food and less fruit take longer to get pregnant and are less likely to conceive within a year, a new study has suggested.
Anyone who has ever been on the rocky TTC (that’s Trying To Conceive for those not familiar with fertility forum speak) rollercoaster will know that there is plenty of advice for women hoping to become pregnant.
Compared with women who ate fruit three or more times a day in the month before conception, women who ate fruit less than one to three times a month took half a month longer to conceive.
And fast food had a similar effect.
Compared with women who never or rarely ate fast food, women who tucked into junk food four of more times a week took nearly a month longer to become pregnant.
Interestingly, researchers also found that that while the consumption of fruit and takeaways had an impact on the time it took to get pregnant, intake of green leafy vegetables or fish did not.
The study, which is published in the journal Human Reproduction, saw 5,598 women questioned about their diet during their first antenatal visit.
The women, who were from the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, had not had a baby before.
Among study participants, 468 (8%) were classified as infertile (defined as taking longer than a year to conceive) and 2,204 (39%) conceived within a month.
When researchers assessed the impact of diet on infertility, they found that in women with the lowest intake of fruit, the risk of infertility increased from 8% to 12%, and in those who ate fast food four or more times a week, the risk increased from 8% to 16%.
Commenting on the findings Professor Claire Roberts, from the University of Adelaide, who led the study, said: “These findings show that eating a good quality diet that includes fruit and minimising fast food consumption improves fertility and reduces the time it takes to get pregnant.”
As a result of the findings, study authors recommended those looking to conceive give their diet some consideration.
“We recommend that women who want to become pregnant should align their dietary intakes towards national dietary recommendations for pregnancy,” advised first author, Dr Jessica Grieger, post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Adelaide.
“Our data show that frequent consumption of fast foods delays time to pregnancy.”
Professor Roberts described the findings as “good news” because making minor changes to diet could help women to become pregnant sooner. “This can be particularly helpful for women who are less fertile for reasons such as age, genetics or medical reasons,” she said.
The study comes following research released earlier this year which revealed that British women aren’t prepared for pregnancy because their lifestyles are too unhealthy.
They are also lacking sufficient levels of vitamins and minerals.
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