New research has found that women who follow a Mediterranean diet in the six months before assisted reproductive treatment have a significantly better chance of becoming pregnant and giving birth to a live baby than women who did not.
Researchers asked women about their diet before they underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment and found that those who ate more fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, fish and olive oil, and less red meat, had a 65-68% greater likelihood of achieving a successful pregnancy and birth compared to women with the lowest adherence to the Mediterranean-style diet.
The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, focused on dietary patterns rather than individual nutrients, foods or food groups. It assessed the diet of 244 women via a food frequency questionnaire when they enrolled for their first IVF treatment.
“The important message from our study is that women attempting fertility should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, because greater adherence to this healthy dietary pattern may help increase the chances of successful pregnancy and delivering a live baby,” said lead researcher Nikos Yiannakouris at the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Harokopio University of Athens.