Most people know that eating a healthy diet is important during pregnancy, but a new study says that a healthy diet is just as important before pregnancy. Eating too much fast food, researchers found, can increase the time it takes to become pregnant.
Researchers in Australia looked at data from 5,598 pregnant women in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland. They collected the data beginning at each woman’s first prenatal visit, and asked how long it took to become pregnant and how often they ate healthfully—fruit, green leafy vegetables and fish—or the opposite—burgers, pizza, fried chicken and fries from fast food retailers.
They found that women who ate fruit less than three times a month took half a month longer to become pregnant than those who ate fruit three or more times a day in the month before conception. And women who ate fast food four or more times a week took nearly a month longer to conceive than the women who ate several portions of fruit a day.
“Small modifications in dietary intake may have benefits for improving fertility,” wrote first author Jessica Grieger, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Adelaide. “Our data shows that frequent consumption of fast foods delays time to pregnancy.”
The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction.