Fertility and Diet

Contributors: Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN
Fertility and Diet

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While healthy eating prepares your body for pregnancy, it also can affect fertility in ways that are not yet clear.

One area that researchers agree upon with regard to fertility and health is body weight. Extremes in body weight are not good for fertility — having a body mass index above or below the recommended range may make it more difficult to get pregnant.

Consider the following tips to reach or maintain a healthy weight:

  • Get moving. Along with healthy eating, include moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.
  • Add in strength training to build muscle. Having more body fat than lean muscle mass is not good for fertility, since body fat affects hormone balance. Weights and resistance bands are popular tools for strength training. Other activities that may strengthen muscles include some types of yoga and pilates, as well as activities such as gardening and yard work. Try to include strength building activities at least two times a week.
  • Make nutritious choices. Keep weight within a healthy range by following a healthful eating pattern. Include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein foods and low-fat or fat-free dairy on a daily basis. Limit your intake of added sugars from sweetened beverages, desserts and baked goods.
  • Balance calories and activities. Balance your food choices with your physical activity on a daily basis. It's a step in the right direction for maintaining a healthy weight.

Although staying at a healthy weight won't guarantee you'll get pregnant, it may be a helpful starting point for both men and women.

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