The fertility diet: what to eat if you are looking for a baby

The fertility diet: what to eat if you are looking for a baby

From the SIRU experts, 5 useful tips. First of all, lose weight: the chances of conception could increase even if only by losing 10% of your weight

Lose weight; implement a conscious Mediterranean-type diet rich in seasonal fruit and vegetables and lots of good fibers; make a controlled use of simple sugars and pay attention to the quality of raw materials: the realization of the dream of becoming a mom or dad could also depend on what we put on the table.

To say so are the experts of the Italian Society of Human Reproduction (SIRU): “A 2019 study showed that a correct diet can improve the outcome of a treatment of MAP or even increase the rate of spontaneous pregnancies”, explains Maria Giulia Minasi , head of the Reproductive Medicine laboratory of the Villa Mafalda Center in Rome.

“Since 2010 – confirms Annalisa Liprino, gynecologist of the HERA UMR Center in Sant ‘Agata Li Battiati (Catania) – WHO has been promoting maternal and child health starting even before pregnancy. A healthy diet in the preconception period significantly reduces the risk of so-called Adverse Reproductive Outcomes (EAR) and lays the foundations for the health of the child and then of the adult ”. “To increase the chances of pregnancy it is necessary not only to avoid smoking and alcohol, but also to commit to improving one’s diet, also associating regular physical activity”, adds Antonino Guglielmino, gynecologist and President of SIRU. “It is not rare, in fact, that some couples about to access treatment for assisted fertilization then manage to reach their goal spontaneously by following only a few simple dietary advice”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers infertility a pathology and defines it as the absence of conception after 12/24 months of regular unprotected targeted sexual intercourse. A condition that in Italy affects about 15% of couples while, in the world, about 10-12%. This pathology can affect men, women or both (couple infertility). However, it may also happen that there is an impossibility for that particular union between individuals to conceive life.


  • Lose weight
  • Follow the Mediterranean diet
  • More fish, less meat
  • Yes to dried fruit
  • No to crash diets

Lose weight

Excess weight can have important consequences that can undermine a woman’s ability to conceive, either spontaneously or through assisted fertilization. It can in fact cause ovulation abnormalities and hinder embryo implantation.

“The patient’s weight is the first parameter to be evaluated to understand if it is necessary to change her diet”, explains Maria Giulia Minasi. “If the woman is overweight or even obese, she should intervene with a diet capable of bringing her body mass index (BMI) to values ​​considered normal”.

The body mass index (abbreviated BMI or BMI, from the English body mass index) is a biometric data given by the ratio between weight and square of the height of an individual and is used as an indicator of the state of healthy weight.

“It has been shown – underlines Minasi – that women with a high BMI who are able to reduce their weight by 10% compared to the starting value, even without reaching their ideal weight, can benefit from a significant improvement in fertility” .

However, a healthy diet is equally important for people of normal weight.

Follow the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is the most effective for improving the nutritional status of future parents, experts assure. “There are no single nutrients or single foods that increase the chances of conception – specifies Liprino – for years scientific evidence has shown that the diet as a whole, associated with healthy lifestyles, reduces the risk of chronic degenerative diseases and proves to be an ‘ally’ of fertility “. Therefore, it would be ideal to follow the Mediterranean diet with some small precautions: a lower intake of simple sugars, much more seasonal fruit and vegetables and particular attention to the choice of raw materials. “You don’t necessarily have to give up on pasta”, says Minasi, “but prefer the wholemeal one, rich in fiber, and avoid consuming it daily”. As an alternative to pasta, you can opt for rice, barley, spelled, etc. “When choosing fruit and vegetables, it is always better to prefer seasonal ones which, in general, have a higher content of micronutrients and vitamins”, explains Minasi. More field products, therefore, and fewer greenhouse products.

“Furthermore, scientific evidence is accumulating recently which suggests that we can go further. A more drastic reduction of carbohydrates, typical of ketogenic diets, would in fact seem to favor weight loss, rebalance the ovulatory structure and therefore improve fertility. Obviously in this case an adequate integration is necessary and do-it-yourself is banned ”, adds Minasi.

More fish, less meat

Also pay attention to the protein intake. “A fertility-friendly diet also involves alternating between different protein sources, preferring fish to red meat whenever possible”, adds Dr. Minasi. Yes also to eggs, an important source of noble proteins, preferably choosing those that come from free-range hens.

Yes to dried fruit

Also recommended is the consumption of dried fruit, which is rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids known to be beneficial for fertility. In particular, the study “Prolonging the female reproductive lifespan and improving egg quality with dietary omega-3 fatty acids” showed that omega 3 fatty acids can provide an effective and practical way to delay ovarian aging and improve oocyte quality. even in advanced maternal age.

No to crash diets

But be careful not to exaggerate your eating habits: every now and then the sneak is allowed and represents a way to resume your path with more determination. “One free meal a week is fine, without exaggerating,” suggests Minasi. Sweets, he adds, are not banned: “by now, low-sugar foods are quite common, such as, for example, peanut butter or dark chocolate”. The definition of a nutritional program together with your doctor or nutritionist is very important to reduce the risks to general health and improve your physical condition before facing the delicate path of pregnancy.

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