Essential Baby

Can changing your diet really boost fertility?

If you're trying to fall pregnant, you may want to rethink that soft drink. A study of 18,000 women found that making small changes to your diet could boost your fertility by almost 70 per cent – and one of the recommended strategies is simply to cut out soft drinks.

"Weight and diet have a significant impact on fertility," says Melanie McGrice, a specialist fertility dietitian with a Master's Degree in Dietetics. "Research shows that for every additional body mass index (BMI) point over 29, a woman's fertility decreases by 4 per cent."

McGrice explains that excess weight can impact a woman's fertility in three key ways:

1. Unhealthy eggs. DNA is the genetic code that helps to create new life. Research shows that women who are overweight tend to have more 'disorganised' DNA in their eggs.

2. Overproduction of oestrogen. Oestrogen is the primary female sex hormone, and is produced in the body by the ovaries and by stored body fat. Carrying too much body fat can result in an overproduction of oestrogen, eventually leading to hormone imbalance. About 30 per cent of infertility is thought to be caused by oestrogen imbalance.

3. Implantation of the embryo. Being overweight impacts the environment of the uterus, making it more difficult for the embryo to implant and receive the nourishment it needs for survival.

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