A newly published scientific review evaluated for the latest evidence to date that involved lifestyle interventions for Patients dealing with Infertility. It is exciting to see the amount of research on this topic continue growing because it helps put evidence based information in to the hands of Patients, and this information can be utilized to help make empowering changes to help improve the chances of success when you are on the fertility journey.
A look at over 16 randomized clinical trials published found that inclusion of dietary changes and physical activity were associated with increased ovulation rates, clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates. Participants included in the studies had elevated body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 kg/m2.
The length of the studies varied quite a bit, some studies lasted only 4 weeks and some upwards of 48 weeks. The interventions included in the study also varied: some treatment groups were assigned to physical activity only, dietary changes only or a combination of both. The dietary changes implemented also varied quite a bit from the studies: some included very low caloric diets, liquid formula diets, reduced caloric intake or diets, recommendations on healthier food choices and diets with low glycemic index foods.
Interestingly the increase in pregnancy and live birth rates was only observed when dietary modification was paired with exercise (some studies aimed for 10'000 steps per day of walking). Dietary interventions or exercise interventions on their own did not show any positive effect on their own.
It is also important to note that the use of intensive diets with very low caloric diets were associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, but this observation did not reach statistical significance.
Prior to starting any significant dietary changes and lifestyle interventions, it is best to speak with a licensed healthcare provider to ensure what would be ideal for your specific treatment and to discuss benefits versus risks.
This article is being shared as educational content and is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healthcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance and supervision.
Hoek, A., Wang, Z., van Oers, A. M., Groen, H., & Cantineau, A. E. P. (2022). Effects of preconception weight loss after lifestyle intervention on fertility outcomes and pregnancy complications. Fertility and Sterility, 118(3), 456–462.