Fertility in Australia
In Australia, one in six people will experience infertility. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive within a year of trying or experiencing pregnancies that do not result in a live birth. There are many reasons someone may find they are having difficulty falling pregnant with age being biggest factor. There are, however, many lifestyle factors that affect the fertility of both men and women that we can alter to improve our chances of falling pregnant.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Currently 67% of Australian adults are classed as being overweight or obese. Being both overweight and underweight can have a negative effect on fertility. Excess body fat can cause hormonal disruptions and decrease the quality of both sperm and eggs. Losing as little as 5% of your body weight can improve your chances of falling pregnant, even in women suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Regardless of your weight, a healthy diet not only improves fertility but is also important for the health of both the mother and child before, during and after pregnancy. Less than 6% of Australian adults report eating the recommended serves of fruit and vegetables, both of which are rich sources of vitamins and minerals. Diets low in fruit and vegetable can lead to deficiencies and malnutrition, which not only affect fertility but can result in adverse affects on the development and health of your unborn child.
- Vegetables, fruit and legumes
- Whole Grains
- Fish, nuts, olive oil and other foods high in unsaturated fat
- Dairy and dairy alternatives
Diets high in unsaturated fat, whole grains, vegetables and fish can increase fertility in both men and women. The Mediterranean has shown to be one of the best diets for fertility and is based around plant foods, unsaturated fat (primarily from virgin olive oil) moderate amounts of dairy, fish and poultry and small amounts of red meat.
- Saturated fat
- Sugary drinks
Studies show that diets high in saturated fat and sugar result in lower fertility in both men and women. Sugary drinks in particular have been linked to lower fertility rates, with Australian men likely to consume twice as many sugary drinks as women.
Can a Dietitian Help?
While there is still plenty of research to be done regarding the role diet has on fertility, the current evidence shows the growing value of nutrition counselling from an Accredited Practising Dietitian and how dietary interventions can improve the chances of those suffering from infertility falling pregnant as well as provide nutritional support to those of reproductive age regardless of fertility status.
Written by Katherine Ramsden, Nutritionist
Nutrition Force is a Western Australian based company of Nutritionists and Accredited Practising Dietitians that offer weight loss programs, private dietetic consultations, children’s nutrition & dietetics, school nutrition and Corporate Wellness programs. If you would like more information on our Perth Dietitians and the other services we offer call us today on (08) 9385 7755.