Diet, Environmental Issues & Fertility

As time goes on we are learning more about some simple lifestyle and environmental issues that can affect a couple’s chance of conceiving. We all know the obvious ones like stopping smoking, using recreational drugs, excessive drinking, but here are a couple I bet you did not know.

One important lifestyle issue is diet. If you’re trying to have a baby, eating fish might help. Researchers interviewed 501 couples who were trying to get pregnant without medical assistance. All kept diaries on their diet and other health and behavioral habits, including fish consumption and frequency of sexual intercourse. They followed the pairs for a year or until pregnancy. They found that men who had two or more four-ounce servings of fish a week had a 47 percent shorter time to pregnancy, and women a 60 percent shorter time, than those who ate one or fewer servings a week.

Partners who ate fish also had sexual intercourse, on average, 22 percent more frequently, but the association of eating fish with pregnancy persisted even after controlling for frequency of sex. By 12 months, 92 percent of couples who ate fish twice a week or more were pregnant, compared with 79 percent among those who ate less.

On the environmental front: Closing coal- and oil-fired power plants cuts air pollution in nearby communities, and two new studies also show that shuttering plants boosts fertility rates and reduces the number of preterm births. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, looked at fertility rates and the prevalence of preterm births before and after eight power plants closed from 2001 to 2011 in California. Fertility rates among nearby populations appeared to rise after coal and oil power plants were closed. The study, published in Environmental Health, analysed 58,909 live births. It says researchers estimated, using adjusted models, that annual fertility rates among women between the ages of 15 and 44 who lived within about three miles of the shuttered power plants increased by eight births per 1,000 women. They increased by two births among those within about 3 to 6 miles of power plants, according to the study.

For more information please see our Lifestyle & Fertility page.

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