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Can a super healthy diet significantly improve fertility

53 replies

Horsesway123 · 16/05/2021 19:47

Hi everyone,

Before I had my DD at the age of 39 I was a vegetarian for 5 years, teetotaller for 6 years, no caffeine, lots of exercise and generally very healthy. I got pregnant quite quickly and had a relatively easy pregnancy.
After DD was born things have changed in my diet and exercise levels. I started eating fish again as it's just quicker to cook, lots of bread, the odd cake, the odd junk food and I put on a bit of weight. My veggie intake had gone down significantly, my DD is a picky eater and we end up eating a lot of fish which she likes and I can't be bothered cooking two different meals.

When my DD was 6 months I started TTC again. Got pregnant 3 times and all ended up in miscarriage, I'm 43 now, first miscarriage at 41. Apparently my egg reserve is above average for my age, it's probably the quality that's poor. I've done some investigations and they found me lupus anticoagulant positive which means I have to be on blood thinners when I'm pregnant, but even that hasn't helped.

The only thing that's changed in 4 years is my age (which I have no control over) and my diet. AIBU to think that going back to my original diet will improve my chances? I'm desperate for another baby.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


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Wiredforsound · 16/05/2021 19:58

I very much doubt it, otherwise heavy drinkers, smokers, and meat eaters wouldn’t get pregnant. You haven’t put in tonnes of weight and become morbidly obese, have you? Because that does affect fertility. Sometimes pregnancy is just the luck of the draw. If it makes you feel better though, you could go back to your old diet.


lljkk · 16/05/2021 20:05

the main factors that affect fertility are not modifiable: age & genetics. Sorry.x


Horsesway123 · 16/05/2021 20:06

@Wiredforsound of course, I totally agree with you. I'm asking in the context of my age, I'm 43.

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suspiria777 · 16/05/2021 20:08

I don't think you can infer it will help, but it certainly can't hurt (unless your version of super healthy is low in fat and protein which would definitely screw up your hormones more)


theotherfossilsister · 16/05/2021 20:14

I'm TTC (3 years in) and definitely interested in how diet affects fertility. I had a traumatic bereavement last summer and piled on lots of weight as I was too scared to go out for a while and know this can affect fertility. One woman on the TTC board said she conceived on keto after years trying. I'm not able to do that but I've found focusing on eating well has helped my mental health.

We have male factor infertility so I keep making us huge anti oxidant rich soups for lunch in the hope it will help. I think it is possible for you at 43. It's the age my mum had me. I'm thirty six and stupidly thought it would be easy xx


Workingfromhomeishell · 16/05/2021 20:14

You can't change your age so in that context diet is key.

One of the biggest causes of sub / infertility (age adjusted) in the Western world is obesity and junk food. Also smoking.

Good luck


Yokey · 16/05/2021 20:15

I'm healthy and can't get pregnant naturally. Nobody knows why. Realised in my 20s so not age. One of the many shit things about infertility is all the bullshit cures you look for, and the internet isn't short of "miracle" stories of obscure cures to prey on the desperation of infertile women.

I'm sorry you're suffering secondary infertility. If you eat reasonably healthily and aren't overweight, it's very unlikely that you'll be able to fix the issue by giving up fish. But no harm in trying if it will make you feel better.

If you desperately want another child, I'd recommend enlisting the help of a fertility clinic without delay.


AnneLovesGilbert · 16/05/2021 20:25

How many pregnancies did you try your blood thinners for and how many jabs did you do a day?

Sorry, not diet related but I multiple mcs before DD, no cause found and the difference in the successful pregnancy was steroids for the first 18 weeks and double fragmin jabs, one morning one night.

I don’t know anything about lupus but if you’ve had one pregnancy on thinners is it worth asking if they can increase the dose.

Have you been on aspirin? I took 150mg a day of that too.

Are you under a recurrent miscarriage clinic?

I’m so sorry for your struggles. If you think you’ll feel better on a healthier diet it can’t hurt. And take a decent vitamin and extra D on top if you aren’t already. All positive wishes to you.


A1b2c3d4e5f6g7 · 16/05/2021 20:29

I’ve just finished It Starts With the Egg by Rebecca Fett, would really recommend it. It’s a focus on how to improve fertility and egg quality with diet and supplements, based on numerous studies - she’s a research scientist and I found the book really well researched and written.
I kind of do the diet anyway, as I’m vegetarian too, but it’s a real focus on whole foods, beans, pulses and veggies, so I’m working on cleaning up my diet and cutting out sugars and alcohol. Cutting out exposure to bpa and phlalates, and a lot of fresh veggies. I’ve started on the supplements and ubiquinol, it’s pricy but I feel well with lots of energy at the moment.


RedMarauder · 16/05/2021 20:29

OP do you know whether it is common in your family for the women you are blood related to, to give birth in their 40s?

I gave birth to my DD at 43. My mother gave birth to me at 43. On both sides of my family I am aware of women having healthy babies up until their late 40s. The difference between myself and the majority of them is I have one child while they had at least 2.

While like you I did lots of exercise before I got pregnant unlike you I got pregnant while I was taking a break as I wasn't training for anything. So I was drinking a lot more alcohol and drinking strong coffee. I also eat meat and take supplements for deficiencies I have had since I was in my 30s.

I'm basically saying what other posters have pointed out that genetics is a factor in fertility.


Treacletoots · 16/05/2021 20:30

Your diet isn't the only thing that's changed OP though is it?

You're just a bit older, and sadly as a species we have poor levels of fertility, that do decline rapidly after the age of 35. At 43 your egg quality is likely to be as you say quite poor. If you are really desperate to have another, have you considered a donor egg?


RedMarauder · 16/05/2021 20:37

@Treacletoots that isn't true. The records that were used for that study were everyone quotes the age of 35 is about 4 centuries old were you were lucky to live over 40 and be healthy.


Barbie222 · 16/05/2021 20:41

I think unfortunately it is likely to be age and egg quality rather than diet making a discernible difference now. I had my last child at 39 after two miscarriages, although I kept trying after that it wasn't to be sadly and looking back I think I was only just on the right side of fertile at 39.


Horsesway123 · 16/05/2021 21:42

@RedMarauder no one in my blood related family had children in their 40ies, simply because they married and had children very young and stopped there. Grandmother had last child late 20ies, mum had me and 24 and stopped there, cousins had children late 20ies and early 30ies. I unfortunately only found DH when I was 38. I so wish I was 10 years younger.

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Horsesway123 · 16/05/2021 21:44

@Treacletoots I have considered donor egg or donor embryo, but deep down I still refuse to believe I can't conceive naturally. I thought I'd give it another shot for the next few months.

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Horsesway123 · 16/05/2021 21:45

@A1b2c3d4e5f6g7 interesting, I'll have a look.

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Palavah · 16/05/2021 21:45

Yes lifestyle definitely has an impact. A friend struggled to get and stay pregnant for a few years and then changed her diet and took supplements and has had 2 children either side of her 40th birthday. She was in the same position - decent AMH but low quality.

Check out fertility nutrition dietitian on instagram and it starts with the egg.

Your partner's sperm quality will be a factor too, remember.


Anna727b · 16/05/2021 21:48

It sounds like you still have a very good diet. It's worth switching to the diet you had 4 years ago but it's very likely that it's just age related. I think I read that more pregnancies in 40s end in miscarriage than birth (obviously there are exceptions).


Horsesway123 · 16/05/2021 21:48

@AnneLovesGilbert I've only been on aspirin (75 mg) on last pregnancy a few months ago, as I wasn't aware of this issue before. But I didn't take it until I found out I was pregnant and the gyne suggested next time I take it whilst trying and do the heparin injections once I'm pregnant.

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A1b2c3d4e5f6g7 · 16/05/2021 22:36

@AnneLovesGilbert the book gives a lot of studies, some carried out by IVF clinics, and looks at the egg quality before and after and there are measurable differences in quality. Its also for sperm, because as men age, their sperm contributes to difficulties ttc and to miscarriage rates. The focus is antioxidants - high dose ubiquinol, vitamin C, vitamin E, NAC, plus vitamin D and the usual high quality pre-conception supplement. But in three months, both eggs and sperm can apparently be massively improved.


Horsesway123 · 16/05/2021 23:42

@AnneLovesGilbert sorry, can I ask you what kind of steroids were you on and who prescribed them and why?

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PickAChew · 16/05/2021 23:45

Dropping the junk wouldn't hurt (can't say if it would actually help) but dropping the fish wouldn't make your diet any healthier.


Horsesway123 · 16/05/2021 23:47

@AnneLovesGilbert thank you for your wishes. I am under the recurrent miscarriages clinic with NHS but I don't think they can tell me more than I already know.

I've also been seen at the fertility clinic as I struggled to get pregnant between the second and third miscarriage, but again no cause found. Got my tubes and my egg reserve checked. And a few weeks later I got getting pregnant is not the real problem, it's keeping the pregnancy.

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Horsesway123 · 16/05/2021 23:50

@Anna727b I'm sure that's true.

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Marcis · 17/05/2021 00:15

If you have the money for private quite honestly I’d be going ASAP to see what they can do for you.

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