Eating fast food hurts women's chances of getting pregnant

A study has suggested that women who eat less fruit and more fast food take longer to get pregnant and are less likely to conceive within a year. PRESS ASSOCIATION

Frequent intake of fast food also appeared to delay time to pregnancy.

And those who feast on fast food meals four or more times a week can expect to take almost a month longer before they conceive a child, the study finds.

As per findings, the woman who fed more on fruit than junk food conceived earlier compared to those who ate junk food more and avoided regular fruits.

Midwives looking after these women were instructed to interview them about their diet in the month before they conceived and to record how long it took the women to get pregnant once they started trying. Women who can get pregnant, but are unable to stay pregnant, may also be considered infertile.

It included details of what they ate in the month before conception and how often they ate fruit, green leafy vegetables, fish and fast food such as burgers, pizza, fried chicken and chips.

"With one in six couples now struggling to conceive, many couples are now asking what they can do to optimise their fertility", said fertility dietitian Melanie McGrice at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne.

The study has been conducted on 5,600 women aged between 18 and 43 from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. Researchers determined women who ate the least amount of fruit increased their risk of infertility from 8% to 12% and women who ate fast food four or more times a week increased their risk from 8% to 16%.

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In assessing the link between diet and time to get pregnant, the researchers took account of other potential confounding factors, including ethnicity, body mass index, smoking, socioeconomic status and past reproductive history, including any miscarriages.

Lead author Professor Claire Roberts, of the University of Adelaide, said the results showed how "a good quality diet that includes fruit and minimises fast-food improves fertility and reduces the time it takes to get pregnant". 8 percent were deemed infertile - defined by the authors as taking more than a year to conceive.

A total of 5,598 women participated in the study.

The team continue to pursue this area of interest, and intend to establish specific patterns in diets that can be linked to conception times, as opposed to separate food groups. So, overall fast food consumption might have been underreported, researchers said.

Observational studies like this can't prove cause and effect - many personal, health and lifestyle factors may influence a woman's chances of getting pregnant. Similarly, "fast food" is a very broad category and could have meant different things to different women.

It is interesting to note this does not just seem to be a matter of a generally healthy diet.

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