New research has found that women who follow a “Mediterranean” diet in the six months before assisted reproductive treatment have a significantly better chance of becoming pregnant and giving birth to a live baby than women who did not.
asked women about their diet before they underwent in vitro fertilisation (IVF)
treatment and found that those who ate more fresh vegetables, fruit, whole
grains, legumes, fish and olive oil, and less red meat, had a 65-68 per cent
greater likelihood of achieving a successful pregnancy and birth compared to
women with the lowest adherence to the Mediterranean-style diet.
which is published Tuesday in the journal Human Reproduction, focused on
dietary patterns rather than individual nutrients, foods or food groups. It
assessed the diet of 244 women via a food frequency questionnaire when they
enrolled at an Assisted Conception Unity in Athens, Greece, for their first IVF
questionnaire asked them about how often they ate certain groups of food in the
preceding six months; the results gave the women a MedDiet Score, which ranged
from 0-55 with higher scores indicating greater adherence to the Mediterranean
diet. The women were aged between 22-41 and were non-obese (body mass index of
less than 30 kg/m2).
led by Associate Professor Nikos Yiannakouris at the Department of Nutrition
and Dietetics at Harokopio University of Athens, divided the women into three
groups depending on their MedDiet Score: the first group had scores between 18
to 30, the second scored between 31-35 and the third group scored between 36 to
They found that compared to
the 86 women in the highest scoring group, the 79 women in the lowest scoring
group had significantly lower rates of pregnancies (29 per cent versus 50 per
cent) and live births (26.6 per cent versus 48.8 per cent).