Diet and lifestyle in the prevention of ovulatory disorder infertility

Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Nov;110(5):1050-8. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000287293.25465.e1.


Objective: To evaluate the relation of a dietary pattern and other lifestyle practices to risk of ovulatory disorder infertility.

Methods: We followed a cohort of 17,544 women without a history of infertility for 8 years as they tried to become pregnant or became pregnant. A dietary score based on factors previously related to lower ovulatory disorder infertility (higher consumption of monounsaturated rather than trans fats, vegetable rather than animal protein sources, low glycemic carbohydrates, high fat dairy, multivitamins, and iron from plants and supplements) and other lifestyle information was prospectively related to the incidence of infertility.

Results: Increasing adherence to a "fertility diet" pattern was associated with a lower risk of ovulatory disorder infertility. The multivariable-adjusted relative risk of ovulatory disorder infertility comparing women in the highest with women in the lowest quintile of the "fertility diet" pattern score was 0.34 (95% confidence interval 0.23-0.48; P for trend<.001). This inverse relation was similar in subgroups defined by women's age, parity, and body weight. A combination of five or more low-risk lifestyle factors, including diet, weight control, and physical activity was associated with a 69% lower risk of ovulatory disorder infertility and an estimated population attributable risk of 66% (95% confidence interval 29-86%).

Conclusion: Following a "fertility diet" pattern may favorably influence fertility in otherwise healthy women. Further, the majority of infertility cases due to ovulation disorders may be preventable through modifications of diet and lifestyle.

Level of evidence: II.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anovulation
  • Body Mass Index
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female*
  • Life Style*
  • Ovulation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk