Preconception diet, fertility, and later health in pregnancy

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Jun;32(3):227-232. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000629.


Purpose of review: Women should enter pregnancy in the best possible health. There is increasing recognition of the importance of nutrition for reproductive health; however, key dietary factors in relation to optimizing fertility are nonexistent. The purpose of this review is to investigate dietary factors, preconception, and the association with fertility and later health in pregnancy.

Recent findings: This article summarizes recent literature assessing preconception dietary intake and the association with fertility, time to pregnancy, and also the relationship with polycystic ovary syndrome and gestational diabetes; these conditions associate with each other, and also with infertility. The impact of paternal diet is also reported.

Summary: There is recent interest investigating diet and time to pregnancy, suggesting higher intakes of fruit, minimal intake of fast food and sugar sweetened beverages, and a diet lower in glycemic load, may improve time to pregnancy. There is minimal recent literature on paternal diet and impact on fertility. Present advice to women with polycystic ovary syndrome is in line with international recommendations for lifestyle management to improve reproductive outcomes; and for gestational diabetes, prepregnancy may be an optimal time to improve dietary intakes, particularly through consumption of an overall healthy dietary pattern or a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Preconception Care / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Time-to-Pregnancy