A healthy heart diet could reduce the probability of miscarriage

This dietary pattern is designed to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions.


There is mounting evidence that certain meals and nutrients may help women struggling to conceive. More needs to be understood, though, about how eating habits function. A new study aims to determine whether the results of infertility therapy are influenced by women’s adherence to dietary patterns that have been predetermined and advocated for the prevention of chronic illnesses.

The study by the Food, Nutrition, Development, and Mental Health research group of the Universitat Rovira i Virgili suggests that a heart-healthy diet is associated with a lower risk of pregnancy loss. Scientists investigated the effects of different healthy diets on the gestational health of women undergoing infertility treatments.

The findings imply that adopting the American Heart Association’s (AHA) diet before becoming pregnant reduces the risk of miscarriage by 13-15%. This diet is heavy in fish, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids, and folic acid.

The role that dietary patterns, or how you eat, play in the effectiveness of the main infertility therapies for women needs to be better understood, even though current scientific research suggests that particular foods or nutrients can do so. To better understand this, a nutrition, epidemiology, and environmental health research team set out to determine whether women’s adherence to healthy dietary patterns intended to prevent cardiovascular and chronic diseases is linked to more successful infertility therapy.

Scientists studied 612 women aged 18 to 45 who underwent the main infertility treatments: intrauterine injection and in vitro fertilization. The patients underwent over 1,500 cycles: 804 of the former treatment and 768 of the latter.

Before beginning assisted reproductive treatments, the research team first examined the women’s and their partners’ diets. After that, they looked at how closely the women adhered to each of the eight dietary patterns that were chosen, noting that those who most closely adhered to the pattern advised by the American Heart Association for Cardiovascular Prevention had a 13–15% lower miscarriage rate than those who did not.

Albert Salas-Huetos, lecturer at the URV’s Preventive Medicine Unit and principal researcher at the Biomedical Research Centre (Cyber) of the Carlos III Institute and the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute, said“Among other things, the AHA pattern is characterized by a high consumption of fish, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid. It is a varied diet with no restrictions on any food group. The study has confirmed that regularly ingesting these nutrients and foods is associated with a lower risk of suffering a miscarriage during assisted reproduction cycles, so they are essential for human reproduction.”

“Although no significant associations were found, it was also observed that the trend is very similar in the other healthy dietary patterns studied, with the exception of the plant-based vegetarian diet. In this case, the difference between the heart-healthy diet recommended by the AHA and the vegetarian diet is the absence of foods such as fish and meat that contain vitamin B12 or omega-3.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Albert Salas-Huetos, Makiko Mitsunami et al. Women’s Adherence to Healthy Dietary Patterns and Outcomes of Infertility Treatment. JAMA Netw Open. DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.29982


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