Women who are hoping to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) may significantly improve their chances of success by following a .
That's according to scientists at the University of Athens, who found that women following this style of eating in the six months before beginning fertility treatment had a much higher chance of and giving birth successfully than those who did not.
In the study, which was published today in the journal Human Reproduction, scientists asked 244 women about their diets before they went through IVF.
And, lo and behold, those who most closely followed the – which is characterized by lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, fish and , as well as a reduced amount of red meat – had a 65-68 percent greater chance of having a successful pregnancy and birth than those participants with the lowest adherence to this style of eating.
'The important message from our study is that women attempting fertility should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, because greater adherence to this healthy dietary pattern may help increase the chances of successful pregnancy and delivering a live baby,' said study leader Professor Nikos Yiannakouris .
In fact, the team believe that both partners should consider following the while attempting to conceive through IVF.
'It should be noted that when it comes to conceiving a baby, diet and lifestyle are just as important for men as for women,' he continued.
'Previous work from our research group among the male partners of our study has suggested that adherence to the Mediterranean diet may also help improve semen quality.
'Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of dietary influences and diet quality on fertility, and support a favourable role for the Mediterranean diet on assisted reproduction performance.'