Healthy Pregnancy: What You Eat Does Matter!

When it comes to getting pregnant, a whole host of factors come into play, and that apparently includes a woman's diet. Some researchers even think a bad diet may lead to miscarriages. One woman and her doctor think her drastic diet changes resulted in a new addition to her family.

After the birth of her son, 34-year-old Sarah Hayes and her husband wanted a second child. Doctors said her two miscarriages were normal, but she knew something just wasn't right.

Hayes told Ivanhoe, "I didn't realize how unhealthy my body was. We had two miscarriages and the OB doctor I was seeing at the time, was not willing to investigate why that might have been happening."

But her new doctor told Sarah her diet was what may be causing her miscarriages.

Jose R. Fernandez, MD, Family Physician at JMJ Family Practice explained, "For fertility purposes, if you have an unhealthy gut, you have unhealthy fertility, you have an unhealthy lifestyle, you have unhealthy other issues."

So Sarah made big changes including eliminating gluten, dairy, grains and refined sugars from her diet.

"When women get pregnant, they feel that they can give into all their urges, to eat poorly. And really it's the most critical time to fuel your body because not only are you feeding you, but you're feeding the baby" Dr. Fernandez said.

Hayes said, "I think the benefit outweighs the sacrifice, it was very frustrating in the beginning, changing your entire way of eating. Paleo includes no grains, no dairy, no soy, no corn. I just know what I feel; I just know that I feel better."

Although scientific proof is lacking, Sarah is convinced her big dietary shift is a key reason baby Lucy joined the Hayes family.

Although we weren't able to find any studies on the exact diet changes Dr. Fernandez recommends, we did find research from the Harvard school of public health where they studied more than 17,000 women for eight years looking for a connection in general between diet and fertility. They found a woman's fertility does improve by making simple changes in what she eats — including eating a well-balanced diet and cutting down simple carbs found in snacks and fast foods.