There are all sorts of diets out that women may want to try for tons of health reasons. But this one specific diet might make it easier to conceive, according to a new study. And as many women know, when you're trying to get pregnant, anything is worth a shot.
Experts who recently presented their research at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's 2017 annual meeting believe that cutting out carbs might be the best way to make your uterus more "receptive to implantation." This doesn't mean you have to skip pasta or toast altogether, but the researchers believe that restricting yourself to one portion of carbs per day is a good way to prep your body for conception.
The recommendation is based on a study done at the Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine (DIRM) in 2013. Then, researchers studied 120 women who were undergoing fertility treatment and found that the women whose carb intake was 40 percent or less of their diet were twice as likely to get pregnant than women who consumed more carbs in a day.
According to the study, a high carb diet hits on two fronts: It can supposedly affect a woman's egg quality and damage sperm. It might be worth asking your doctor about if you're trying to conceive, just to cover all of your bases. (Although giving up pasta altogether seems sort of cruel.)
Jeffrey B. Russell, MD, who led the study at DIRM in Newark said that it's OK to replace those carbs with something else. In fact, it might even help. “Protein is essential for good quality embryos and better egg quality, it turns out,” he wrote in a statement introducing the study five years ago.
Dr. Gillian Lockwood, of the Midland Fertility Clinic in Staffordshire, England, said at the conference that she tells her patients they have to make a choice. "I tell my patients that if they are going to have toast for breakfast, then that is their carbs for the day. They cannot then have a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner," she said. Instead, her patients get to go wild with tons of greens and proteins. At least there are plenty of healthy salad dressings to spice things up, right?
If you're going for balance, there are proteins that you can add that won't force you to change yours or your partner's dinner time routine too much — like substituting in farro or quinoa or a high protein pasta sometimes when you need a fix. Those are still carbs, though, so it's all about weighing what's important to you for each meal.
Although this research is peer-reviewed, when it comes to fertility, your nutrition, and how your nutrition affects your fertility — it's super personal. So talk to your doctor about it and see what he or she recommends. If you want to cut carbs from your diet, they might have some tips about how to do it in a healthy, well-balanced manner. And if they say not to sweat it? At least you can dine on that delicious spaghetti dish with a little peace of mind.