September 15, 1995
Web posted at: 6:00 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Eugenia Halsey
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- New Yorker Terry Connolly tried for 14 years to get pregnant. She and her husband saw infertility specialists and took countless tests that found nothing wrong. Finally, she changed her eating habits and started taking vitamins. Within a year, she received a double blessing -- twins. (68k AIFF sound)
There is still little evidence that nutrition can improve fertility. But Connolly's doctor, Niels Lauersen, is one of a growing number of health experts who think it does make a difference.
"There's a total interaction in the body between the vitamins and nutrition they're getting and they help to interact with the brain and hormones to in turn respond to the ovary, release an egg, and make it more fertile," said Dr. Lauersen.
Dr. Lauersen recommends a low fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains plus lean meat and calcium. He also prescribes vitamins B, C, and E, along with folic acid and zinc.
In addition, he tells his patients to cut out smoking, caffeine and alcohol. A Harvard study of 2,000 women with different types of infertility problems showed these products interfered with getting pregnant.
Researchers say a woman's weight can also affect her ability to conceive. Marlene Goldman of Harvard School of Public Health says being too thin can make a woman stop having her periods. It's not clear why obesity might interfere.
And what men eat might also make a difference. "For a man, too, I talk about how important it is for the husband that he take extra vitamin B, C, and E which is very important for the sperm and sperm count," said Dr. Lauersen.
But some experts say many things can cause infertility and nutrition is no magic bullet. "I would not tell a person to eat more broccoli to get pregnant. I would not tell a person that so and so's home remedy is helpful," said Dr. Dr. Richard Falk of Columbia Hospital for Women.
But regardless of whether good nutrition can help you get pregnant faster, health experts say there's no question it's good for the baby.
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