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What you eat does matter

Doctor: 'If you have an unhealthy gut, you have unhealthy fertility'

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ORLANDO, Fla. – 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. 34-year-old Sarah Hayes and her doctor think her drastic diet changes resulted in a new addition to her family.

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

"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," she said.

But Hayes' new doctor told her that her diet was what may be causing her miscarriages.

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

So Hayes 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," 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, Hayes is convinced her big dietary shift is a key reason baby Lucy joined the Hayes family.

Researchers 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, found a woman's fertility does improve by making simple changes in what she eats.  The changes include eating a well-balanced diet and cutting down simple carbs found in snacks and fast foods.