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The Impact of Inflammation on Fertility and Pregnancy Outcomes

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Inflammation is a complex biological response triggered by the immune system in response to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. While acute inflammation is a crucial defense mechanism, chronic inflammation can have negative effects on health and even your fertility. Persistent inflammation is linked to various health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders, which can indirectly impact fertility by compromising overall health. Managing inflammation through lifestyle changes, diet, and supplementation is essential for maintaining both overall health and reproductive wellness.

The Impact of Inflammation on Fertility and Pregnancy Outcomes 

Inflammation is a key driver behind many reproductive health issues facing women today. Chronic, low-grade inflammation can disrupt normal hormonal signaling, interfere with ovulation and implantation, and create an inhospitable environment for a growing fetus. Fortunately, anti-inflammatory diets and lifestyle changes may help restore balance. Here's what every woman should know.

How Inflammation Interferes with Fertility 

Inflammation is a normal immune response, but when it becomes chronic it can wreak havoc in the female reproductive system. A few key conditions driven by inflammation are:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This hormonal disorder prevents proper ovulation and is associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and elevated androgens. Studies show women with PCOS have higher levels of inflammatory markers like CRP. Inflammation likely contributes to ovarian cysts and imbalances in sex hormones.
  • Endometriosis: When uterine tissue grows outside the uterus, it triggers inflammation as the body tries to remove the out-of-place cells. This can lead to scar tissue and adhesions that impair fertility. 
  • Inflammation also plays a role in premature ovarian decline and poor egg/embryo quality as women age. The impact of "inflammaging" on fertility declines has become a growing area of research. 

How Inflammation Affects Pregnancy  

Inflammation can impact pregnancy in various ways. Chronic inflammation, particularly in the reproductive organs or throughout the body, can disrupt the delicate balance necessary for conception and a healthy pregnancy. Here's how inflammation affects different aspects of pregnancy:

  • Increase the risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia
  • Cause preterm labor and low birth weight  
  • Impact fetal development and risk of future chronic disease

In fact, high-inflammation diets during pregnancy have been linked to 3x higher risk of premature birth compared to low-inflammation diets.

Anti-Inflammatory Diets to the Rescue

The Mediterranean diet is consistently ranked as one of the best anti-inflammatory diets- and the diet that science points to as the best for fertility health. It is rich in nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats, and has been associated with numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. 

Top foods in the Mediterranean diet include olive oil, fish, vegetables (especially leafy greens), fruits (such as berries and citrus fruits), whole grains (like quinoa and barley), legumes (such as lentils and chickpeas), nuts (like almonds and walnuts), and herbs and spices (such as garlic, basil, and oregano). Another key to reducing inflammation in the diet is limiting processed foods and foods that dysregulate your blood sugar.

Studies show women with high adherence to this diet have up to 56% lower risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Other Tips to Reduce Inflammation

Along with a high-quality diet, women should:

- Exercise regularly 

- Manage stress through yoga, meditation, etc.

- Optimize vitamin D levels 

- Consider anti-inflammatory supplements (omega-3s, WeNatal)

- Avoid smoking and excess alcohol 

Why Omega Supplementation is Key

Studies show that 80% of women in the United States who are of childbearing age have insufficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids. But even with a thoughtfully planned diet, getting enough omega-3s is hard to get through food alone- so supplementation is key! 

Since mothers serve as the primary source of EPA and DHA, it becomes crucial to ensure an adequate intake of these nutrients both before, during, and after pregnancy! EPA and DHA play pivotal roles in promoting healthy pregnancy, aiding in fetal and newborn development, and providing vital mood and immune support for mothers during the postpartum period. Not to mention the benefits stretch far beyond just fertility health.

Research has found that women who took an omega-3 supplement were almost two times more likely to get pregnant on their own versus the women who didn’t. Omega-3 DHA has also been shown to increase progesterone, encourage ovulation, and improve egg quality. 

With more women wanting to have children later in life, a number of studies have shown that omega-3s impact age-related fertility issues and can protect against the age-related decline in female fertility, improved FSH levels and support healthy egg quality.

Omegas for Fertility Health 

Several studies have shown that omega-3s are essential for overall female health and that supplementing omega-3s may help support healthy egg quality, delay ovarian aging, and improve pregnancy rates.

Omegas for Pregnancy Health 

Studies show that getting enough omega-3s reduces the risk of early preterm delivery, one of the leading causes of infant mortality. 

Omegas for Baby’s Health

Omega-3s improve baby’s eye and brain growth and early development. Taking in enough omega-3s can lower a baby’s chances of getting asthma and other allergic conditions. They also may lower risk of preterm labor. 

WeNatal Omega DHA+ Difference 

Unfortunately, most fish oil supplements on the market do not contain DPA or the ideal omega-3 ratio. Even worse, 10% of fish oil supplements on the market are rancid and 20% have been oxidized – which can cause more harm than good. WeNatal takes extra measures to ensure no oxidation has occurred and is third-party tested for purity and safety. 

During pregnancy, the dietary goal for omega-3 fatty acids is 650 mg, of which 300mg is DHA. WeNatal Omega DHA+ contains 830 mg of total omegas and 600 mg of DHA!


PS Omega-3s can also help improve sperm quality, including sperm count, motility, and morphology. Research has found that men who had higher levels of omega-3s in their sperm had better sperm quality, including higher sperm count and motility and had higher total semen volume and higher levels of testosterone, all of which play an important role in male fertility and increasing chances of pregnancy!! 

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Ronit Menashe & Vida Delrahim

Best friends since meeting at Nike over 15 years ago. Pregnancy loss, just a week apart changed their career trajectories. As they dug into the research they realized that there was a major need in the fertility and pregnancy industry - a good quality prenatal for BOTH women AND men.

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