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A green diet that includes fish and eggs lowers the risk of a miscarriage

A green diet that includes fish and eggs lowers the risk of a miscarriageAround one in six pregnancies results in spontaneous abortion. Although there can be different reasons for this, scientists have found that eating a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, fish, shellfish, eggs, and grains can lower the risk by over 50 percent. This was shown in a meta-analysis from the University of Birmingham in England. Earlier research shows that selenium, a trace element that many people are deficient in, plays a particularly important role.

The University of Birmingham scientists analyzed 20 studies that looked at 63,838 women’s dietary habits prior to and three months into their pregnancies. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to see if the studies could link diet to the risk of miscarriage.
The different studies were based on diet questionnaires and showed that healthy diets could significantly lower the risk of a miscarriage, with certain types of food having a better effect than others:

  • A lot of fruit 61 percent
  • A lot of vegetables 41 percent.
  • Dairy products 37 percent
  • Grain 33 percent
  • Fish, shellfish, and eggs 19 percent

According to the scientists, these foods are part of a healthy and balanced diet and provide important nutrients that are needed for normal fetal development. The researchers also looked at specific diets such as the Mediterranean diet to see if it could lower the risk of miscarriage, but there was no evidence of that. They did find, however, that eating a healthy coarse diet with greens and plenty of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods such as oily fish can lower the risk of miscarriage, whereas consuming a very refined diet can double the risk of having a miscarriage.

Spontaneous abortions are common and diet plays a vital role

According to Dr. Yealin Chung who headed the study, one in six pregnancies is estimated to result in a miscarriage. There can be a number of reasons for this including the child’s chromosomes and pelvic infections. Still, in around half the cases, there is no explanation to why the abortions happen, and many couples end up asking for professional help in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. Besides eating a healthy diet, things like giving up smoking and alcohol can help a lot if you plan to become pregnant or are pregnant, already. Also, healthy eating gives both parents more energy so they are better able to look after the baby.

Specific nutrients for pregnancy

Dr. Yealin Chung says that many people have a desire to be as healthy as possible during the pregnancy. They choose healthy foods, they exercise, and they try to reduce their stress level. Also, they take the recommended supplements such as vitamin D and folic acid for preventing neural tube defects. Still, more studies are needed in this area. The new study is published in Fertility and Sterility and in the future, the team of scientists wants to look at specific foods and their impact on pregnancy.
Earlier research has focused on selenium because this trace element supports different selenoproteins that are important for the thyroid function, reproductive organs, and fetal development. Selenium also serves as a powerful antioxidant that protects the pregnant woman and her unborn child against oxidative stress. Lack of selenium may cause thyroid disorders and an increased risk of impaired fertility, miscarriage, low birth weight, and still births. Europeans often lack selenium because there is very little selenium in the agricultural soil in Europe. Also, dietary habits have changed and people eat less offal and fish, which are otherwise good selenium sources. Pregnancy supplements are available on the market that contain vitamin D, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, and the other relevant nutrients.


Yealin Chung et al. The association between dietary patterns and risk of miscarriage: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Fertility and Sterility. 2023

University of Birmingham. Diet high in fruit and vegetables linked to lower miscarriage risk. ScienceDaily April 19, 2023

Leonidas H Duntas. Selenium and at-risk pregnancy: challenges and controversies. Thyroid Research. 2020

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