Dietary Fat Intake and Fecundability in 2 Preconception Cohort Studies

Lauren A Wise*, Amelia K Wesselink, Katherine L Tucker, Shilpa Saklani, Ellen M Mikkelsen, Heidi Cueto, Anders H Riis, Ellen Trolle, Craig J McKinnon, Kristen A Hahn, Kenneth J Rothman, Henrik Toft Sørensen, Elizabeth E Hatch

*Corresponding author for this work

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The association between dietary fat and fertility is not well studied. We evaluated intakes of total fat, saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids (TFA), ω-3 fatty acids, and ω-6 fatty acids in relation to fecundability in Danish and North American preconception cohort studies. Women who were attempting to become pregnant completed a validated food frequency questionnaire at baseline. Pregnancy status was updated bimonthly for 12 months or until pregnancy. Fecundability ratios (FR) and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using multivariable proportional probabilities regression. Intakes of total fat and saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and ω-6 fatty acids were not appreciably associated with fecundability. TFA intake was associated with reduced fecundability in North American women (for the fourth quartile vs. the first, FR = 0.86, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.71, 1.04) but not Danish women (for the fourth quartile vs. the first, FR = 1.04, 95% CI: 0.86, 1.25), though intake among Danish women was low. In North America, ω-3 fatty acid intake was associated with higher fecundability, but there was no dose-response relationship (among persons who did not use fish oil supplements: for the fourth quartile vs. the first, FR = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.13, 1.73); no association was found in Danish women, among whom low intake was rare. In the present study, high TFA intake and low ω-3 fatty acid intake were associated with reduced fecundity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)60-74
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • fatty acids
  • fertility
  • internet
  • prospective studies
  • trans fatty acids

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