Nutrition and integrative approaches to infertility: improving patient experience and outcomes
This paper explores the psychosocial impacts of female infertility, and the lived experience of women undergoing fertility treatment. The aim is to help inform modern practice, and educate health professionals who work with women who have experienced infertility. The aftermath of a previous experience of infertility and other factors, such as recurrent pregnancy loss and pregnancy-related problems, are considered. The benefits of other, wider integrative approaches to patient-orientated care that better supports women are examined. The evidence supporting a range
of interventions, including counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness, nutritional support, smoking cessation and weight management, is explored. This includes consideration of the impact of coeliac disease, and also specific nutritional strategies to support the management of conditions that affect female fertility, such as endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. The experience of infertility can have profound effects on women’s lives. Integrated strategies to support management offer a route to improved patient-centred care, and improvements in both health and fertility treatment outcomes.
Keywords: assisted reproduction, gluten, infertility, integration, nutrition.