Background & aim: Several studies show the importance of periconceptional maternal dietary patterns on human embryonic growth. Healthy paternal nutrition has been associated with better semen quality and fecundability, however, evidence on the impact on pregnancy outcome is limited. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the association between preconception paternal dietary patterns and first trimester embryonic growth using the parameters longitudinal crown-rump length (CRL) and embryonic volume (EV). Methods: A total of 638 couples were enrolled in the Rotterdam Periconceptional Cohort and received longitudinal three dimensional transvaginal ultrasound scans from 7+0 up to 12+0 weeks of gestation. Virtual reality software was used to perform offline measurements of the embryonic CRL and EV. Food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) were used to estimate habitual food intake in couples. Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed to identify paternal and maternal dietary patterns. Linear mixed models adjusted for potential confounders were applied to analyze associations between paternal and maternal dietary patterns and embryonic growth parameters. Results: The paternal dietary patterns retrieved were identified as “Whole wheat grains and Vegetables” “Sauces and Snacks Refined Grains” “Fish and Legumes” and explained 27.5% of the total variance of the dietary intake. No significant additional effects, independent of maternal dietary patters and other maternal and paternal potential confounders, were shown of these paternal dietary patterns on embryonic growth in spontaneous or IVF/ICSI pregnancies. Conclusion: No significant effects of paternal dietary patterns independent of maternal dietary patters and other parental potential confounders on embryonic growth parameters could be established in spontaneous or IVF/ICSI pregnancies. The biological importance of paternal nutrition on semen quality, however, supports the need of periconceptional tailored nutritional counselling of couples trying to conceive.

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Clinical Nutrition
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Oostingh, E., de Vos, I. (Iris), Ham, A., Brouwer-Brolsma, E., Willemsen, S., Eggink, A., … Steegers-Theunissen, R. (2018). No independent associations between preconception paternal dietary patterns and embryonic growth; the Predict Study. Clinical Nutrition. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2018.10.011