Some of the most common questions we receive from patients going through in vitro fertilization (IVF) are regarding what they can and cannot do during treatment. There’s a lot at stake so it’s understandable that patients want to ensure they’re doing everything within their control to have the best possible outcome.
Here are some general do’s and don’ts to follow to optimize your chances of a successful IVF cycle. (Note: Please speak with your fertility doctor about guidelines you should follow specific to your treatment plan).
Do eat healthy
A Mediterranean-type diet consisting of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (e.g. olive oil), and lean proteins (e.g. fish, beans, nuts), not only helps you feel better but can get your body in an optimal state for pregnancy. A healthy diet also includes:
- Minimizing processed foods and refined carbohydrates
- Eating foods rich in antioxidants
- Keeping caffeine intake to a minimum (less than 200 mg a day)
Now is also a great time to take your prenatal vitamin with DHA, but talk with your doctor about any other supplements you should take before, during and after IVF treatment.
Don’t obsess over the perfect fertility diet
While following the above recommendations is important, try not to stress too much about every little thing you’re eating during this time. There is no perfect fertility diet. If you would like to have an occasional glass of wine or dessert during IVF, it’s okay!
Do practice self-care
Make sure you’re taking time to relax during your IVF cycle. Get out in the sunshine for a walk, go on a date night, meditate, write in a journal, or get a prenatal massage. IVF can be stressful, so it’s important to find some time for yourself.
Don’t use hot tubs or saunas
Heat is a known teratogen, meaning it can cause birth defects and can lead to pregnancy loss. Go ahead and take hot showers, but after an embryo transfer, try to stay away from taking long hot baths or spending time in a hot tub or sauna.
Do gentle exercise
When taking stimulation medications during an IVF cycle, your ovaries enlarge and need to be protected during this time. Taking walks, yoga and leisurely swimming are all exercises that are considered relatively safe during IVF and can encourage stress relief.
Don’t overdo it
Now is not the time to start training for a marathon or joining CrossFit, as these are both strenuous exercise routines that can overly stress the body and divert precious resources from the developing follicles. High impact exercise or any jostling motion can also increase the risk of ovarian torsion (when the enlarged ovary twists on its blood supply), which is a surgical emergency.
Do stay connected with your partner
Make sure you’re continuing to spend time with your partner and maintain open and honest communication. IVF can be challenging on a relationship, and it’s important to stay connected during this time.
Don’t be surprised if sex is off the table for now
Unfortunately, there may be periods when intercourse or other sexual activity is restricted. Besides the risk for ovarian torsion, you’re at an increased risk with twins or multiples since eggs might still be ovulated after an egg retrieval.
Your fertility specialist might recommend you avoid intercourse during a transfer cycle until your pregnancy test. This is because you don’t want anything potentially affecting implantation. It’s always best to err on the side of caution in order to give you the best possible chances of a successful pregnancy.
Make sure you talk with your CCRM Fertility specialist if you have any questions or concerns about your individualized treatment plan. Call us today to make an appointment.