The Ideal IVF Diet
Deciding to move forward with in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be exciting but also comes with many questions. To maximize the chances of a successful transfer and pregnancy, women want to know what foods to eat and which to avoid during fertility treatment. Although most patients do not require a drastic diet overhaul, small changes can help.
Folic acid is essential
A prenatal vitamin is recommended for any woman of reproductive age when pregnancy is possible. Within the prenatal, folic acid is an essential nutrient to check for. Research has shown that higher blood folate levels are associated with a higher live birth rate. This B vitamin has also been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), which are problems with the baby’s spinal cord and brain. Folate can also be obtained from the diet by choosing foods such as dark leafy vegetables and citrus fruits. Building up folic acid stores in the body before conceiving is essential.
Drink your milk
Vitamin D is another crucial nutrient while undergoing fertility treatment. Deficiency of this vitamin is common and associated with a range of adverse health outcomes. Getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D has been shown to improve female fertility and pregnancy outcomes. Focus on sources in the diet, such as fortified milk and orange juice. Many Americans are vitamin D deficient and may require a supplement after receiving lab results.
The Mediterranean approach
Although there is no required diet for women undergoing IVF, research shows that women who consumed a Mediterranean diet were more likely to have a live birth. A Mediterranean diet focuses on plant-based foods and healthy fats. To reap the benefits, consume plenty of vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts, and whole grains. Little to no meat is recommended with the Mediterranean diet. Instead, opt for fish, cheese, and yogurt to get enough protein.
Hold the sugar
Just as important as what to eat during IVF is what not to eat. Avoid overly processed foods and any products containing refined sugar as much as possible. Caffeine should be limited, and alcohol should be avoided altogether. Take caution with foods that increase the risk of listerias, such as raw eggs, unpasteurized milk, and unwashed fruits and vegetables.
Healthy mom, healthy baby
Making healthy choices is always a good idea, especially during IVF when the stakes are high. Focus on getting all the necessary nutrients, including folic acid and vitamin D, through a varied diet or by taking a supplement. Consider a Mediterranean approach for even more fertility benefits. A healthy baby is possible with the right combination of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.