Taking A Shot At IVF
All patients pursuing in vitro fertilization (IVF) hope for a successful transfer and healthy pregnancy. However, for women under age 35, the live birth rate is only 44.6% when considering all transfers. Older women have even lower chances of success. Certain lifestyle tips, such as healthy eating and decreasing stress, can help with conception.
Preparing for transfer
During IVF, a woman is given medication to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. Once extracted, the eggs are combined with sperm to make an embryo. The embryo is then transferred directly into the uterus. The procedure doesn’t always work, with factors like age and underlying infertility diagnosis playing an important role. However, certain tips can help increase the chance of a successful transfer and subsequent pregnancy.
1. Focus on nutrition
Although most women don’t require a complete diet overhaul, small changes can help. Anyone planning pregnancy should avoid alcohol entirely and limit caffeine intake. Research shows that nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin B12, and omega-3s can positively affect fertility. Women with diets high in unsaturated fats, whole grains, vegetables, and fish have also been shown to have improved fertility.
2. Steer clear of EDCs
Avoiding all chemicals is nearly impossible. However, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are a class that should be given a second look. EDCs can mimic the body’s natural hormones, increase or decrease normal hormone levels, and alter the natural production of hormones. This is not ideal, especially during IVF when precise hormone control is needed. Common EDCs to avoid include bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), and triclosan.
3. Reduce stress and sleep well
Stress and not getting enough sleep can both have adverse effects on health. Women should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night during fertility treatments. Reducing stress is another important self-care practice to focus on. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, and even seeing a therapist are all proven ways to reduce stress.
4. Check medications and supplements
Although many medications are compatible with pregnancy, patients should always double-check with the fertility specialist. Some medicines could interfere with fertility drugs or cause hormonal imbalances, making IVF treatment less effective. Supplements may help with fertility in some cases, but the healthcare provider should always sign off on use during treatment.
Feel in control
Undergoing IVF can be a stressful process for many women. Focusing on small changes within a woman’s control may improve the procedure’s success. Healthy eating, avoiding chemicals, and reducing stress are also important during pregnancy, so getting into the habit now is a good idea. Following doctor-recommended tips during IVF can increase the chances of bringing home a healthy baby at the end of the process.