A diagnosis of infertility can easily make you feel powerless. As your body is manipulated and probed, through tests and treatment, your focus becomes the end result; a healthy and successful pregnancy. The power is suddenly, seemingly, in the hands of advanced reproductive science.
The truth is, even though fertility treatment is dependent, partially, on advanced reproductive technologies, you and your body, your partner and his body, are the most significant factors in your quest to become parents, or grow your family. To that end, you are empowered. And there are several things you can do to promote healthy IVF treatment, even after a diagnosis of infertility.
9 Things to Start Doing Now
So you and your partner, along with your physician, have decided to pursue IVF. Before you begin the actual treatment there are some things you can do to make the journey to pregnancy a bit easier-and improve your odds of success. Here are nine tried and true things you need to start doing now:
Get to a Healthy Weight
Being obese (a BMI of over 30) is as detrimental to your health as being underweight (BMI under 19). Moreover, both conditions wreak havoc on your ability to conceive, including via IVF. Being overweight can make it difficult for your fertility team to monitor your ovaries during IVF and aspirate your eggs, and a woman who is underweight may have difficulties maintaining proper hormone levels to produce mature, healthy, and viable eggs.
If you are in either category begin revamping your nutrition. Follow a diet and exercise program that you can stick to. Keep your eyes on the goal of having a healthy baby. Remember that healthy baby begins with a healthy you!
Fitness is Essential
Your general health affects your IVF outcome, there is no doubt. Get plenty of heart-healthy exercise now. The American Heart Association encourages a minimum of 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Pursue any activity that boosts your heart rate. You’ll lower your blood pressure, combat diabetes, and gain a whole bunch of other health benefits, including improving your odds for IVF success.
Cut Back on The Caffeine
Monitor your daily caffeine intake. Recent research points to an excess of caffeine disrupting your ability to conceive via IVF by as much as 50%. The studies recommend women consume less than three cups per day of coffee, or the equivalent of caffeine from other sources.
Age Does Play a Role
Cher’s lament “If I Could Turn Back Time” rings very true for those women considering IVF. Age is one of the most influential aspects of IVF success. For women over 35 successful IVF outcomes being to drop, and drop most significantly after the age of 40. Don’t wait too long to begin treatment. If you are concerned about your age, discuss options, such as donor eggs, with your physician.
Take Steps to Reduce Stress
These days stress, and ways to deal with it, flood our popular culture. It can seem overwhelming to try to keep stress at bay on a normal day, but when you’re dealing with the stress that comes with infertility and IVF treatment, it can feel like stress is just a part of your life.
Not only does stress interfere with conception and IVF success, it also takes a toll on your overall health. That’s why dealing with this type of stress is crucial. Enhance your regular stress-busting practices (yoga, massage, meditation, prayer, daily walks, journaling, etc.) with acupuncture, structured mind-body retreats, resilience-training, and traditional therapy. You’ll learn lifelong ways to deal with the inevitable stresses, and improve your odds for IVF success.
Smoking tobacco, or anything else, has a negative impact on the quality of eggs and sperm. Both you and your partner, if you smoke, need to stop now. For information on stopping smoking speak with your fertility team.
Boost Sperm Health
Help your partner get his swimmers in shape for IVF. Follow the recommendations above for nutrition and fitness, and consider a male fertility supplement (Fertile Vitamin for Men) to enhance overall health, as well as sperm production. Switch to boxers over briefs, and maintain your optimal BMI.
Multivitamins are often recommended when you’re trying to become pregnant, but there are certain supplements that should be included in addition to the standard mix. DHEA and CoQ10 are believed to have an impact on egg quality. As always, however, check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Speaking of Supplements
Ensure you are getting enough vitamin D. Ask your doctor to check your levels of D and make sure you aren’t deficient. There is data that supports having enough vitamin D helps your body respond positively to IVF treatment.
Patience and Persistence Pay Off
IVF is a journey. Sometimes that journey takes a while to get to the goal of a healthy pregnancy. As difficult as it can be, try to remain patient and stay the course. It isn’t unusual to undergo a few treatments before a viable pregnancy occurs. Understanding this ahead of time helps prepare you for the possible long road ahead. Trust in the journey.