Undergoing IVF can mean making some lifestyle changes to increase your chances of pregnancy and ensure that you’re healthy and comfortable throughout the process. While lowering alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine intake is widely accepted, some recommendations such as exercising less can seem counter-intuitive but is just as important for maximising your success rate.
Eating well for IVF
It’s important to avoid major changes to your diet once you’ve started IVF, particularly once the eggs are implanted. Simply continue with the diet recommendations given prior to your IVF cycle and avoid fish that is high in mercury. It’s also best to avoid eating food that’s more than 12 hours old to ensure that everything you eat is safe and healthy.
It’s essential that you reduce your caffeine intake to 1-2 drinks per day and avoid alcohol from when the ovarian stimulation begins.
You will have discussed all of your personal medications and requirements with your doctor and received advice tailored to your situation and particular health issues. Generally, women are recommended to take folic acid daily to decrease the risk of birth defects. Any other supplements or medication should be discussed with your doctor.
Reducing intense exercise
Running, weightlifting, and extreme forms of exercise are strongly discouraged during IVF. The hormones and process can enlarge your ovaries, meaning that these forms of exercise can be painful. Exercising excessively (more than 4 hours per week, or in high intensity forms) can stress the reproductive system and cause hormonal changes. If you have not been exercising rigorously throughout your life (over 10 years, minimum) it’s extremely important that you refrain from doing so directly before or during IVF as your body will not be acclimatised to the stress.
Yoga, walking, and using elliptical machines are fantastic ways of lowering stress and remaining healthy without hindering your changes of conception.
Excessive heat hurts conception chances
Some women enjoy spa visits as a form of stress relief. While new chemicals and chlorine can be bad for health during this time, it’s also important to avoid extreme heat. Saunas and steamrooms can reduce fertility for both partners, and are best avoided until IVF (and pregnancy) have been completed.