- 9. 9. 2019
- Reproductive health
YES'S AND NO’S OF IVF JOURNEY
It is quite challenging to keep up with all information about what women must do (and not do) to up their chances of successful IVF. It is clear IVF journey requires in its basis investment of time, money and energy and both partners are deeply involved in preparation and success. So lets bring up some points for couples starting IVF journey to get them be better prepared.
TRY TO FOCUS ON YOUR GOOD HEALTH HABITS for at least 3 months. A success of pregnancy starts long before conception.
Do you know how long does it take for spermatogenesis (the process of generating mature, functional sperm) to occur? For about 3 months. So if you’ve planed with your partner to work on weight loss or make some lifestyle changes, you’ve got 3-4 months before those positive changes impact sperm quality to full effect. It is good to start early and stick to it through the IVF cycle.
However important sperm health is, women’s prenatal health is even more important. If planning to use prenatal vitamins it is advised at least 3 months before trying to conceive. Because baby’s vital organs develop first and every system and nutrient will come from women. Carrying a baby will, quite literally, take a lot out of you.
Here comes quite challenging one - MANAGING YOUR STRESS. Stress is more than feeling. It is actually a physiological response. It impacts health and the longer you’re stressed, the bigger the impact. So, lets pay attention to some stress relief techniques.
Few ideas to relax:
- Drawing, painting, coloring
- Meditation, breathwork, yoga
- Writing, blog writing
- Cooking, baking
- Taking pictures
Creative activities are great way to relax because they get your mind off your stress. Your brain works in the background to process and find solutions, while you have fun. When it’s over, your mood is up and there are results to show for it.
EAT WELL. EXERCISE MODERATELY. Yeah, challenging one as well, specially when being stressed. But it is good to try few hours of light aerobic activity per week. And eating well is hard to define, but there are obvious principles to keep: avoid alcohol and smoking, eat nutrient dense food (including lots of plants, nuts, seeds, fish, eggs and avocado), and any other foods dense in essential nutrients and high in good fats. Lay off the sugar and inflammatory foods.
SLEEP 7+ HOURS PER NIGHT. While optimizing diet and exercise and having stress under control, a good night’s sleep may just happen on its own. By “good” it is meant at least 7 hours. Many of us are chronically underslept. No matter how many years you’ve told yourself you don’t need more sleep, you do. Especially now. Not only do you need to be in good physical condition, but the emotional journey of IVF takes a toll on a couple. You’ll need your rest. And once IVF is successful, you’ll both be busy growing life and preparing for the addition to your family. This will make you very tired.
Healthy sleeping routines:
- Establish a simple bedtime routine to make getting to bed quick, easy and enjoyable
- Get a white noise app to help you fall asleep
- If possible blackout curtains are helping
GATHER FRIENDS AND FAMILY. IVF is an emotional ride. It is challenging, thrilling, exciting, uncertain. And when things get hard, you need your closest. Having people you can turn to for comfort and support is really important. Even you might think it is not.
DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL. Alcohol can have a significant impact on pregnancy. Study shows that for men and women who drink more than four drinks per week, odds of failed fertilization are nearly 50% higher. Men who drink beer each day lower their likelihood of successful implantation, as do women who drink white wine (by 22%). Women who drink also experience lower estrogen levels and have significantly fewer eggs.
DON’T RELY ON CAFFEINE. There’s evidence to suggest that caffeine leads to higher likelihood of failed IVF. Given that stress and fatigue typically lead to higher caffeine intake, we encourage stress management and more sleep over more caffeine. Yes, it’s hard to give up your daily coffee. One small cup every now and then is ok, but modifying sleep habits, diet and exercise may give you a natural boost in energy and mood.
DON’T EXERCISE FOR WEIGHT LOSS. This suggestion is specifically for women. Your weight loss goals may be inspired by better health. Process of weight loss should start way before starting IVF. Pregnancy is an endurance race. As mentioned above, you’re going to need all the extra energy and nutrients that you can get. Best not to do it on a caloric deficit. Similarly, exercise stresses the body. Stress-induced by light and moderate exercise can be beneficial. However, starting a new exercise regimen, especially an intense one (as is typically the case with weight loss) can get in the way of conception.
START PREPARING FOR IVF NOW.
And if you’ve already begun your rounds, start applying some of those mentioned above you like to your life today. From preconception through pregnancy, these tips will help you be healthy, more likely to conceive, and have a healthy baby.