Tips for Successful IVF
You’ve decided to do IVF and everything’s ready to go. But how do you give yourself the best chances of success? Read on to learn our favorite tips for successful IVF.
1. Follow your doctor’s orders on activity levels and medications
Organize your medications and set a schedule for when to take them. Some people prefer to take their prenatal vitamin before breakfast, others find that makes them nauseous so they take it with a meal. Many fertility medications come in several forms: pill, patch, suppository, or injectable. It’s important that you know what you are supposed to take and when. Create a personalized IVF calendar with all the dates and times organized! Be sure to ask your reproductive endocrinologist if you should take your medication at a certain time of day, and what to do if you forget a dose.
Your fertility doctor may recommend a particular activity level for you, but in general, most fertility clinics want patients doing moderate exercise 3-4 times per week up to the embryo transfer. That includes walking, swimming, yoga, and tai chi. Some research indicates that you should keep your exercise to less than 4 hours per week.
Different fertility clinics have different recommendations for the day of your embryo transfer. Many fertility clinics recommend taking at least one or two days off and doing nothing but relaxing after the transfer – mostly horizontally. Other clinics suggest going about your regular activities but taking it easy. After that, keeping it to only mild forms of activity, like walking, is best, according to your doctor’s advice.
2. Keep relatively consistent blood sugar levels
Spikes and dips in blood sugar are not good for fertility or pregnancy.
Poorly controlled blood sugar levels are associated with poor egg quality, implantation failure, and lower pregnancy rates. It can also lead to an increased risk of pregnancy complications like preeclampsia and miscarriage we recommend a whole-foods-based diet high in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
3. Reduce stress
Set up your life so your stress levels are low a few months before and during your pregnancy. Whatever stress you still have, try to mitigate it with meditation, gentle exercise, singing at the top of your lungs, talking to a friend, gardening (or just hanging out in your yard), arts and crafts, reading a good book, whatever works for you!
When I say set up your life for low stress, I mean, consider a temporary job change or reduction in hours, consider hiring outside household help for cleaning or childcare for older children, and look into refinancing your home so your monthly payments are less. These are big steps but can take a huge weight off your mind during an inherently stressful time.
4. Choose your obstetrician and schedule early
Set up an appointment with your chosen obstetrician or midwife soon after you find out you’re pregnant. Many pregnancy care clinics are booked pretty full, so call and schedule your first appointment (usually at week 10) early in your pregnancy. You will continue to be under the care of your reproductive endocrinologist through at least week seven when the first ultrasound occurs. Knowing who you will be transferring care to means there won’t be a gap in your care.
We cannot emphasize how important sleep is for health. Not only does it allow the body’s detox pathways to activate, but sleep also helps with mood, focus, blood sugar control, and cardiovascular health. Getting enough sleep can also improve the levels of many of the hormones involved in getting pregnant and carrying a pregnancy, like progesterone, estrogen, LH, and FSH. If you need help with getting good nighttime rest, talk to your reproductive endocrinologist, obstetrician, or midwife about medication or supplements that can help.
In addition to the relaxation effect of acupuncture, it has been shown to improve pregnancy rates in those undergoing IVF embryo transfers. Acupuncture can help improve uterine blood flow, reduce inflammation in the pelvic region, improve hormone levels, and support overall health throughout the IVF and pregnancy process. Acupuncture is also well-known for relieving common pregnancy symptoms like nausea, heartburn, and low back pain.
To learn more about how acupuncture can help you have a successful IVF cycle, email us.