What Can I do While Waiting for my IVF?
Are you anxiously waiting for your IVF treatments? In between IVF treatments? Looking for ways to further support fertility health? We’ve got you covered! The Fertilitate team understands the struggle, and we’re here to support you every step of the way!
Clean up your diet
We know this may sound cliché, but we truly are what we eat. Our diet directly affects our fertility and hormone health. Processed and refined foods are known to have several unwanted effects on our health, including inflammation, high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, oxidative stress, hormonal imbalance, and more. To mitigate the harmful effects of processed and refined foods, we recommend swapping out the bad for the good. Making sure you are on a high quality prenatal is essential as well.
Balance blood sugar levels
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) can wreak havoc on fertility health. Why is that? Insulin is an important hormone that shunts blood sugar (or glucose) out of the blood and into the muscles and tissues. A diet high in processed foods and refined sugars results in high levels of insulin for a prolonged period of time. In the ovarian cells, insulin can increase the production of androgens (testosterone), affecting egg growth and differentiation, ovulation, and throws off the tightly regulated hormone signaling pathways in the female reproductive system.
It is no surprise that regular physical activity boosts fertility health - it does this through several different mechanisms such as regulating blood sugar levels, ensuring healthy energy balance, and supporting healthy weight. The trick is that moderation is key. Excessive exercise has been associated with decreased fertility and hormonal imbalance.
While we can’t exactly rid ourselves of life stressors, we can manage the way we respond to stress. When we are stressed, our bodies enter what’s called fight-or-flight mode, involving activation of the sympathetic nervous system, and turning on “survival mode”. This becomes problematic for fertility health when we are in this state for prolonged periods of time. The body’s only task during this state is to survive - and it does this by shunting blood away from several organ systems not necessary for survival, including the reproductive system.
Melatonin, or the sleep hormone is an important hormone for fertility health. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that is protective against free radicals and oxidative stress in the ovarian cells, while also involved in regulating hormone signaling pathways associated with fertility health, and IVF outcomes. The current literature suggests that obtaining 7-8 hours of sleep while undergoing IVF increases chances of success.
Here’s our doctor approved guide for success during, or between IVF treatments
Consume fresh fruits (specifically berries), vegetables, and nuts for their antioxidant content, beneficial against free radicals and oxidative stress that can cause damage to cells, including egg cells.
Consume avocados, egg yolks, nuts (almonds, walnuts), seeds (pumpkin seeds, chia seeds), coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout as they are full of healthy fats, important for hormone health and blood sugar regulation
Aim for 20-30g of protein with each meal (at least 60 of protein/day) to support hormone health, blood sugar regulation, and cellular metabolism
Move your body regularly - aim for 30 minutes of low-moderate intensity exercise daily.
Regularly engage in activities or hobbies that help to relieve stress, i.e. meditation, box-breathing, yoga, self-care, etc.
Aim for 8 hours of restful and restorative sleep each night
- Take a high quality prenatal
- Join a support group, it is nice to meet others in the same situation and know you are not alone. Check out resolve.org for links to a support group near you.
Would you like to know more about what you can do? Download the Fertilitae App and get your personalized Fertility Wellness Plan.