As you begin your journey pursuing IVF treatment, you’ll be facing new challenges and changes that can be a lot to take in. When preparing, it is important to ensure your body is well equipped and healthy for what’s next. To make the process a smoother one for both you and your partner, including a few wellness routines to your day can help alleviate some of the stress and make you more comfortable and strong! We have 8 wellness tips for you to better prep your body, and mind, for this new chapter in your life.
#1 – Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is critical during this time. Having a balanced sleep cycle helps our hormones be regulated as well as repairing damaged cells in our body.
To help fall asleep in a peaceful and lasting way, we suggest
- Going to bed between 9PM and midnight. This is when your melatonin levels (the hormone that helps you fall asleep) peak.
- Keeping your room between 60-67ºF, with a warm cozy blanket of course. Breathing in cool air can help relax you and slow your body down.
- Avoid caffeine well before bedtime. Try to stop drinking any coffee or caffeinated drinks/foods at least 4-6 hours before you plan on sleeping.
- Moreover, try to stop eating at least two hours before you go to bed. Eating before bed will cause your body to start digesting, making it active and awake right when you are trying to tell it to slow down and sleep.
- Turn your screens off at least 30 minutes to an hour before bed. Not looking at your phone, a TV, or a computer will help tell your mind that it’s time to start relaxing. Instead, read a book, listen to some music, do some soft stretches, or even meditate a bit. Taking a warm bath or long shower can also help slow your mind down and prepare you for a cozy rest.
#2 Meditate and Relax
You’re facing a lot in your life during this time. Women who undergo IVF often experience high levels of stress just from the anticipation alone about everything to come. Factor in having to still balance your life while going through this process, and it’s no surprise that you may be feeling more than a little frazzled. High stress levels can negatively impact your chances for a successful IVF procedure, and studies have shown that the more stress a woman feels before undergoing treatment, the less likely her chances of getting pregnant are.
Relaxation exercises, group therapy, and meditation all help release stress and allow you to find your center again. These de-stressing methods have been shown to increase the chance that women who are going through fertility treatments will become pregnant.
Reproductive Health and Wellness Center hosts group therapy sessions, as well as one on one counseling to help coach you through this time. Talking to someone about your worries and having a strong support system is not only critical for your mental health, but can also make a difference in the health of your body as it prepares for pregnancy.
#3 Include Healthy, Beneficial Things in Your Diet
Recently, new research has linked improved success rates of IVF procedures to a Mediterranean diet in women with a healthy BMI who are under 35. Although the study is small and more research is still being done, maintaining a healthy diet in the few weeks that lead to your IVF cycle won’t hurt.
Some tips for a Mediterranean meal plan are
- Eating lots of veggies and fresh fruits
- Replacing fatty meat with leaner proteins, like fish and poultry.
- Including more whole grains, like quinoa, and whole-grain pasta and bread.
- Getting extra protein from legumes, like beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
- Switching to healthier fats found in avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, or seeds.
- Avoid red meat, sugar, refined grains, and other highly processed foods.
- Instead of eating lots of salt, use creative herbs or spices for flavoring.
For non-obese patients, there are also fertility benefits when high fat dairy products are included in your diet. Having a glass of full-fat milk, or a yogurt cup, each day may help decrease the risk of anovulatory infertility.
To best prepare your body, you can start taking a prenatal vitamin to increase your folic acid a few months before your IVF cycle starts. Folic acid is important for a pregnancy, as it protects a developing fetus from brain and spinal birth defects. Prenatal vitamins have even been shown to help boost sperm health in certain cases. Fish oil and Vitamin D (for those who have low levels) have also been shown to have beneficial effects on IVF procedure.
If you are taking supplements, just make sure to review them with your doctor before including them in your routine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not enforce regulations on supplements for quality and purity like they do for other drugs, and it is important you make sure you are taking the right supplement before putting them in your body. Make sure to run any dietary changes by your doctor as well
Reproductive Health and Wellness Center has on site nutritionists to help you find your perfect healthy balance of good food. It can be hard to figure out just the right diet to boost your IVF treatment, so we help prepare your body to be strong and ready for this new journey!
#4 Acupuncture Treatments for Pain, Stress, and Harmony
Even if you’re meditating, attending counseling sessions, and going to yoga, sometimes stress just refuses to go away. Facing fertility issues is incredibly difficult, and the stress that comes along with it can affect your overall mental (and therefore physical) health. Chronic stress will affect sleep habits, causing anxiety and even depression, which has been shown to decrease the rates of IVF success.
Acupuncture treatment can lower stress levels and even increase conception rates among infertility patients.
During acupuncture, tiny needles are placed on the skin and send messages along neural pathways to the brain. In response to these messages, the brain will begin to release chemicals like calming neurotransmitters and pain-relieving endorphins. It can reduce pain, anxiety, and even calm inflamed areas, helping get you back to a harmonious state and yourself of harmful feelings of stress.
Acupuncture can also help relax the uterus, slowing down contractions and increasing blood flow to heighten the chances that an embryo will successfully implant.
At Reproductive Health and Wellness Center, we have specialized and renowned acupuncturists to help you de-stress and get your body on the right track for treatment.
#5 Drink Lots of Water
Staying hydrated is an important part of preparing your body for what is to come. Drinking plenty of water will help your circulation, energy levels, and overall health. Health officials suggest that drinking eight 8-ounce glasses throughout the day is a healthy and balanced amount when consumed with a normal diet and level of exercise.
#6 Lighten Your Exercise Routine
Exercising is a wonderful and healthy practice for your body. And today, more and more people are dedicating themselves to the gym and trying to stay as fit as possible. But exercising too much has actually been shown to reduce fertility and have a negative impact on IVF treatments.
Instead of pushing yourself to the limit, find a healthier balance while trying to get pregnant to give your body the time it needs to prepare itself. For women going through IVF, it is important to limit running to under 15 miles a week, as running too much can pull blood away from the uterus and bring it to other muscles and organs. This negatively impacts the thickness of the uterine lining during a time when the reproductive system needs some TLC the most.
If you enjoy running, you can still get your cardio in, just for the time being switch to either light jogging, hiking, the elliptical, or spinning to balance your body.
Most importantly, give yourself the care you personally deserve. You’re going through a huge transition, and as exciting, hopeful, and a little scary as it is, it’s important to remember that your own needs are still very important during this time.
Give yourself the time to do some of the things you love, whether that’s going to a movie, stocking up on your favorite treats, getting a massage, taking a vacation day, going on a special date with your partner, or whatever it is you love to do!
Making sure you get the time you need to still be you and take care of your inner self is still an important priority. With everything you’re working toward, cut yourself some slack, give yourself some love, and treat yo-self! You deserve it.
Reproductive Health and Wellness Center
We offer not only innovative IVF and infertility treatments , but we combine them with fertility wellness whole body care like acupuncture and fertility diet nutrition. For more information or for a consultation with a fertility specialist call (949)-516-0606.