What were you doing 3 months ago? Have a think? If you are currently trying to conceive, you may not have realised it at the time, but whatever you were doing 90 days ago was setting the foundation for your future family. No pressure!
It takes 90 days for an egg to fully mature, so I generally say that is a good (minimum) amount of time to improve egg quality and give yourself + your baby the best chance of life.
But sometimes we don’t have that amount of time. You might be TTC right now or about to go through IVF or another fertility treatment. Don’t stress, it’s fine. I’ve had countless friends find out they’re pregnant right after a big night out and they have beautiful, healthy babies (which is only a teeny bit annoying seeing as how I was doing all the ‘right’ things and still struggling! But that’s their journey and this is mine (or something like that! haha) There are always things we can do to boost our fertility and chances of becoming a mum.
Here are 5 tips that you can use to improve your IVF success…
1. Calm the f*ck down! My goodness going through a fertility treatment is a stressful time. I remember all the injections, doctors’ visits, scans, acupuncture sessions, massage, etc etc. It can feel like a full-time job on top of your full-time job. Then, if you’re lucky, the stress of the embryo transfer and the pressure of the two-week wait. Ahhh, torture! I get heart palpitations just thinking about it and my heart goes out to anyone going through it right now. It’s not easy staying calm, but during this time, it needs to be your number one priority.
Ayurvedic tradition combines medicine + prayer to get results. I think this is a beautiful philosophy that we can take a lot from. So when you’re taking your meds, giving yourself an injection, going for a scan or whatever it is, try to take a moment to be thankful for the opportunity you have, that this modern medical miracle exists to fulfill your dreams of becoming a mum and that you have the resources to access it. #blessed
Meditation, deep belly breathing, and simply catching up with family and friends for a bit of outside distraction are all great ways to stay in the moment and calm those nerves.
2. Keep those tootsies warm. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cold can lead to stagnation and a cold uterus is related to fertility problems. Yang energy fuels the movement required for ovulation and the warmth supports implantation and a healthy endometrium environment for fertilization (the luteal phase of a cycle). So you can see how important it is to support Yang during an IVF cycle.
BEFORE a transfer, warm the abdomen with a heat pack or hot water bottle, then AFTER the transfer keep those tootsies warm. In acupuncture, the feet are on the same meridians as the uterus so warming the feet can improve blood flow to the womb and reproductive organs. After a transfer, avoid warming the abdomen with heat packs or hot baths etc.
Choose foods that are warming like porridge, soups and stews, and avoid too many raw fruits and vegetables, especially first thing in the morning. Sip on teas with warming spices like cinnamon and ginger – chai + golden lattes are your new besties!
3. Sleep like Goldilocks. Not too little, not too much, just the right amount. It has been shown that less than 6 hours a night, or more than 9, can be detrimental to the outcome of an IVF cycle. So try and get 7 – 8 hours a night.
4. Embrace your inner yogi. Exercise is so important for the body, mind and soul. Fact. I don’t really notice a big difference in my physical appearance whether I am exercising a lot or not, but I see a huge difference in my mental state. I’m always a bit flat and grumpy if I’ve been housebound or inactive. However, too much exercise is a form of stress on the body and it can negatively impact your fertility. In fact, one study of women going through IVF showed those who exercised for more than 4 hours a week for 1-9 years were 40% less likely to have a live birth, and twice as likely to have implantation failure or pregnancy loss. This is the time to really slow things down and exercise with your goals in mind. And you goal is to hold a baby in your arms (not necessarily in your perfectly toned arms!). Keep the exercise light to some easy weights, walking and these great yoga poses. The Preconception Program includes yoga, Pilates and strength circuit training – all designed to support your goals.
5. What should you eat to support your IVF cycle?
Diet changes should really be implemented 3 months before an IVF cycle, however there are still some things you can do to get the most out of your cycle – plus eating better will positively influence your moods and ability to cope.
Firstly, hydration is King! Just as soil needs water to flourish, so do we. This is especially key when trying to grow human life! We need the lubrication to help transport hormones around the body and to develop juicy, ripe, mature follicles.
Protein and fat are your next most important, so make sure you ramp it up when your TTC. Think salmon, chicken, avocado and olive oil.
According to Dr Amanda Waaldyke, you should consume bone broth daily after ovulation because the essential fatty acids can support implantation. So after a transfer, try adding in a good quality bone broth like this one.
You want to include complex carbs like sweet potato, brown rice and quinoa (if you tolerate it) and nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds and flaxmeal. The fat and zinc in these will help support your follicles.
Anecdotally, pineapple can aid implantation. It’s probably BS but heck, we might as well tick this box too hey?! haha
Good luck gorgeous! Let me know if there is any way I can support you through this time.
P.S. Please share this with anyone you know going through IVF right now.