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May 11, 2022
How to prepare for your next round of IVF
While no two IVF journeys are alike, there’s always the possibility of encountering some hurdles. However, just as you would prepare for other life obstacles, planning for IVF might help you cope with the challenges you may experience along the way and increase your chances of success. Here are 6 things you can do to prepare for your next round of IVF…
Your mental health
As you may already know, there’s a chance there may be some ups and downs during your fertility journey. You and your partner will be more equipped to deal with these if you’re in a good mental space before it starts. If you can, let some time pass between rounds. Whether you’ve been successful or not, it’s good to take a step back, breathe and give your mind and body a break. You've gone through this previously, so try to focus on the positive aspects that helped you before.
Try to limit the stress in your lives as best you can. We realise this is easier said than done but is still something you should still aim to do. If you do, this will benefit both you and the outcome of the treatment. Relaxation methods and breathing techniques could be something to look at to help you better deal with any inevitable stress that comes your way.
Regardless of whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not, you know what it feels like when you’ve not had enough sleep. It’s not great! But when it comes to IVF, it’s important to keep your natural hormones as balanced as they can be. Reproductive hormones are regulated by the same area of the brain that governs sleep-wake hormones like melatonin and cortisol. Meaning sleep deprivation can cause a significant imbalance in your hormones which has a chance of affecting your chances of success with IVF.
Whether it’s friends and family or doctors and advisors, make sure you’re supported so that you always have someone to talk to, and neither you nor your partner feels alone. Having a support network is crucial during fertility treatments. Clinics will provide you with counselling so if you didn’t take them up on it last time, we would advise doing it this time. They’re only there to help and answer any questions they can, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Your physical health
There’s actually a lot that you can do with your physical health to prepare for IVF. If you found this difficult last time, try setting small, manageable, daily goals for your health and fitness so that you’re providing your future baby with the best environment possible. Despite whether you carry the egg or the sperm, better health and fitness can be key.
When you're trying to conceive, it's critical for both of you to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Try cutting down on smoking, alcohol, caffeine and other recreational drugs to start with. You can think of it like this, you wouldn’t give your newborn baby cigarettes or alcohol, so try not to give them to yourself.
Certain foods are beneficial for fertility such as sunflower seeds, citrus fruits, and even liver. Did you know a cow’s liver is packed with highly absorbable iron, which helps to prevent both maternal anaemia and miscarriages? It also has vitamin B12, which is needed for the proper formation of red blood cells and DNA. Ask your fertility consultant which foods they would advise and take a look at incorporating them into your new diet.
Weight is also something to be aware of at this stage, as being underweight or overweight might make it more difficult to conceive. Ovulation issues are common in underweight women, and women who are overweight and carry more fat might increase the quantity of oestrogen in their bodies. Abnormally high levels of oestrogen can implicate infertility in both men and women. Obesity also has a negative impact on sperm motility and erectile function in males. So take care of yourselves the same way you would take care of your newborn.
Exercise, when done in a healthy manner, can really aid in the increase of fertility. Exercising for just 30 minutes three to four times a week can not only help you get pregnant but also help reduce your stress levels as well. But it doesn’t have to be intense gym classes, regular brisk walks can be a great way to increase your overall fitness. In fact, being active before and after you are pregnant by practising regular moderate exercise will help you have a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Taking prenatal supplements could greatly increase your chance of becoming pregnant as well and ensure a healthy pregnancy! Most prenatal supplements for women contain large amounts of folic acid, iron and calcium, which according to the NHS, have proven to “prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida.” There are also supplements for men that could help you along your journey as well, such as Vitamins C, E, zinc, folate, and even Coenzyme Q10.
As a whole, there are many things you can do to prepare yourselves for the next round of IVF. But the most important thing is to keep your mind and body in a good place so that when you welcome your new baby into the world it will be surrounded by nothing but peace and goodness.