IVF is a very expensive journey – both emotionally and financially and unfortunately there is no guarantee of success.  We want to help you increase your chances of success and with that in mind we’ve written our top 5 things to help your IVF be a success.

1) Nutrition

Most women when trying for a baby you attempt to do the right things such as stop drinking and cutting out coffee but when you expect to go through IVF there is more at stake and not just for baby. If you have a diet high in inflammatory foods then your body is already fighting. The process of stimulating follicles is hard on your body.  Bloating, headaches, weight gain, pain are all signs that the body is not coping with the drugs. There is also a risk of over-stimulating. The liver is key here. The liver is the organ in the body that helps clear out the drugs.  In our experience, the women that have a clean diet – low in sugar, mono or trans fats and high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains will have a liver better able to cope with the drugs and will suffer with less side effects.

In addition, providing a high nutrient diet in the lead up to IVF floods the body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to mature the egg and build a thick endometrium.

2) Supplements

Yes, we all know about Folic Acid but there is a lot of evidence around the need for Vitamin D, Iron, Probiotics and other micro-nutrients. Today the jury is out whether folic is actually the best for women to take. Folic is a type of Vitamin B 9 which is otherwise known as Folate. Not everyone can synthesise folic acid and therefore it may be better to go with folate. In addition, anti-oxidents, Co q10, Omega 3 as well as other micro-nutrients will boost your blood with nutrients to help mature a good quality egg.

3) Exercise

We are not asking for 7 days down at the gym. Quite the opposite. Our main aim is to have the body move. Movement causes blood to circulate, Iron and nutrients to travel to organs, endometrium and ovaries. It carries the toxins and waste away from your cells. If you have a job and /or a lifestyle that sits down most of the day you need to incorporate movement. This can be walking, swimming, gym, pilates, Zumba, yoga etc. Aim to move every day. Get the blood circulating!  We’ll add that you should avoid taking up high impact or intensive training just before starting an IVF protocol. The body likes regularity. If you start something new it goes a little into shock. It’s OK to start a more rigorous exercise program when you are kick starting a health program and even a few months before starting IVF but not great in the month before IVF.

4) Mindset

This is the mother ship of success. There is nothing more exhausting, depressing and debilitating to the body than watching friends get pregnant, hear good news from others and not have success in your own endeavours.  Month after month and the body reacts by releasing hormones that are in direct opposition to your fertility hormones.  I recently went back to London and chatted to the head of Zita West Fertility Clinic which is where I worked for a while and is considered one of the most successful IVF clinics in the UK and asked ‘what’s new?  how are you getting such great results? ’ and one of the answers was ‘Mindset is still key’. This doesn’t surprise me; the link between body and our emotions is strong and for years I have advocated that getting women laughing after embryo transfer (more on this below) as being one of the keys to successful implantation’. That’s because Endorphines are our feel good and happy hormones and can directly and immediately influence the state of our health as well as long term effects.

So as mindset is so big I’m going to break it down:

  1. In the lead up to IVF a woman needs to start acknowledging the stress, anxiety, depression and look at ways of dealing with it. The options are varied. Perhaps its via gentle exercise such as yoga or tai chi. Fancy laying down for an hour? – Acupuncture is excellent for dealing with stress and has great evidence for anxiety and depression via it’s neurological effects.  If talking is your thing then you may wish to speak to a councillor. Lastly there is the underestimated hypnosis. It doesn’t work for everyone but can help.
  2. The other area here is building resilience to bad news. Reminding yourself that it’s not all great for others and being grateful for what you do have. If this is hard to do then try writing a list. Perhaps you have a great job, or family, or friend, or pet or hopefully partner (more on this later).  The aim here is that building resilience actually will cocoon you and help moderate hormones .
  3. On embryo transfer I always advocate acupuncture as there is evidence around this increasing success rates especially if there has been acupuncture through the protocol. What acupuncture does here is two-fold:  increasing blood flow around the body but aalso helping to decrease stress and anxiety.

The other tip that I give is after embryo transfer, go home, put feet up and watch some stand up comedy on TV. Why? Because there is nothing better than a good belly laugh to get endorphins running through your system. In this day of Netflix, you tube, amazon and Fox. I’m hoping you’ll have someone you like but if you are short on ideas some of my favourites over the years have been Ali Wong, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Iliza Schlesinger to name a few. Being politically correct here is not what you worry about – being entertained to make you laugh is.

5) Making time for your relationship

If you are going it alone here, then ignore this last piece but make sure you have some support through friends and family on your journey. This last tip is for those planning a baby with someone else. IVF puts a lot of strain on both partners and it’s easy to get angry, upset and closed with each other. As you and your partner are looking to start a family – you need to be united. Start how you mean to go on.  Make time for each other, be kind to each other. laugh with each other. Perhaps watch some of those comedies together?

While nothing guarantees success I hope you have found some beneficial advice in this.  At ben&biao we are mainly about giving you a helping hand in your fertility journey. We have experience working with women and couples who are going through IVF and if you would like guidance, advice, acupuncture, pain management, supplements or nutritional advice then please contact us or book now.

We have two clinical nutritionists that can help guide you to the correct food choices for optimal nutrition. Please book in with Rachel Cunard or Chantelle Van Der Weyden.

If you would like an appointment please book now