General Guide to IVF Support

Author: Dr. Maryam Mahanian, DTCM, RAc

Have confidence that you’re doing everything you can to enhance your success with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and get pregnant!

Since the inception of IVF, couples have been getting pregnant and it has helped families grow. It’s been a game changer. But IVF isn’t without risks and complications. It’s also very expensive. Needless to say, the IVF process can be very taxing on families – physically, emotionally and financially. Because of this, couples considering IVF want it to work so very badly and failed IVF cycles can be heartbreaking.

This guide will give you some tools and tips that you can apply in your daily life to double your chances of a successful IVF cycle. Best of all, these tips are backed by research and super simple to implement. These tips will give you confidence that you’re doing everything on your end to support your IVF cycle.

Chances are your reproductive endocrinologist won’t share these tips with you. I truly believe that every woman doing IVF needs to know & apply this information.

Egg Quality vs Egg Quantity

Egg Quantity: IVF excels at stimulating the ovaries to mature a higher number of eggs so that you have a higher chance of fertilization. What it can’t do is to allow for better egg quality. This guide will show you ways to actually improve your Egg Quality.

Yes egg quantity is important but only good quality eggs are going to become healthy embryos that can survive and implant in the uterus. Improving egg quality allows for a higher number of eggs to be retrieved and a higher number of them to be viable. This leads to a higher percentage implanting in the uterus. Good quality eggs are also less like to end in miscarriage after an IVF cycle.

8 Tips to Ensure IVF Success

#1 Prepare Your Body for at Least 3 to 4 Months Prior to Your IVF Cycle!

It takes 3 to 4 months for an immature egg to mature and grow before it’s ovulated. During this 3 to 4 months, the egg quality can be greatly impacted. It can be impacted for the better with a healthy diet and lifestyle but also can be vulnerable to damage.

Chromosomal abnormalities usually occur in this last stage of maturation (the 3 to 4 months before the egg is ovulated). Needless to
say this is a very crucial time for egg quality.

What this means is that your health today (ie what you eat and drink, your stress levels, your blood flow, your exercise) will impact the health of your egg that is released with ovulation 3 months from now.

Start implementing these tips in this guide 3 to 4 months prior to starting your IVF cycle in order to benefit your egg quality, nourish your uterine lining, balance your hormones, promote ovulation and reduce stress. This is by far my most important tip for you!!!!

#2 Get Acupuncture

Research studies show that acupuncture can double the success rate of IVF!! No wonder it has become so unbelievably popular!
Consider starting your acupuncture visits at least 3 months prior to your IVF cycle and definitely during your IVF cycle.

The most important times to get acupuncture at least 3 to 4 months prior to an IVF cycle (reason is stated above); before egg retrieval and before & after embryo transfer.

Try to find an acupuncturist that specializes in women’s health and fertility and has helped women specifically undergoing IVF.

How does acupuncture improve IVF success?

  • Acupuncture reduces stress
  • Acupuncture improves egg quality
  • Acupuncture increases blood flow to the ovaries
  • Acupuncture improves the health of the uterine lining to benefit implantation
  • Acupuncture can regulate hormones

#3 Self Acupressure

Acupressure works the same way as acupuncture but without the use of needles. The same points on the body are used with the same
purpose in mind of balancing hormones, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs and benefitting egg quality.

I offer an online instructional course called IVF With Confidence that provides you with easy to follow step-by-step instructions exactly how to apply self-acupressure at home. This is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for IVF, enhance your fertility and support your acupuncture visits. It’s even amazing for those of you who may not have access to an acupuncturist in your area or just can’t afford or have time to go every week.

It’s actually very effective to do consistent self acupressure because you’re applying it every day as many times per day as you can. Consistency is key and this has a positive cumulative effect on your reproductive system.

#4 Diet & Nutrition

A healthy diet is vital for your fertility and overall well being. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Try to have plenty of good FATS in your diet
  • Have PROTEIN at every meal
  • ORGANIC UNPROCESSED FOODS
  • Minimize inflammatory foods like sugar
  • Limit coffee consumption to no more than 1 cup per day
  • Nutritious foods to incorporate are AVOCADOS, COCONUT OIL, BUTTER, FISH, DARK GREEN LEAFY GREENS like spinach, kale and chard, CARROTS, BROCCOLI and other cruciferous vegetables, EGGS, CHICKPEAS, fermented foods like KIMCHI & SAUERKRAUT.
  • Don’t restrict foods or go on “diets” at this time; Eat regularly and don’t miss meals.
  • Try to have at least 75% of your food cooked and warm so that it’s easier to digest. A good digestive system is so crucial to your
    reproductive system.

#5 Warmth is Key!

Keep your lower back, lower abdomen and soles of feet warm.

Don’t walk on cold floors as this will bring too much cold into the reproductive organs and will therefore cause a “cold uterus” where an embryo won’t be able to thrive and grow.

Eat warming cooked foods (as said above) as they are easier to digest than cold raw foods. When your digestion works well, your reproductive system will also work well. Your body will be able to break down and absorb more nutrients which feeds the other systems in the body like your reproduction.

#6 Good Supplements

You don’t need a ton of different supplements if you’re eating a good healthy diet packed full of nutritious foods. 

However, I do recommend a few supplements to give you peace of mind that you’re treating your body right and doing everything you can during this crucial time.

  • Omega 3 essential fatty acids help blood flow and reduce inflammation
  • Coenzyme Q10 can improve egg quality
  • A good prenatal vitamin that contains METHYLFOLATE (not just folic acid) in case you have the enzyme that can’t break down folic acid and need the methyl type. I simply tell all of my patients to make sure their prenatal vitamin contains “methylfolate” no matter what.

#7 Move your body

It’s important to have good blood flow and one of the best ways to achieve that is to move your body every day and get lots of fresh air.

I recommend yoga, taichi, qi gong, walking and swimming – these are easy enough to do and so important to keep your blood flowing well throughout your body – especially to the reproductive organs. 

Avoid strenuous exercise, especially if you don’t normally exercise intensely. Strenuous exercise can be quite depleting and can throw off hormonal balance if your body isn’t used to the intensity.

#8 Avoid Stress

The IVF process can be a big stress on a couple. Stress creates blockage in the body and can block blood flow. This doesn’t help your IVF success or your fertility in general! Try to take positive steps toward reducing your stress and being good to yourself during this critical period of time.

Look at what your stresses are and make changes to decrease your stresses as much as you can. Here are some tips that may be easy for some and very difficult for others.

  • Commit to less and put less on your plate
  • Take time for at least 10 minutes of meditation/mindfulness every day
  • Do positive affirmations and believe that you WILL get pregnant
  • Do things that keep you calm, centered, relaxed and happy
  • Seek a lot of support in this process from family and friends and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I am confident these tips will help you in preparing for your IVF cycle and your path towards getting pregnant!

With Love and Support,
Dr. Maryam

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