In-vitro Fertilization (or IVF) has become a boon to couples facing difficulties in conceiving. The IVF journey can be both emotionally and physically challenging. Women who undergo the treatment commonly feel anxious, sad, and uncertain and the regular shots of hormones that they receive can further heighten the emotions. It is important to have a healthy diet during his period to keep your body energised for the demanding period. Here are some suggestions you can include to create the best diet for IVF success.
What Kind of Meals Do I Eat?
Your body works as an entire system. To keep your fertility levels high, it isn't simply enough that you take care of your reproductive system but your digestive and immunity systems as well. Remember to take healthy, whole meals that give your body the nutrition it requires. Choose energy over convenience. Do not make any major dietary changes at this point. For example, if you weren't following a gluten-free diet, now is not the time to make that lifestyle shift. A Meditteranean diet has been shown to be helpful for both men and women during the IVF cycles.
How Important is My Weight?
Your weight can be a contributing factor in the success or failure of your IVF treatment. Being underweight or overweight is not desired. Check your BMI to keep a track of what the ideal weight for your height is. Keep in mind that your BMI results are not the ultimatum and get expert medical opinion for more accurate advice. Trying to reach the optimal weight can also be an emotionally taxing period. Prepare yourself for it.
You can have a diet congruent with the Meditteranean Diet even without making a complete shift. Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and eat whole grains. Lean proteins like fish and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil are also good food inclusions. Low-fat dairy products and legumes help meet the protein requirements. An easy target that you and your partner can keep everyday is as follows:
Fresh vegetables - 5 servings
Fresh fruit - 2 servings
Protein – 15-20% of total calorie intake
Carbohydrates – 50-60 % of total calorie intake depending on the BMI
Total fat intake – 25-30 % of total calorie intake
Keeping Yourself Hydrated
Water is an important element to keep your body energised. Without enough water to lubricate its cells, your body cannot function at its best. Drink at least 2 litres of water everyday. Keep a bottle with you at all times and set reminders on your phone to remind you to take consistent sips if you feel you may forget to do so.
What to Avoid
It is as important to keep in mind what to avoid, as it is to remember what to intake. Eating red meat was shown in a study to have negative effects on chances of clinical pregnancy and embryo development for women undergoing IVF treatment and is best avoided. While there isn't an absolute medical restriction on the intake of alcohol while preparing for or during your IVF cycle, it is important to keep it in check. A couple of drinks in a single week could hamper with the process and has definitely no place in your best diet for IVF success. There is also the added danger of emotional reaction that alcohol can bring out that you should keep in mind. It is also important that you get your regular medication list (if any) checked by your IVF specialist. There may be some drugs there that could hamper the process and so need to be checked and approved of. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), medication for mental health issues like antidepressants, steroids, and chemotherapy drugs need to be discussed with and prescribed by your doctor in relation to the IVF procedure.
Pointers for the Male Partner
As a male partner, your role is not complete with the sperm donation. Your partner requires your support and help in both direct and indirect ways. It is important to make this a shared journey and keep yourself an active participant in this. While reducing the intake of alcohol is a good option for the success of your sperm donation, it is also helpful when your partner is going through her other procedures as a part of the cycle to evade any temptations that she may get. Smoking should be avoided as well. Further, chalk out diet plans together to not just optimize nutrition for both, but also to make this a bonding activity and reduce the workload of cooking separate meals.
Finding the best diet for IVF success is not as difficult as committing to it. At every point where you feel demotivated, remember your reasons for doing this. Take care of yourself and give your body and mind what it requires to keep going - take a break for some ‘me time’, go on a romantic date with your partner, get yourself some flowers; anything that feels good for you! While diet is an important factor in the success of your IVF procedure, remember that this is not the only one. Good sleep habits, regular exercise, and keeping your stress in check are also necessary lifestyle changes that you need to make.