As hopeful couples or individuals, you might be wondering what is the best diet to ensure your success throughout the IVF process. In this article, we explore what to eat when trying to conceive so you can make the best choice for your diet.
Why Should I Follow An IVF Diet Plan?
During the IVF process, many patients want to eat the best diet to improve their chances of fertility. Food significantly impacts how our bodies perform and could make a difference in the chances of becoming pregnant after an embryo transfer. The Mediterranean diet has been shown in studies to be the most effective diet during IVF. One study has shown that more embryos were obtained in patients who followed the diet.
IVF What To Eat
If you’ve ever travelled to Italy, Spain, or Greece, you may have seen the Mediterranean diet in action. The style of eating is based on the cuisines of these countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.
The diet focuses on whole foods, including abundant fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs, avocado, healthy oils, seeds, nuts, and whole grains. The occasional red wine or red meat is included, but it’s not a staple in the diet.
Those with food sensitivities should be mindful of those and make adjustments that work. Hormonal conditions, allergies, and other health conditions may require some modifications for your unique needs.
It’s unnecessary to make drastic changes to your diet throughout the process, like adopting a gluten-free diet, unless you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Don’t overthink it. Healthy, balanced meals with a focus on including a variety of colors to meet your nutritional needs will help immensely. The Mediterranean diet is ideal for boosting sperm count, as well.
While the research is not concrete on the Mediterranean diet and IVF, it doesn’t hurt to eat a healthy diet before IVF treatments.
Some quick tips for sticking to the Mediterranean diet include:
- Opt for lean proteins like chicken or fish
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and the more colors, the better
- Swap to low-fat dairy options
- Reduce sodium intake
- Reduce red meat, added sugar, and processed foods
- Use healthy fats like good quality olive oil, avocado, seeds, and nuts
- Opt for whole grains like whole grain pasta, quinoa, and farro
- Boost your fiber and protein with beans, chickpeas, lentils, and legumes
What To Eat Before Embryo Transfer
As soon as you decide that IVF is the treatment you want to receive, it would be best if you revamped your diet. Before an embryo transfer, it’s essential to, at the very least, reduce your sugar intake and processed foods, like candy, chips, fast food, and soda. A study done in 2018 showed that highly-processed, sugar-laden foods were associated with a lowered chance of becoming pregnant.
Fueling your body with nutrient-dense foods can allow your body to create a welcoming environment for the embryo transfer.
What To Eat After Embryo Transfer
Once the transfer is complete, it’s important to keep up with your healthy diet and to eat as if you’re pregnant. Choosing nutrient-rich options can be incredibly important in the early days of pregnancy. It’s best to prepare to be pregnant so that the potential baby can have the best start.
What To Avoid Eating After Embryo Transfer
While introducing all the nutritious foods of the Mediterranean diet, it’s important to cut some things out of your diet as much as you can. Certain foods can decrease your chances of a successful embryo transfer, so you want to cut them out or minimize them as much as possible.
Avoid using refined oils like sunflower and vegetable oils, high sugar foods, and highly processed foods should be reduced as they carry toxins that are known to inhibit fertility.
Abstaining from alcohol and tobacco is important, especially if you’re a heavy user. It would be best if you cut out alcohol at least three months before IVF treatment to give your body a chance to remove the toxins. Even two drinks a week for a woman or four for a man can significantly impact fertility treatments. Smoking reduces fertility rates significantly in both men and women.
A quick list of foods to avoid during IVF:
- Ice cream
- Carbohydrates that are high GI, like rice, white bread, and potatoes
- Processed meats
- Refined sugar
- Trans fats found in margarine and commercially baked goods
- Ready meals, fast food
IVF Success Tips Diet
When changing your diet, you may find it beneficial to change your lifestyle, as they tend to go hand-in-hand. A healthy lifestyle can help you be more successful in IVF treatment, like having a healthy diet, reducing stress, and being active.
Of course, alcohol and recreational drugs can be detrimental to your health and aren’t conducive to a healthy pregnancy.
Learning to cope with the struggles of fertility treatments can be very beneficial to your overall mental and physical health. Having an outlet, support, or a therapist can make a big difference in the challenges that can arise during treatment.
Engaging in exercise is vital for longevity and health, so if you’re already active, keep maintaining that lifestyle. If you want to become active, please consult your physician. Yoga and meditation can be gentle ways to reduce stress and can make you feel fantastic.
Ensure you’re taking the time you need for yourself, treat yourself, and partake in self-care that makes you feel fulfilled. Whether that’s a day at the spa, a nice bath, or a professional massage, take the cues from your body and do what feels best.
It’s impossible to avoid stress, especially with all the emotions that can come up during fertility treatments. Reduce stress as much as you can, no matter what it is. Learning to maintain your boundaries can be one of the best things you can do.
While all your supplements should be approved and recommended by your doctors, especially for fertility treatments, there are some general ones you should ask your doctor about adding to your routine.
Taking a prenatal vitamin if you’re trying to get pregnant is typically recommended to boost your micronutrients while preparing for pregnancy.
Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to support both male and female fertility as it works as an antioxidant by generating cellular energy.
Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 are necessary supplements for embryo implantation and fetal growth. Folic Acid is essential for your baby’s early development and prevents neural tube defects. It also helps blood vessels form in the uterus and helps the cells divide correctly, which embryos constantly do. Vitamin B12 supports red blood cell production.
Vitamin D is helpful for implantation as the endometrium has many receptors for the vitamin. You may want to ask your doctor to see if you’re deficient via a blood test.
Supplementing with Vitamin E can help thicken the endometrial lining, which can help prep your body for an embryo transfer. After the transfer, Vitamin E can help protect your blood vessels.
Omega-3 DHA is substantial for blood flow, cell division, and building a healthy brain and nervous system.
At ELITE IVF, our experts will be with you every step of the way, providing you with all pertinent advice and resources for your specific situation. Begin your journey toward achieving your baby dreams by contacting our caring and compassionate team today!