Preparing for Embryo Transfer Checklist
I am continuing to prepare my body for our next embryo transfer, which will be in the next few months. It is exciting and unbelievable that we will be transferring soon! My reproductive endocrinologist requires that you are done breastfeeding for 2 months prior to doing a frozen embryo transfer. With Dakota being 1 in less than 4 weeks, I am starting to work on weaning her from nursing. We haven't decided if we are going to tell others this time when we transfer. The last transfers, we didn't tell anybody, not even our parents, which made it really fun to tell once we were pregnant. I fortunately work at the hospital where my reproductive endocrinologist is, so I try to make my days that I work line up with my days that I have appointments. Our parent's watch our kids, so when we were going through our last IVF cycle and transfers, I would make my appointments for 30 minutes prior to be being at work and told our parents that I had to go into work "early". There were a few days that I had to go in for appointments on my days off, but I came up with some excuse so my mom wouldn't know what I was doing. This time might be a little more difficult keeping it a secret with having 2 little ones at home, so we will see! I'd love to hear, if you've been through infertility treatments, drop in the comments below if you kept it a secret or told family/friends.
Several reports have suggested that preconception dietary habits may influence IVF outcome, such as oocyte and embryo quality, implantation and successful completion of pregnancy (Braga et al., 2015; Firns et al., 2015; Hornstein, 2016; Garruti et al., 2017; Machtinger et al., 2017). While going through fertility treatments, you will do anything in your power to help get that positive pregnancy test. So, here are some tips for you as you prepare your body for IVF or an embryo transfer:
1) Research has shown that consuming a Mediterranean diet improve IVF success (https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/33/3/494/4828066). The Mediterranean diet focuses on plenty of fruits and vegetables, with minimal processing and plant-based foods. Fruit is a common dessert, instead of sweets. Whole grains, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds are also highlighted in the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil and coconut oil as primary fat sources (buy good quality, cold pressed). Dairy products, eggs, fish, and poultry are the main sources of protein, with less consumption of red meat.
2) Consuming whole foods helps you to consume adequate amounts of nutrients so important for fertility including, choline, zinc, selenium, folate, Vitamin B-12, and Vitamin B-6.
3) Limit inflammatory foods, such as sugar, white rice, white bread, limit caffeine, alcohol. Everyone’s body is different and what may cause you GI issues, may not effect someone else. So listen to your body. The most common inflammatory foods are sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, caffeine, and alcohol.
4) What foods should you specifically include?
-fruits and vegetables (preferably organic)
-wild caught fish
-eggs (preferably pasture raised)
-pasture raised meat sources
-healthy fats (nuts, avocados, chia seeds, olive oil, grass fed butter)
5) Other food to consider: spirulina, which is an algae. It is extremely nutrient density, containing calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, Vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B-6, A, and K. It can also help improve gut health, which is necessary for your body to properly absorb nutrients and function at it’s best. I add this to my smoothies:
6) Flavor foods with fresh herbs and spices to increase nutritional health. I am new to fresh herbs and spices and recently purchased my first basil plant! Drop in the comments below if you use fresh herbs/spices and your favorites! I need all the tips I can get ;)
7) Keep exercising, or start an exercise regimen, however limit vigorous exercise. This isn’t a time to train for a marathon. Too much exercise can be stressful and cause your body to have an inflammatory response, so listen to your body. Exercise helps you maintain lean muscle mass, control blood sugars, reduce stress, and helps improve blood flow, so get your body moving 😊
8) Limit exposure to chemicals. This one is tough, as they are surrounding us. Focus on the 4 P’s:
1) plastics (I always use glass to reheat food in and am currently working on switching over all of my plastic containers to glass. I try to avoid using plastic utensils when mixing hot ingredients. I use cast iron skillets, rather than non-stick pans. Avoid Teflon and non-stick. Even water bottles, use stainless steel or glass. This is hard for me as I often grab a plastic bottle of water, but most of the time I am drinking out of stainless steel or my glass water bottle. I drink half caf coffee and always use grown in our Keurig vs the plastic pods. The plastic pods have hot running water through them…to your coffee, therefore BPA is leaking into your coffee! Ground coffee is also cheaper 😉 I love these glass food storage containers from Amazon:
2) pesticides (I buy organic when I can and buy locally raised pasture raised protein when I can)
4) personal care products
9) Good quality sleep, and enough of it is critical for hormone balance and therefore, fertility. This has been a HARD one for me the past 11 months. However, I am proud to say that Dakota started sleeping through the night (most nights...) last week. I was really worried about trying to get enough sleep because she was waking 1-4 times per night, but is doing much better now!
10) Accupuncture increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. Acupuncture reduces stress -endorphins released are responsible for the relaxed feeling. Having accupuncture throughout your IVF cycle helps you improve your chances of conceiving. I did do accupuncture with our first IVF cycle and I loved it! I didn't this last cycle or transfer because I found it very stressful asking someone to watch Grady to go to the appointments. However, I am likely going to do acupuncture this time to best prepare my body.
11) Take a good quality prenatal vitamin every single day! I've posted recently on the importance of a good quality prenatal vitamin. Personally, I use Full Circle Prenatal. Even as a dietitian I have nutrients gaps, so I truly believe this prenatal fills in any nutrients gaps that I do have. Here is a link to my blog post about choosing a prenatal vitamin (https://www.andreardn.com/post/how-do-i-choose-the-right-prenatal-vitamin). I am an affiliate with Full Circle, but this is because I believe it is the best prenatal vitamin available--click here to learn more or to purchase: https://www.fullcircleprenatal.com/?rfsn=4106077.2b8504&utm_source=refersion&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=4106077.2b8504
In addition to Full Circle Prenatal, it is also essential to take a fish oil with DHA/EPA. I personally use Nordic Naturals because of it's purity and quality:
I would love to hear how you are preparing your body for fertility treatments!
Love and baby blessings,