Everyone is excited when they finally decide to have a child of their own. Most couples achieve this through sexual intercourse. But for others that are not the case. Those who suffer from fertility issues, have to turn to other options such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). It can be a very expensive and complex process for many couples. IVF treatments are a lot more complicated than many people think. There is a lot of medication, blood tests, and ultrasounds. That has to be done in order to get the best chances for success.
When it comes to IVF, there are some things that you should avoid doing in order to have the best chance of success. Some researchers said that eating or avoiding few things during your IVF cycle can prove extremely beneficial. In this blog, we will provide you all the basic information regarding the context.
What is IVF Process?
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In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is a process in which an egg is fertilized by a sperm outside the body. The eggs are then removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilized with sperm in the laboratory. One or more of these fertilized eggs (zygotes) is then placed into her uterus through a surgical procedure. In most cases, this is done with the help of a medical professional. It gives doctors more control over the fertilization process. And it can increase your chances of having a baby.
IVF treatment is highly effective for women that are not ovulating on their own. It is also recommended for couples that have been diagnosed with infertility issues. Those who have experienced repeated miscarriages may also want to consider this process to get pregnant. The IVF treatment can be very expensive, especially when more than one cycle is needed to get pregnant.
Fertilizing an egg is not always easy. So when a healthy sperm attempts to fertilize the egg. It just isn’t able to penetrate through the hard shell or membrane of an egg, so be throws in the towel. When this happens, artificial insemination steps in to help by putting the sperm inside of a catheter. Which goes through your cervix and uterus directly into your fallopian tubes. Where they will naturally find the ovary with the ripe egg waiting for penetration.
This process is called Intrauterine insemination (IUI). Intrauterine insemination is used when there are at least three good-quality follicular cells. An antral follicle count between 4 to 10mm but lower than 12 mm, normal hormone levels for ovulation. At least one patent Fallopian tube and low rates of cervical mucus or after cervical dilatation. IUI may be replaced by ICSI which involves direct injection of sperm into an egg. Instead of placing it near the fallopian tubes as in conventional sex.
7 Things to Avoid During IVF?
IVF is a process that can be both long and stressful. It’s important to avoid certain things during the embryo transfer process. So you don’t add more stress to your life. Below you will find the 7 important things which you should avoid during IVF.
1 Avoid caffeine in any form:
Coffee, soda, chocolate, and other caffeinated foods should be avoided during pregnancy. It has been seen that excessive caffeine affects the hormonal balance. This can create difficulties during pregnancy or IVF. Caffeine can interfere with fertility by affecting ovulation. In addition, it has a diuretic effect which can lead to dehydration. It lessens your chances of IVF success. Since it narrows the blood vessels and decreases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries.
2 Avoid exercise for weight loss:
Most couples get stressed when planning for IVF. In that case, they start exercising excessively to reduce weight. This is a wrong approach during the embryo transfer process. You do not want to lose weight. You should decrease your calorie intake and avoid exercise in order to save up energy for the procedure. It is advisable to exercise regularly for better health. However, it is not recommended during IVF. Excessive exercise can lead to amenorrhea (absence of menstruation).
3 Avoid consuming alcohol or smoking:
Women who are undergoing IVF treatment or those that are trying to conceive should avoid drinking alcohol. Pregnant women should also stay away from it. Alcohol affects your baby’s development and causes birth defects. It can lower fertility by affecting ovulation and interfering with hormone function.
The effects of alcohol on a developing baby are irreversible. This is the main reason why it should be avoided during pregnancy. It is advisable to quit smoking before you start the IVF treatment. Women who smoke and those who use nicotine products such as patches or gum can reduce their chances of success with IVF by 50%. It increases the risk of birth defects and miscarriage.
4 Avoid taking the IVF diet lightly:
The IVF diet is designed to provide the necessary nutrients and energy. Without proper healthy food intake, it can reduce your chances of success. By putting you at risk for developing an unhealthy baby. The important part of the diet is not just in what you eat but when you eat. You should avoid late-night snacks and heavy meals before going to sleep. A healthy diet which is provided by a fertility doctor is best to eat during the embryo transfer process.
5 Avoid decreased blood flow:
It is important to maintain healthy blood flow during IVF. It can increase the risk of developing an unhealthy baby with birth defects. Blood flow is vital for the proper growth of the embryo in pregnant women. Some lifestyle choices can reduce blood flow like smoking, excessive drinking, and using recreational drugs. This is why it should be avoided during pregnancy or the embryo transfer process.
6 Avoid Hormonal injections:
Some women have been trying to conceive for a long time. It may consider going in for hormone shots during IVF treatment. This is not advisable. Since it can affect the quality of eggs and create other health issues. The risk related to hormone shots is yet. Another reason why a fertility specialist recommends using less invasive procedures such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) before IVF treatment.
7 Avoid taking stress:
While it is common to feel stressed before IVF. You should avoid taking stress as much as you can. Because the hormone cortisol may interfere with ovulation and implantation. Stress can lead to increased cortisol levels in your body.
For embryo transfer, you need to be stress-free. It is a stress hormone that suppresses the immune system and affects fertility. It can also lead to an unhealthy baby due to chromosomal abnormalities. Women who are stressed before IVF treatment have lower chances of conception than those who are relaxed.
10 Food to Avoid during IVF treatment?
However, for a healthy pregnancy and reproductive system you should not eat the below-listed food. Eating healthy fruits and vegetables is a good choice for the reproductive health of expected mothers. There is so much junk food you should avoid consuming during the IVF cycle of pregnancy. The basic food you should avoid are:
1 Fish with high content of Mercury:
Mercury is a chemical element that has no physiologic significance in the human body. But at high levels, it can cause problems in your heart and blood vessels. It also increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and slows fetal growth. You should avoid eating fish like tuna, salmon which are high in mercury. Because it may increase the risk of birth defects and miscarriage. For a successful pregnancy, you should eat healthy food and strictly consuming healthy fat and high protein-rich food.
2 Processed types of meat:
During embryo transfer, you should avoid eating processed meat. Like hotdogs, sausages, bacon, and smoked meats. The processed meat is a kind of meat that has been preserved through smoking, curing, or salting. These foods are high in nitrates which can be harmful to the fetus.
You should avoid eating these meats when you trying to conceive. Because prolonged exposure to nitrate preservatives causes birth defects in developing babies. It is high in preservatives nitrates that may affect the baby’s brain development. You should also avoid eating fatty meat which leads to a high risk of birth defects.
3 Full fat milk:
Full fat milk is high in calories and saturated fats. It may lead to an increased risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and birth defects during IVF treatment. Full fat milk is not recommended during embryo transfer. Because it can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes. You are suggested to avoid drinking whole milk during the IVF cycle.
It is because it can reduce the risk of pregnancy loss. Pregnant women should not eat full-fat milk products like cheese and ice cream too. For the expected mother, green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits are good for having a successful pregnancy.
4 Eggs in raw form:
During embryo transfer, you should avoid eating raw eggs because of the risk of salmonella. Some people consume raw eggs in smoothies and cocktails which may increase your risk to get digestive infections. Women who are undergoing in IVF treatments can face a greater chance of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). If you choose to eat raw eggs, make sure to buy pasteurized eggs.
5 Refined sugars:
Besides alcohol, refined sugar can also lead to disruption of ovulation and implantation. Refined sugars including candy, cookies, cakes, soda should be avoided while undergoing the embryo transfer process. Eating these foods during the time of embryo transfer or fertilization may pose a risk that your body responds negatively to this drug. So it is important not to drink during an IVF treatment cycle or while trying to get pregnant.
6 Artificial sweeteners:
Artificial sweeteners are low in calories and have zero to four grams of carbohydrates. It is not suggested to eat artificial sweeteners because it may lead to insulin resistance during fertility treatments. Large amounts of artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of miscarriage, congenital abnormalities, preterm delivery, low birth weight infants. Consuming healthy fats and high protein-rich food leads to a successful pregnancy. Eating green leafy vegetables and whole grains is good for pregnant women’s health.
Seafood is a kind of food that can increase the risk of mercury and other harmful toxins. Mercury can interfere with fetal brain development and cause developmental issues like autism, ADHD, and cerebral palsy. These types of seafood should be avoided while undergoing an embryo transfer treatment. Some kinds of seafood like marlin, barracuda, king mackerel must be avoided during this process.
8 Soft Cheese foods:
Soft cheese is high in bacteria called listeria monocytogenes. Soft cheese like brie, camembert, blue cheeses should be avoided during pregnancy. Because they are high in listeria. These kinds of cheese can increase your risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, or preterm delivery by causing Listeriosis. Pregnant women should not eat soft cheese including unpasteurized cheese, Mexican-style cheeses like queso fresco or Panela, and raw milk cheeses.
9 Saturated fat and Trans-Fat:
Eating a lot of saturated fat and Trans-fat can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol, infertility, and increase the risk of birth defects. Saturated fat is found in butter, cheese, meat fats, full-cream milk products. It is not suggested to eat too much for dinner during embryo transfer or fertilization because it may cause insulin resistance. Pregnant women can consume healthy fats ingredients or green leafy vegetables and fruits.
10 Unpasteurized Coffee:
It is recommended to avoid drinking coffee during pregnancy because it can increase your risk of having a miscarriage. Some people use unfiltered coffee which can increase your risk of listeriosis. Unpasteurized coffee is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and preterm birth. So it is important not to drink during embryo transfer or while trying to get pregnant.
What You Should Eat During IVF?
When it comes to planning your IVF healthy diet, there are some restrictions. Unfortunately, this is not a case where you can eat whatever sounds good at the time. There are certain foods that should be avoided and certain vitamins and nutrients. That needs to be increased during embryo transfer treatments.
When undergoing an embryo transfer treatment, focus on eating foods that are high in healthy fat, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. You should also focus on fruits to eat after embryo transfer. Below you should find the list of some healthy food you should eat and they are:
Food high in Zinc or Vitamin C:
Increase zinc intake for IVF healthy diet is very important. Zinc plays an essential role in DNA synthesis, cell division, protein synthesis, and sperm development. Foods high in zinc are oysters, beef, lamb or venison, lobster, beans, or legumes. You can eat most fruits like raisins or figs after embryo transfer treatments. A Zinc supplements are good for potential pregnancy success rate.
Increase vitamin C intake during the culture period is very important for your IVF healthy diet. Also increase vitamin A, E, and B12 consumption to ensure embryo development. Foods that are high in vitamin C are red peppers, green peppers, broccoli, etc.
Folic Acid in Food:
Folic acid is an important nutrient that you should have in your IVF-healthy diet. Foods high in Folic Acid are lentils, oranges, grapefruit juice. All types of nuts also contain folic acid. So you should eat nuts like cashews, walnuts, or Brazil nuts after embryo transfer treatments. Consuming Folic acids foods are good for expected mothers’ health. These foods not only contain folic acid but other nutrients that can help boost your egg health during IVF treatments. Folic acid can be found in dark leafy green vegetables and fruits like okra, avocado, etc.
Healthy fats are good for your fertility treatments. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which play an important role in embryonic development. Healthy fats also promote cell membrane health, regulate inflammation, and increase blood flow to the uterus while improving future embryo implantation. And healthy food with good fat during the IVF procedure is suggested by a reproductive endocrinologist.
Protein Rich Foods:
Protein-rich foods are good for your fertility treatments. Since embryos are mainly made up of protein, you should intake more proteins during IVF healthy food to ensure their development. Foods high in protein are beef, pork, lamb or venison, poultry, and nuts like almonds. This food is good for general health and physical activity for the expected mother.
During treatment, the embryos need a lot of energy from carbohydrates to survive and develop. So you should intake complex carbs during the embryo transfer period. Also increasing your fiber intake is also good. Since it will help improve your digestion process. And nutrient absorption while minimizing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Foods high in complex carbs are whole grains, corn, brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc.
Can Diet Affect IVF Success Rate?
Yes, the couple’s diet is an important consideration in influencing implantation rates. The composition of our food directly affects our hormones, consequently influencing the quality of IVF outcomes. A study published by Johns Hopkins has shown that diet quality can affect IVF success rates.
This is because different variations in proteins, sugars, and saturated fats have been shown. To have varying effects on reproductive hormone levels. Which can influence ovulation rates and timing as well as egg development.
As a result, it is crucial that couples undergoing IVF treatment monitor their dietary intake closely for any changes. That could impact fertility outcomes. Having a healthy diet before IVF could increase the chances of successfully getting pregnant. Foods that are rich in protein are particularly important because proteins are needed to make sex hormones for IVF.
The process of Embryo transfer can be a rollercoaster ride. If you are considering, or have already started the IVF journey. It is important to know what not to do during this time in order to maintain your sanity and mental health. It’s important to have the right information before you embark on this journey. So that you know what to expect, including all of its benefits and risks. We hope these tips will help someone considering starting an IVF program with their partner. And for themselves to find the answers they need to be more confident about making this life-changing decision.