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IVF - what changes did you make to your lifestyle?!(29 Posts)
Advice needed, heading towards IVF as no know reason for infertility has been found after 3 years of trying.
I'm 37, stressful demanding career, train 6 days per week, physically very fit, eat well (lots of veg, low carb, high protein) not underweight/overweight. Drink tea daily, coffee and Diet Coke in moderation. Drink alcohol on weekends and occasionally through the week (work events/stressful day etc) Any advice on lifestyle changes you've made by choice or by DR's advice ?
I bought the book It Starts With The Egg, which gives advice on improving your egg health ahead of ivf. It's talks about supplements, using natural skincare, diet, avoiding plastic and other chemicals.
I'm waiting to start my first round so have no idea if it's of any use but it might be worth trying.
I've cut down on caffeine (one tea a day) and the odd alcoholic drink (about 2 a week) and also trying to cut down on carbs and sugar which is probably the hardest!
I asked my consultant this question this week. She said, in her (experienced!) opinion, don't do anything different to usual - unless you're really unhealthy of course!
The only thing she said was to take folic acid and vitamin D, but otherwise don't overindulge or restrict yourself, don't go mad with exercise but do your usual amount, and do what you want within reason. She said your body is used to your "normal" and any drastic changes won't be good for it!
I did 6 x ivf cycles
The two that worked were when I relaxed and had an occasional glass of wine
The one when I had twins was when I had some counselling, always did acupuncture, tried reiki and had the wine
Good luck. Just be kind to yourself as it is a heck of a journey
Folic acid and vitamin D, that's all for me. Maintained a healthy weight and tried my best to stay as calm as possible (proven difficult) due to being an over thinker. Also changed jobs to a less demanding role as Work was taking over my life and caused more stress than I've ever known.
My lifestyle was almost identical to yours, and it worked first time. Best of luck
When you do the nuclear winter menopause bit, you may find you get injured doing your regular training and it doesn't repair quickly as your hormones play a role in tissue repair. You may also feel absolutely shattered. It depends on your protocol, but this will go on for weeks (I was practically begging for the egg stimulation drugs by the time they gave them to me). So plan for the possibility of needing a much gentler routine, although not everyone is affected this much.
I would generally look after yourself well and cut down stress as much as you can, not because it will affect the outcome, but because you will want to feel like you gave it your best shot when it's all over. Btw, I am now mother of two, both via IVF. Good luck OP.
Folic acid and vitamin d, and I had to stop running and overeat for 6 months to get my BMI up into the narrow bracket they wanted it to qualify for funding (would not recommend if you don’t need to as I suspect if I’d been fitter cardio wise, labour and recovery would’ve been easier)
I cut out caffeine and alcohol, and my husband did 3 months of low caffeine and no alcohol before, as well as taking some supplements (I think zinc and vitamin d).
But really the more people I talk to, the more I think it’s mostly just luck - so lots and lots of luck!
If women can get pregnant in refugee camps and war zones, or with BMIs over 30-40+ then I'm not doing anything wrong.
@allthatmalarkey apologies what do you mean by nuclear winter ?
There’s a stage where the drugs put you into a temporary chemical menopause (and I agree, it is shit. But it does pass.)
This is a good research article about various diet and lifestyle changes that may support fertility: fertilityresearchandpractice.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40738-015-0003-4
As always, check with your healthcare provider if making changes to your supplements or routines.
Againplease I am inclined to agree. I think they use the whole diet supplement thing because they cant admit they dont actually understand fertility fully yet.
They say eat healthy and no alcohol and have an ideal BMI yet how many drug addicts or alcoholics do i see having children like no mans business, or big women. I see it all the time.
Not a lifestyle tip but for work I found the stimming phase harder as I looked pregnant and as I dress smartly for work I was conscious of this and what people would think, so consider what you wear and maybe get a baggier outfit ready, I used M&S swing dress. Also I thought would get away with it but really needed to stop exercising before egg collection you are massive and it is dangerous with a risk of twisting a full overy. So what I have learned is take it easy and be ready to need to stop, try to reduce commitments and stress and don’t make too many plans as it is harder to cancel if you aren’t telling people you are having ivf. We are trying again soon and this time my husband is cutting caffeine and taking a supplement, I do this already, and limiting alcohol but trying not to get obsessed and relax! That bit is hard! Good luck!
@CountryCob good advice. Yes will dressing for work difficult as I wear very corporate clothing, most of which is very fitting. Concerned about time off work as i'm in an office full of men. I think already they why I'm in and out of the office. Thankfully I have a sports injury which is covering my tracks atm. Good luck on your journey too.
I was told by consultant not to drink any alcohol.
I also just bought It Starts With The Egg and I thought it was very interesting. It references all of the scientific studies used to compile the book so you can go and do your own background reading etc. It seems to have very solid scientific foundations, unlike some of the books out there.
I'm waiting to start my first IVF cycle and after finishing this book a couple of days ago I have binned a load of the toiletries and cosmetics I have been using for years and replaced them with organic / natural ones that don't contain nasty chemicals. I'm also gong to change all of my cleaning / laundry products and then look at removing products with BPA's in them from my kitchen (although I did this with my tupperware ages ago anyway - BPA's are scary!). To be honest though, this detoxing my lifestyle thing is been something I've been meaning to do for ages and this has finally given me the push to sort it out. I just think going as natural as possible can't do you any harm.
I've also stopped drinking (the biggest challenge for me!), cut way down on caffeine, and tried to eat organic and low GI when I can. I'm a normal BMI so I'm not restricting calories or anything. And I'm not cutting anything out entirely.
I've been taking a pre-natal vitamin since we began trying but I'm now adding a CoQ10 ubiquinol supplement as it's good for increasing egg quality and that's where my fertility problem lies.
I'm not going to lie and say I'm finding it easy to clean up my lifestyle like this - I love a McDonalds and a cocktail. Plus it costs more money. But I only get one chance at IVF on the NHS in my area so need to give it the best chance. This stuff might not work, but it won't do any harm so I figure I may as well try. Any yes really unhealthy people have babies all the time but fertility has so many factors and if you're already struggling why not try and do what you can to help your body.
I've also been having acupuncture fortnightly for a couple of months now and I'm trying to not stress about stuff too much, which I find hard. I've been doing the odd 10 minute meditation session using the Headspace app. Again, not sure this helps but it can't be doing any harm because it's pretty relaxing.
I hope whatever you choose to do or not do works for you and I wish you lots of luck with your treatment.x
I read it too, it has some good tips and some good sound scientific studies quoted in there. Its like a manual for all the studies you could find but in a more commercial language. Most of the book didnt apply to me as I havent used chemical products or BPA or anything like that for years. I cant have DHEA and anyone who has PCOS or testosterone issues shouldn't either. My clinic advised caution re melatonin because if your body produces the right amount any additional supplement can actually harm your cycle and body. Bottom line, check with your clinic.
With scientific studies proving and then disproving themselves, I think all we have is whatever a scientific study proves at that point in time.
Ultimately I believe it comes down to egg health. (Once other things are ruled out) We can't kid ourselves, no matter how healthy our lifestyle, at 37 many of our eggs are more likely to be abnormal (not all eggs, but a higher percentage). Some are lucky, some not so. It's egg lottery. 😔 having a healthy lifestyle would def help those eggs that are still normal to stay that way, increasing your chances over time, I guess. I've tried everything from age 33-36 and still no luck, even with ivf.
I have heard that book is meant to be good - but worried that I won't know where to stop. Will have a good chat with the DR next week, then take it from there. Thanks for your advice and good luck to you all with your journey, at every stage
I think we have to be careful and not be too hard on ourselves if we are not living a perfectly healthy lifestyle 100% of the time. I read 'it starts with the egg' and I have implemented a few things.... CoQ10 and reduced plastic but it made me feel very guilty about having a few cookies at the weekend which is ridiculous. I already have a healthy diet, don't drink or smoke so I'm think I'm ok. We already will be putting so much pressure on ourselves for ivf to work that I don't think worrying about what's in our cosmetics is going to help.
@Movin I also read and followed that book too. Took everything she mentioned during ivf. Personally for me, I just think my eggs are stuffed. Too much partying in my 20s 😂 also important to know when ones mum started menopause. Mine was in her 40'. Its not impossible and I'm still hopeful! my friend got pregnant naturally with an amh of 3.5!!! You just never know, a top quality egg might bubble up to the surface and mature. 👍🙂 best thing is to do ivf, it's the only way you'll know. And if you get a good amount of embryos I would suggest exploring PGS. All my friends who have had their embryos chromosomes checked have gotten pregnant first found by putting back a healthy embryo. It's not always possible to do this but if you can, they highly recommend.
@AniSL I'm not sure drug addicts would be having babies at 37? Most drug addicts I've known had kids at 18-25. Everyone always says that, but look at junkies, I'm like, at what age? Maybe if they'd had several kids they might still have em late in life, there is something to that, I'm sure. Many women who've had kids in their 20's can seem to fall easier older.
Also don't bother asking drs about nutrition! They know jack on that. See a nutritionist if you're worried? Get bloods done, demand vitamins etc be checked by your gp. Tell them a lie about not eating a balanced diet (because they prob studied the food pyramid for one lecture) they'll run all your vitamins and then look at your diet from there with a professional. 🙂
My clinic has a dedicated nutritionalist who is on hand to look at diet and recommend alterations if need be, my GP surgery also has a nutrtionalist. With supplements, my IVF clinic had a lengthy discussion with me regarding supplements I thought I may need after reading the book, some of which they agreed, some new recommended and some they said abosultely not.
In terms of what you assume about drug addicts, well I have worked in this field for 15 years and I can tell you that seeing women aged from 18 all the way up to 40, who don't eat much at all, homeless, finding food in bins, on crack heroin alcohol crystal meth etc have been pregnant and given birth. I am working a 36 year old homeless heroin addict who is 7 months pregnant right now. Bottom line is, yes follow a healthy diet wity no smoking etc but sometimes it really is down to sheer luck.
My mum was obese when she had her 4 children, starting age of 30 and finishing off at 38.
I had my eggs looked at earlier this year when we had a failed cycle, I was 36 now 37, clinic were happy and said no eggs collected had any abnormalities and all grade a.
Sadly its not just our lifestyle factors, air we breathe in is toxic as hell too. The older we get the more polluted our bodies get and our stem cells that produce eggs damage and eventually stop too