In vitro fertilization, or IVF for short, is a major infertility treatment that requires a great deal of preparation to increase the chance of success. There are several dietary recommendations for women who are either attempting to get pregnant or are undergoing IVF to increase the likelihood of successful fertilization and pregnancy. Experts recommend eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, starting several months in advance of IVF treatments. Consult your doctor for more information.
When trying to conceive through both natural methods and IVF, women should eat an adequate amount of calcium. Calcium is plentiful in a variety of food sources, especially low-fat dairy. Other foods high in calcium include spinach, broccoli and leafy green vegetables. Fertility specialists often recommend women consume plenty of protein prior to IVF. Like calcium, protein can be found in low-fat dairy products, as well as eggs and lean meats. Protein may reduce the risk of developing hyperstimulation during IVF – a painful condition where the ovaries become enlarged and produce too many eggs at once.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is an important step before undergoing IVF treatments. According to "New Scientist," "One study of more than 5000 IVF patients in Australia found that women with a body mass index of more than 30 (classified as obese) had a 50 per cent greater chance of miscarrying than women of normal weight." Women attempting to lose weight prior to IVF should steer clear of heavily processed, packaged foods and eat an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The American Pregnancy Association states on their website that folic acid should be consumed before attempting to get pregnant. They state that "Studies have shown that folic acid (300 to 400mcg a day) can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects when taken before conception." Most people associate folic acid with the role it plays in reducing birth defects in newborn babies. In addition, folic acid, also known as folate, may increase fertility in women trying to conceive, including those undergoing IVF treatments. Before starting an IVF cycle, women can increase their folic acid intake by eating foods such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans and legumes, whole grains and folate-enriched breakfast cereals.
The consumption of saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, and sugar should be limited. Too much sugar intake during pregnancy can lead to excessive weight gain and put you at risk for gestational diabetes. The Mayo Clinic states, "You're more likely to develop gestational diabetes if you're significantly overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher." Caffeine should be avoided as it has been shown to negatively impact fertility, even in small amounts. Reduce exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, which are known as PCBs. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, PCBs reduce the chance of a live birth by 40 percent after IVF. PCBs are found most often in seafood, with trace amounts found in dairy and on the surfaces of some fruits and vegetables. Wash all produce thoroughly and limit consumption of fish and seafood to decrease risk of exposure.
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