Any couple that is nearing to their IVF cycle will be keen on doing something right that will increase their chances of pregnancy. And that something happens to be one of the easiest things to do – a healthy balanced diet. A wholesome nutritious diet is always great for sound body and mind. And a healthy body is the most favorable place for the embryo to grow into your baby.
A woman’s body should have adequate nutrition and fluids for the success of IVF. However, a drastic change in diet is not advised after the IVF procedure. It is recommended to start a healthy diet few months before you start planning for pregnancy.
A dehydrated body is always at risk of undesirable events. Plenty of water is the easiest step of a balanced diet. After IVF, one must drink minimum eight glasses of water in a day. Fresh fruits and smoothies are also a great option to keep your body hydrated. It will keep your body in its best working condition and help with removing toxins and waste from your system as well.
A balanced diet includes protein rich foods such as eggs, flax seeds, fish and lean meats. If you are a vegetarian, opt for protein rich foods like nuts, beans, soybeans and legumes. Typically 65 gms of protein rich food per day is recommended for the healthy development of embryo.
Healthy carbohydrate rich foods are the energy source for every day physical activities. Plenty of fruits and whole grains will do the job. A nutritious and vitamin rich diet is a key aspect to the success of IVF and one element that needs special consideration is Zinc. Up to 20 gms of zinc intake is recommended for a healthy reproductive system. Zinc rich foods such as nuts, whole grains, lean meat, beans, potatoes and dairy products will also keep your hormone balance in check.
Look Out For Nicotine and Alcohol
Nicotine is a harmful chemical for the mother’s body which in turn can affect the growth of the embryo. Once the embryo is implanted, you must be sure not to be part of even passive smoking. It takes approximately three days for nicotine to be eliminated from human body. However this window can vary according to the amount of nicotine entering your system.
Even though alcohol doesn’t stay in your blood for more than a day, it still can affect your pregnancy. Having alcohol in your system doesn’t provide a healthy environment for the embryo to develop. It can damage the growth of baby cells. It can pass from mother’s blood to baby’s. Which is why alcohol is a definite no for the ones trying to conceive.
Stay Away From Caffeine
Most people are fond of coffee because it is an energy booster and it smells great. However caffeine is present in our diet in several other foods such as protein bars, cola and candy bars. All of them must be avoided after embryo implantation because it increases your blood pressure and heart rate which is not a pleasant sign at this time. In addition to being a stimulant, caffeine is a diuretic as well, which can increase the frequency of urination and lead to dehydration.
Since these substances are mostly part of our habits, it is wise to reduce their consumption once you start planning your pregnancy. This will slowly eliminate their effects from your body as a whole before embryo implantation.
Risky Staple Foods
It is recommended to avoid excess use of table sugar and artificial sweeteners because they are good at causing variation in blood sugar level. Staple foods such as raw or soft boiled egg and cheese are also not preferable at this point, because antibiotics used to treat possible infection from these foods such as salmonella and listeria are not good for the newly implanted embryo. Refined and processed foods such as corn starch, hot cereals, instant oat meals and fast foods with trans fat also deserve immediate elimination from your diet.
Communicate With Your Gynecologist
After you begin the procedure of IVF, no medication should be taken without the approval of your gynaecologist. Even the tablets that you have used before IVF should be run by your doctor. This includes common medications such as aspirin and paracetamol.
It would be wise to discuss your general health and eating habits with your doctor and figure out a diet, which will help you achieve a healthy body by the time you are undergoing IVF.
About the Author
Dr. Parasuram Gopinath is the Senior Consultant & Scientific Director at CIMAR Fertility Center with branches in several parts of Kerala. Tamil Nadu & Dubai. After Dr Parasuram completed his post-graduation in Obstetrics and Gynecology, his work has been mainly focused on infertility and embryology. He had undergone further training in Advanced Reproductive Techniques like Oocyte Cryopreservation, IMSI, IVM etc. from several centers in Singapore, Germany & Canada. He has personally done over 3000 ICSI procedures and was instrumental in introducing the technique of IMSI in South India. He is an Invited speaker at Several National conferences on Infertility and do also have several publications to his credit.
Dr. Parasuram Gopinath, MBBS. MS(OBG)