Preparing for IVF
If you are soon to start a cycle of fertility treatment, you will want to do all that you can to prepare yourself in advance. There is no one magical secret which will ensure that your treatment will work, but it is certainly worth doing all that you can to get ready for what lies ahead both physically and emotionally.
Being as fit and healthy as you can is a very positive step which will certainly have a beneficial outcome. It is important to ensure that you follow a healthy diet when you are trying to conceive. This is about sensible balanced eating rather than following the latest fad diet, and maintaining a healthy weight will improve your chances of success. You should ensure that you take folic acid supplements and you may want to include a multivitamin too.
Cutting back on caffeine and limiting alcohol is sensible, but occasionally having a small glass of wine or a cup of coffee is not going to mean that your treatment won’t work.
Discuss any medication that you take with your clinic, whether that is prescription or over-the-counter.
Try to ensure that you get enough sleep, although this can be difficult when you are feeling excited or nervous about what lies ahead. Going to bed a little earlier with a book may help, and avoid drinking tea or coffee before bed.
Many people find when they go through fertility treatment that it is the emotional ups and downs which can make it so tough. Talking to a professional fertility counsellor or therapist can be beneficial, or you may want to consider joining a support group.
Regular exercise can make a real difference to well-being, although you don’t want to be launching yourself into extreme exercise regimes when you are about to have treatment. Simple things like walking or swimming can be good, and will help both mentally and physically.
You may want to try some relaxation techniques. There are lots of books and tapes which will help you with meditation, mindfulness or relaxation. This may not be for everyone so don’t worry if you don’t get on with them, but some people do find them beneficial.
If there are any complementary therapies that you enjoy, this can be a good time to book a few sessions as they may help you to relax. What is important here is finding something that makes you feel better whether that is acupuncture, aromatherapy massage, reflexology or any other therapy. There is often an element of counselling in complementary therapy sessions as they can provide an opportunity to talk about how you are feeling without judgement to someone outside your circle of family and friends.
If you possibly can, it is a good idea to try to ensure that your workload is not going to be excessive when you are having treatment. Of course, this isn’t always feasible if you have a very busy career, but you may want to try to hit deadlines before you start treatment rather than in the middle of your cycle. Always take your breaks wherever you can rather than just grabbing a sandwich at your desk on the go. Don’t worry if you can’t do these things – it won’t mean that your treatment won’t work if you have a madly busy time at the office during your cycle – but limiting work stress may help you to feel calmer.
Finally, this is a time to spoil yourself. Whether it’s a weekend away, a visit to a gallery, an evening in watching your favourite film or a home facial, think about what makes you feel relaxed and create space in your schedule. This is all about you and what makes you happy.
Writer and journalist
Kate Brian is a journalist, writer and author of four books on motherhood and fertility, including The Complete Guide to IVF. Kate started writing about the patient perspective on infertility after having IVF herself.
Currently, she contributes to various types of media as an expert on fertility and writes her own blog, where she gives all the latest news and views on fertility issues, as well as useful advice and links for anyone trying to have a baby.
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