In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is the most effective type of assisted reproductive treatment. It does not however fully guarantee that you will conceive as you hope. There are however ways you can help the process along. Multiple factors come into play when it comes to issues of fertility and conception. There are also multiple stages to the IVF process.
Here we will look at what actions you can take to improve chances of implantation once embryos are introduced into the uterus after fertilization. At this stage, multiple embryos are transferred into the uterus in hopes that at least one will successfully implant into the endometrial lining of the uterus. A pregnancy test is usually done after two weeks to verify success. However, it is possible for more than one implantation to occur, leading to a multiple pregnancy. This is a common occurrence for those that opt to pursue IVF treatment.
During implantation, the two main factors that affect the chances of success are the quality of the embryo and the condition of the uterus. The issue of embryo quality is addressed when eggs and sperm are retrieved. If there is a chance of chromosomal abnormalities, donor eggs or sperm may be used to resolve the problem.
Uterine receptivity can be affected by factors such as hormones, thyroid, condition of the endometrial lining, and the shape and position of the uterus. During early exams, your doctor should be able to determine if any of these or other problems are a possibility and provided treatment options to correct them, well before the eggs are retrieved.
The bulk of the work is done by the time implantation is performed. This often means that thereafter, your chances of success are mostly out of your control. While there is little you can do from this stage to influence the outcome, trying to reduce stress may be helpful. Here are some things you can do to ease the process and hopefully achieve the positive result your desire.
Getting at least 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep through the night can help to reduce stress and aid the recovery of the body. The IVF process is often invasive and you need adequate rest to allow for healing. This rest and restoration can help increase the chances of successful implantation and healthy pregnancy.
For many women, achieving deep sleep can be difficult. It is advisable to consult with your doctor to learn what techniques you can adopt to achieve this. Melatonin is a supplement that is sometimes prescribed as a sleeping aid. Some research also indicates that it could contribute towards improved embryo quality. Do not however start taking it until you have consulted with your doctor.
Even during your normal waking hours, there is a good chance you will experience periods of anxiety and stress. The two-week wait to see if your procedure has been successful can be tough to get through. Besides ensuring that you get a good night’s rest, it can be beneficial to also get some rest during the day. More so when you feel stressed.
Take time off of work when you need to and engage in some self-care. You can support these efforts by eating a nutritious diet, avoiding high sugar and caffeine-rich foods and drinks, meditate, and get away for a while if you need to. Also, consider scaling back your workouts if you regularly exercise. Yoga is a great way to keep fit without being too rigorous and can be beneficial in keeping muscles toned throughout your pregnancy.
As you seek self-care, do avoid overindulging in comfort foods to try and soothe anxieties. While this may lead to the release of feel-good hormones, it does not provide the needed nutrients that will support implantation and healthy pregnancy. Stick to the same nutritionally balanced diet you were prescribed by your doctor when you started the IVF process. This should include a diet rich in proteins, fibre and vitamins. There may also be supplements you were prescribed to help in making your uterus more receptive to implantation.
Avoid high-risk foods like soft cheeses and seafood with possible heavy metal contamination. Be very careful of anything you eat raw as you will want to avoid the risk of infection. Ensure that you remain well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
It is important to avoid any activity that would raise your core temperature. As mentioned, you should be careful of engaging in rigorous exercise. Opt for low impact activities like yoga that will allow you to keep physically fit without this risk. Also, be careful of what you ingest. Poorly cleaned or cooked foods can result in infections that can cause you to suffer fevers.
Do avoid going to saunas or sitting in hot tubs for the time being. They can raise your internal temperature which may affect implantation. Generally, avoid submerging yourself even in cooler waters like a swimming pool. This can be another way through which you get an infection. Stick to warm showers.
Given the stress of going through IVF, it can be helpful to talk to a therapist. This will aid your emotional wellbeing and will give you a chance to properly voice your concerns without fear of judgement. The emotional, physical and financial toll of IVF treatments can often give rise to a negative state of mind that couples feel they should not have. Having the opportunity to unburden themselves without fear of recrimination can help relieve stress and strengthen the bond shared by the couple. Seek out a therapist that deals with clients going through IVF, as he or she will be best placed to guide you through this process and provide you with the tools to overcome this challenging period.
If you cannot find a therapist, lean on your existing support system of friends and family. You can even reach out to online support groups that cater specifically to those undergoing IVF treatment. do not isolate yourself but rather reach out for help. Even though these people may not be able to take on your burden, they can be a shoulder to cry on and cheerleader when you need it.