10 ways to prepare your body and mind for IVF treatment

A Consultant Gynaecologist shares his advice

It's World Infertility Awareness Month this June, increasing awareness of the many fertility issues experienced by couples across the globe.

MORE: Ola and James Jordan's emotional IVF journey with daughter Ella and hopes for second baby

Did you know that sadly one in seven couples in the UK have trouble conceiving, and those who choose to undergo IVF may do at least three rounds of treatment before falling pregnant?

IVF, which stands for 'In vitro fertilisation', is an incredible life-changing process. By 2100, over 300 million babies will have been conceived through the fertility treatment - an amazing number.

If you and your partner are experiencing fertility problems and are considering IVF, there are several ways you can prepare for the treatment both physically and mentally.

HELLO! spoke to Rehan Salim, Consultant Gynaecologist and Sub Specialist in Reproductive Medicine from the Lister Fertility Clinic at The Portland Hospital, for his advice on how best to prepare.

Rehan told us: "IVF treatment can be both physically and emotionally demanding, but there are ways you can prepare for the IVF journey and increase your chances of a successful, healthy pregnancy."

 

How to prepare the body for IVF treatment

Below are a few actions you can take to ensure your body is prepared for the impending IVF journey and treatment.

  • Maintain a healthy weight by keeping active and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Avoid excessive exercise or eating unhealthy junk food. Rapid weight loss immediately before an IVF cycle should also be avoided.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and taking recreational illegal drugs  
  • Increase your uptake of vitamins and minerals by taking prenatal supplements. This can include essential vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin D, and folic acid.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake through coffee, tea, and energy drinks
  • Avoid travelling to countries or regions that could potentially put you at risk of exposure to infectious diseases which could delay treatment, such as the Zika virus.

 

How to mentally prepare for IVF treatment

Fertility issues and the inability to have a child are considered to be among the most difficult challenges that individuals and couples may encounter.

This is why before and during your IVF journey, it’s important to ensure you are in the right mindset and try to keep your stress to a minimum. Below are a few tips to help you mentally prepare for IVF…

  • Reduce stress and get plenty of rest by getting good quality and length of sleep for roughly seven to eight hours a night.
  • Try some relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, or practising breathing exercises to calm the mind and focus it on the present.
  • Take up counselling or therapy to discuss your emotions with an expert. Counselling can offer a safe, confidential space to explore difficult or painful feelings, and discuss treatment options, or coping mechanisms. The Lister Fertility Clinic provides a free of charge, confidential counselling service of 'Open Door' sessions to anyone going through IVF treatments both before, during treatment, and beyond. This is available for individual patients or couples.
  • Educate yourself about the IVF process and potential side effects, to try to stamp out fear and anxiety born from uncertainty. Instead of relying on Google, don’t be afraid to reach out to your fertility consultant to ask questions.
  • Communication is key during IVF so speak to friends and family about your feelings and concerns. You can also speak to others who are going through the IVF journey as well by joining an infertility support group. This can help you connect with like-minded people going through shared experiences, to get further advice and tips, and reassurance.

The Lister Fertility Clinic at The Portland Hospital is part of HCA Healthcare UK

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