There are many uncontrollable factors that influence fertility, and it can leave you feeling more than a little helpless. But if you’re reading this, you probably know that simple lifestyle changes can have a major impact on your chances of a successful mini IVF cycle. The healthier you are, the healthier your future baby is likely to be, and taking control of your habits now can make you feel a lot less helpless overall.
Dr. Anne Davis, the Medical Director of Pearl Mini-IVF, shares her top 7 lifestyle tips for increased success:
“The number one thing I’d say most of my patients need is more sleep,” said Dr. Davis. “Going from six hours to eight hours a night can really, really change things.” Getting good, quality sleep is a struggle for most of us, but there are healthy habits you can practice to get those sweet eight hours every night: a cool bedroom (around 65° F), no caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and don’t use alcohol to make you sleepy (it disrupts your natural sleep cycle). Most importantly: don’t use your phone in bed. In fact, don’t use screens at all an hour before bedtime.
What you eat impacts your health, hormones, and mood (for better or worse). We all know how important a well-balanced diet is, but what does healthy eating really mean? It doesn’t mean trendy, restrictive, or complicated. Plant-based and whole foods are best, even better if you cook your own meals at home. When altering your diet, it’s often easier to think about how to add foods like fruit, vegetables, and beans rather than subtract sugary, processed stuff. If you fill up on the good ingredients, you’ll likely find you’re too full for anything else.
3. Working out
“Exercise is great, but in moderation. I recommend four to five times a week,” said Dr. Davis. Exercise goes hand in hand with a healthy diet, and you may find one influences the other. The better you eat, the more likely you are to want to exercise! While we don’t encourage drastic changes in your exercise routine, it’s beneficial to stick to low-impact work-outs like jogging, yoga, Pilates, and even simple daily strolls.
4. Chemical additives
So many of the products we use, from plastic bottles to floor cleaner, can contain harmful chemicals that affect fertility. It’s always worth to check your cleaning products for additives like BPA and formaldehyde, but the most harmful product you probably forget about? Makeup. “If you put on heavy liquid makeup that contains things like phthalates or parabens, that sits on your face all day,” said Dr. Davis. “That’s where most of our exposure comes from, so always go for products that are as natural as possible.”
5. Prenatal vitamins
It can be overwhelming to sort through all the options for prenatal supplements, and companies will make some crazy claims to get you to buy their brand. But the good news is, you really can’t go wrong if the prenatal you take includes two things: DHA (which could possibly help grow fetal brain tissue) and 400-600 micrograms of folate. If your prenatal includes those, you’re golden.
6. Alcohol, smoking, and vaping
If you’re not pregnant yet, you don’t need to cut out alcohol completely, though it’s a good idea to start tapering off drinking. And smoking? You already know it’s bad for you. (Quitting smoking is the healthiest thing you can do, pregnant or not!) When it comes to vaping, it’s better to err on the side of caution and quit that as well. “I’m certainly going to counsel any patient that while I don’t know the exact effects vaping could have on her fertility, it’s not recommended,” said Dr. Davis.
7. Reduce stress
Make time for yourself. Indulge in a little self-care, and, especially now, try to connect with someone—even if it’s with a phone call. Try to build in time during your week, whether it’s a half-hour uninterrupted to talk or scheduling a check-in with your partner, to have a social interaction. Your mental health is just as important as your physical. (For more on how to reduce stress, check out our relaxation blog!)
Even if you haven’t started your Mini-IVF treatment, these are good habits to establish now. The sooner you incorporate these into your daily life, the better chances you’ll have of a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby.
There’s a lot in the world today that feels uncontrollable and overwhelming. Being proactive about your habits and choices can do wonders for your well-being, and can make all the difference when it comes to getting pregnant. You’ve got nothing to lose but a healthier you!