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IVF Diet: This Is What You Should and Shouldn’t Eat on Your Fertility Journey

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You are on your in-vitro fertilization (IVF) journey towards starting a family, and the nerves have kicked in. Before you doubt yourself or question your capabilities, let us stop you right there. Reports suggest that 1 in 8 women opt for assistive reproductive techniques to conceive their baby.

IVF is often the go-to treatment plan for most couples struggling with fertility concerns. However, you need to realize that the procedure isn’t an easy one. It involves a lot of physical and emotional turmoil. Besides the medical (and chemical) treatment options in the equation, the IVF treatment is also influenced by the diet you follow.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through a detailed IVF diet, further explaining the foods that you should and shouldn’t eat during the fertility journey.

What Category of Foods Aid IVF?

Just a quick disclaimer, every woman’s body is different. Hence there is no “standard” diet that one can follow. However, you need to understand that IVF is a sensitive journey, which involves a few specific nutritional needs to augment the success rate of the treatment.

Your fertility specialist will ask you to prioritize healthy eating. But, what does it exactly mean?

Healthy eating is synonymous with eating a balanced diet, in which your body gets the required macros and micronutrients to support the chances of conception. More than the calories, your doctor will suggest that you prioritize the nutrients you are consuming.

Here’s a category of foods that support your IVF journey:

Category of Foods Sources Significance
Zinc-rich foods -Grains

-Nuts

-Dairy products

-Meat items

-Potatoes

-Helps in balancing hormonal levels
Folic acid-rich foods -Dark leafy green vegetables

-Peanuts

-Beans

-Whole grains

-Fresh fruit

-Liver

-Supplements

-Prevents the risks of birth defects in the fetus

-Necessary prenatal vitamin

-Supports brain and spinal cord development

-Pre-pregnancy requirement – 400 mcg

Healthy fats rich foods -Walnuts

-Olive oil

-Chia seeds

-Flaxseed oil

-Supports energy storage in the body
Protein-rich foods -Lean meats

-Eggs

-Dairy products

-Beans

-Yogurt

-Supports the development of eggs in the ovaries

-Supports conception

-Provides energy to the body

-Supports the development of the baby

 

Besides these permissible categories of food, hydration is equally important to support an individual’s IVF journey. With the deteriorating weather conditions, optimal hydration is crucial to support successful implantation and the IVF journey.

Drinking enough water supports healthy blood circulation and contributes to the body’s homeostasis. However, too much of anything is bad for you. So, sit down with your IVF doctor to discuss the daily water requirements and adhere to the same.

Foods to Avoid During IVF Treatment

Like the good throughout a procedure, there are certain antagonists that one needs to be aware of. During IVF, there are certain foods that might seem harmless from the top but can end up doing a lot worse to the body and also to the chances of a successful pregnancy after the treatment.

Following are a few foods that you should better keep at an arm’s length during the treatment:

Raw Eggs

Experiencing food poisoning during your IVF treatment can impose potential harm to the body. Raw eggs are active vectors of the salmonella virus, which can do worse than good to the body. If you are undergoing IVF treatment, we’d highly recommend that you steer clear of raw eggs and even the foods that contain raw eggs like mayonnaise, biscuit, certain salad dressings, etc.

Excess Refined Sugar

While you are on your fertility journey (or even conceived successfully), the potential risk of gestational diabetes is quite common. It contributes to an enhanced risk of excess insulin production in the body, leading to an imbalance in glucose levels. Prolonged imbalance of the same can negatively affect the IVF journey. So, your doctor will likely advise you to stay away from foods that contain excess refined sugars for the time being.

Seafood

Now, this is a controversial topic. While some treat seafood as a good source of lean protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, seafood has a few food risks associated with it. Firstly, raw or improperly cooked seafood enhances the risks of food poisoning. Besides that, seafood also has a high-grade mercury level in it, which can impair the fertility journey and even affect the fetus when they are conceived.

Excess Caffeine

Although caffeine doesn’t have any impact on the actual conception during IVF, studies have found that consuming excess caffeine might impose risks of congenital disabilities, early pregnancy loss, or even a miscarriage for the individuals undergoing IVF.

Alcohol Intake

IVF or not, if you are trying for a baby or are pregnant, alcohol should be completely out of the picture. However, one of the primary reasons why your fertility doctor might advise you to stop drinking alcohol altogether before and during the treatment is to amp up the ovulation process. Alcohol can result in erratic ovulation in women and even lead to issues with fetal development down the road.

These are a handful of food types that you should consider avoiding throughout your IVF journey. However, as we said before, every patient’s body type, nutritional needs, and IVF journey is subjective. So, a diet that works for someone might not be suitable for another woman undergoing IVF.

Ideally, the best way to ascertain the correct diet plan for your IVF journey would be by discussing all the options with your doctor.

FAQs

Which diet is best for IVF?

The ideal diet for IVF depends on the patient’s nutritional needs. However, there are studies that suggest that an anti-inflammatory diet is considered great for a patient undergoing IVF. Limit the intake of processed foods, and refined foods and switch them to something more filling and healthier.

What should I eat during my 2 weeks wait for IVF?

Generally, there aren’t any specific dietary restrictions or requirements during the 2-week wait. However, you might consider eating a balanced diet as your fertility specialist prescribes.

What foods help with IVF implantation?

Foods rich in healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids are reportedly great for enhancing the IVF implantation success rate.

Conclusion

IVF is a very sensitive journey that involves a lot of ups and downs. Diet throughout this journey plays a crucial role, especially in maintaining the patient’s overall health and enhancing the procedure’s success rate. If you weren’t sure about a proper IVF diet and the dos and don’ts associated, we hope this article answers all your questions in detail.

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Somapika Dutta (B.Sc Physiology, Honours)
Somapikar holds Bachelors Degree in Physiology from University of Culcutta. She has 6+ years of experience writing in different niches, including health, tech and lifestyle. An animal enthusiast and a raging foodie, experiencing life - one day at a time.

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