IVF Advice: supplements, food and diet (oh my!)

Now that we’re starting down the path of IVF, I thought I’d tap the collective brain of the internet and get some advice.  What things should I be doing to get ready?  What did you do differently for your IVF cycle?

We have two consultations set up in September at area clinics, one where we’re currently patients and another with great reviews where some friends got pregnant with IVF first try. I’d think this gives us probably two cycles before we’d start an IVF protocol.  I’d like to use my time wisely and start preparing my body now.

Things I am already doing: pre-natal, pregnitude (extra folic acid and myo-inositol), cut out full caff coffee, cut down on the booze, eat healthy (try to do organic, but don’t obsess over it), moderate exercise.  I’ve never been one for soda, and I avoid it even more now because of the caffeine.  I mainly cook my dinners, bring my lunches and eat lots of fruits and veggies.  I rarely eat red meat, I try to eat lots of lean proteins, and am always trying to cram as many veggies as possible into a meal.  I avoid processed foods as much as possible, but will still occasionally have a slice of velveeta on my egg sandwich. This doesn’t always mean my meals are picture perfect health wise, but I think overall we do pretty well.

I’ve always been really hesitant to overhaul my diet with a drastic changes or to start being really militant about things like organic produce because that kind of thing really stresses me out.  Some people like feeling like they have some measure of control, but for me, I think the stress of trying to adhere to a strict eating style would be really hard for me.  Food is social and shared and a pleasure.  Taking that away would be one more thing I don’t get to have (the main thing being a baby, obviously).  I don’t want to act like a pregnant lady before I’m pregnant because being able to drink wine, and eat sushi and runny egg yolks are all things I get to do that pregnant ladies DON’T get to do.  It’s my one leg up on the club I’m so desperately trying to join, I get to eat/drink whatever I want!

These are the same reasons I have never given up alcohol 100%.  While doing IUIs, I cut back for sure, and after the ovulation, I’d try to keep it to no more than one glass at a time, maybe once a weekend or something.  But at the same time, missing out on fun events with my friends (like going wine tasting) just seemed to suck the joy out of me even more.  I felt like I was being punished.  And it made the negative results that much harder because I felt like I’d restrained myself so much that I deserved a positive, and it still didn’t happen.  So if I had more than a glass here and there, I didn’t beat myself up about it.  I would turn down events I didn’t think were “worth it” (like happy hour with my husband’s coworkers) or events where I didn’t feel comfortable not drinking and getting heckled about it.

But, on the other hand, I will of course do whatever it takes to have a baby and maybe I’m not trying hard enough.

So, what’s your advice?  Do I need to add back in Vitamin D and fish oil (tried both for a year and stopped because I noticed no differences)?  Do I need to try royal jelly or CoQ10? Are we all fooling ourselves with the supplement game?  Should I give up dairy and gluten (please say no!)?  What else did you do for your lead up to IVF?

6 thoughts on “IVF Advice: supplements, food and diet (oh my!)

  1. I did take CoQ10 and Royal Jelly and Vit D and did go crazy about organic food and totally cut out alchol and caffine for 3 months before our IVF cycle…..and got a BFN. I’m glad I did all those things because now I know that I did all I could, but for my upcoming cycle I’m going to take it a lot easier and not be so strict. I’m still going to give up alcohol for 6 weeks before the cycle as there are studies that indicate that drinking up to 6 weeks before can lower chances but other than that I’m just going to eat healthily and take care of myself

    • Right, I do agree I’d like to look back and have no regrets. But at the same time I know that, for me, being really strict raises my stress level. For some people I think the sense of control is calming, I’m sort of the opposite. I am going to clean up my diet and maybe add in Royal Jelly to my supplement list. It can’t hurt, and I suppose it just might help…Good luck with your next cycle! When will you start the 2nd round?

      • You’ve totally got to do what is right for you, the last thing needed in this process is extra stress! I’m going to start in October with ET probably in the middle of November x

  2. Hey there Lydia. Good luck with the IVF. I am 10 yrs older than you but I did my first IVF in June, thought I’d tell you about it. Got 7 eggs and all fertilised. 6 of them hung in there for 3 days and looked good all that time but by day 5 there were only 2 blasts but the embryologist was impressed with the quality (considering my age) which he rated as something like 5AA and 4AB. Well it still didn’t work, but we were happy to see that my eggs weren’t so terribly bad like we expected. Now, all this is to say that I have a low AMH and I really feel that my diet and supps helped get some okay eggs. For 2 weeks prior and throughout follicular phase of ivf I ate: Avocado at least twice a day, 70% protein each day – E.G. eggs for brekkie, chicken salad lunch, steak or fish and veg for dins, NO SUGAR, minimal carbs. A very small, weak coffee (decaf is bad – chemical agents to remove caf), one dairy serving, whole milk or yoghurt. Heaps of water with lemon (alkalising the bod). Supplements: Pregnancy supp includes 8mg folic, C0Q10, spirulina, fish oil, 3000 iu Vit D3.

    Don’t stop your fish oil – it’s good and take it with the Coq10 as that needs fat to metabolise. And hope I don’t sound like I’m lecturing but keep taking Vitamin D3 make sure it’s not just D but D3.

    After retrieval, I did have myself a small cake and a glass of bubbly as the eggs were no longer an issue, Then back to no alcohol or sugar after that. I don’t think a glass of wine will really hurt during IVF but it’s not worth the risk really.

    I have only had one pregnancy – a blighted ovum last year – so I reckon I have mostly bad eggs like most women my age, but I do believe it only takes one. You’re quite nice and young so I think it will happen for you. Hang in there.


    • Thank you so much for sharing your story Byrnsey. Honestly, it’s so helpful to see how other women prepare for IVF. I think you’ve inspired me to add a few more supplements back into my regimen (fish oil, D3 and I think C0Q10). These seem to be really common and they are all easy enough to do. Can’t hurt, might help, so why not?

      Are you thinking of doing another try at IVF?

      • Yes, we are thinking about another try. We live in NZ, I’m a kiwi and we’re waiting for my visa to come through to live in USA (my husband is Texan). We thought we’d try a round of IVF in the states too.

        Re: COQ10 – get one that has the word “ubiquinol” on the bottle – it’s a more pure and powerful version.

        Re: Avocado – you may have seen this or a similar article: http://www.yourivfjourney.com/the-perfect-ivf-diet-ask-an-avocado/


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