Five things you can do in preparation for embryo transfer
Posted on 3.3.17
What can you do to prepare your body for embryo transfer and ensure the best possible outcome? Here are our top five tips for preparing your body for an embryo transfer.
1. Boost your nutrition
Your body is an amazing machine that relies on good quality fuel to run at its optimum level. In preparation for pregnancy, you may want to look at your diet and see what you can do to improve your overall nutrition. Perhaps you need to reduce salt intake, drink more water or switch to wholemeal bread? Every little improvement you make will benefit you in some way, but none more so than the inclusion of 600 – 800 mcg of folic acid. If you need to take multivitamins make sure it has the right amount of folic acid. Other supplements you might want to look at including are Iron and L-Arginine which both help promote a healthy uterine lining, selenium which protects your body from free radicals and prevent chromosomal breakages and Omega 3 fatty acids which are crucial for the promotion of healthy hormone function and inflammation control.
2. Eat well / Detoxify
Clean eating is the health buzz word of the decade and leaves most people rolling their eyes. But if you want to boost your chances of falling pregnant you may have to join the clean eating tribe start annoying all your friends. Trust us – it’ll be worth it in the long run. The best foods you can eat include whole grains, spinach, kale, good fats such as Omega-3 and coconut oil, organic meats, fresh vegetables and lots of water. It’s time to cut back on alcohol or ditch it entirely, reduce your caffeine intake and quit smoking. Within a short time, you should start to see your energy levels improve and your overall health increase. More importantly, you will be lowering the levels of free radicals in your body and will become a more welcoming environment for the embryo.
According to a report in the Guardian ‘Acupuncture can increase the chances of getting pregnant for women undergoing fertility treatment by 65%,’. This information is from a study published in 2008 that concluded, ‘[…] acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation’. So far, so good; the science feels fairly solid and the practice of acupuncture has been conducted in China for hundreds of years to regulate female reproduction.
It’s thought that the practice of acupuncture stimulates blood flow to the uterus and inhibits the biological stress response. A counter argument is that the treatment has a placebo effect on recipients. Recipients expect acupuncture will reduce their stress levels and due to this expectation they do feel less anxious.
Either way, the evidence suggests that women who have acupuncture before and after an embryo transfer have slightly higher success rates and feel more confident and relaxed about the whole process.
Stress and hypersensitivity evolved in humans as a part of the fight or flight instinct and a way of coping with dangerous situations. However, modern life often means our overstimulated brains respond to difficult situations with the same stress response even though the ‘threat’ is minimal. Small stresses compound one another and snowball into big stresses that leave you standing in line at the supermarket, fists clenched, wishing you’d chosen the other line.
No one appreciates being told to ‘just relax’ – it’s not that easy, but if you want to improve your chances of successful implantation you’re going to have to find a way. Now might be a good time to learn what normally triggers your stress and develop techniques for minimising it, avoiding it or eliminating it. If yoga relaxes you - take up a regular class, if traffic jams boil your blood - avoid them, if music relaxes you – make a stress busting playlist. Whatever it takes to reduce your anxiety, do it. If in doubt, just close your eyes, picture your favourite holiday destination and take slow deep breaths.
5. Be prepared for the longest two weeks of your life
You need to be prepared for the long wait between the implantation procedure and the pregnancy test. Many patients say that this is the hardest part of the entire process and some of the toughest weeks of their lives. Bear this in mind in the weeks before your transfer and make an action plan that works for you. Perhaps this means not telling your awkward cousin who always says the wrong thing, or keeping yourself busy so you don’t end up clock watching. Some patients benefit from support groups, others binge on the latest Netflix boxset. Whatever is right for you and keeps you from getting anxious and frustrated. When you take the pregnancy test at the end of two weeks you shouldn’t feel dishevelled and drained; you should feel excited and optimistic.
Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive or definitive. No two cases are the same and every patient should consult with a health professional to find out what steps they can take to secure the best possible outcome from the embryo transfer.
If you have advice you want to share then please leave a comment in the section below.
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