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7 Ways to Prepare Your Body for Fertility Treatment, Physically and Mentally
A blog by Jessi Wallace, August 10, 2015
I am no stranger to undergoing fertility treatments, taking breaks, and starting back up again. Over the last 3.5 years, it has been a roller coaster of trying to conceive, between Clomid, Femara, the ultrasounds, the blood work, and negative test after negative test. Once we started to creep up on the three-year mark, we decided to embrace the fact that oral medication was no longer an option, and we officially started the dreaded “fertility treatment break” to recharge my body.
This fall, we’re embarking on an adventure of Follistim + IUI, so in the meantime I have been trying to relax and prepare myself for what is to come. I’ve noticed that anytime I take a break—especially if it’s at least 3 months long—my body responds better when I start treatment again. And since I have PCOS, my body is very sensitive to what I expose it to. Because of this little fact, here are 7 ways I am preparing my body for more fertility treatment – physically and mentally:
Prenatal Vitamins. It is very important to get on prenatal vitamins and stay on them throughout childbearing years. Finding one with a good level of folic acid is key (I take 800 mcg), but talk to your doctor about what vitamin might work best for you based on your circumstance. Whether you need a certain level of iron, or folate instead of folic acid, it’s best to get on one you can tolerate and remember to take daily.
Switch to Paraben- and Sufate-free Body Products. I had no idea how hard this was. Parabens and sulfates are in pretty much everything. The primary reason for weeding them out is because research suggests they mimic estrogen. While I am sure I would have to be exposed to a high level in order for them to affect me that way, when you read your labels and discover that they are in pretty much everything you use, it’s hard to not panic a bit, especially with PCOS. I switched my face and body wash, shampoo and deodorant.
Eat More Greens. Dark leafy greens provide great levels of folate and iron, which is good for your blood, and in turn may be good for your uterus and growing a healthy baby. If you’re not much of a veggie eater, there are a slew of smoothie recipes online designed to help you sneak in some of those leafy greens without the taste. I personally love warm wilted spinach with feta, or steamed broccoli with sea salt and cracked pepper.
Hydrate. Drinking 64-100 oz of water each day will keep you hydrated and healthy. With 60% of the human body being composed of water (much higher percentages in our blood, brain and muscles), if we’re not drinking enough, we’re starving ourselves. In addition to water, drinking red raspberry leaf tea and pomegranate juice is great for the uterine lining and an excellent way to prepare for fertility treatment. Raspberry leaf tea is found to tone the uterus, while pomegranate juice encourages blood flow. Both beverages have helped me go from 4-5mm linings to 8-9mm linings, so I will definitely load up on both prior to ovulation.
Exercise More. I’m guilty of not being very active. In fact, I used to be a lot better about it, but starting the break when I did meant I also lost a lot of motivation. Now that we’re just a couple of months out from starting Follistim, I’ll get back into exercising at least three times per week, whether that means taking walks in the evening at home, attending a Zumba class, or taking more stairs at work.
Get More Sleep. I take my sleep very seriously. When we’re lacking sleep, we’re more fatigued, we don’t think clearly, and these can lead to higher stress levels, which in turn can affect fertility. I aim for 8 hours of sleep each night, and have done pretty well to average 7-9 a majority of the time.
Go on Vacation. This is the primary reason why our break is so long. We have one little girl thanks to Clomid, and she is our miracle. TTC under infertility can make you put your life on hold. I was very guilty of that. We still went on small vacations, but we always had this “someday we’ll go to…” daydream going on and we finally decided enough is enough. The reason we’re not pursuing Follistim until the fall is because we’re going to take our daughter to Disney World first! Planning this trip of a lifetime has been so much fun, and has given us something big to look forward to. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s a lot to plan. But yes, it will be worth it, and after the trip we will feel recharged and ready to conquer the next step in our infertility journey.
These are ways that I am preparing myself for our next fertility treatment. Do you have any recommendations to add?