At times (as in always,) I have a tendency to be a bit of a control freak. I’m not the type of person who can just sit back and let things happen, nor am I the type to just let other people “handle things.” I love to be involved. Scratch that, I HAVE to be involved.
Our IVF cycle was no different. Despite trusting our wonderful team of doctors, nurses, and embryologists to do what they do best, I felt like it was up to me to take things to the next level. We had put so much of ourselves into trying to get pregnant, I was determined to give us the best chance possible of a BFP.
While I am no doctor, and can certainly make no promises of positive pregnancy tests, I thought I’d share a few of the things I did prior to our first embryo transfer.
Gorged Myself on Avocado & Other “Good” Fats
I once read an article claiming that diets rich in monounsaturated fats often resulted in live birth rates over 3x higher than those without.
Monounsaturated fats…a fancy name for foods like the following:
- Nuts & Nut Butters
- Olive Oil
Being that I have a rather intense fondness for avocado and guacamole, this one wasn’t too difficult. In the 1-2 months leading up to our embryo transfer, I aimed to eat at least one avocado a day. I also amped up my “fatty” diet with lots of olive oil based salad dressings, more nut butters than usual (I preferred peanut & almond), and I opted to snack on tons of nuts…walnuts are usually highly recommended.
In my quest for “IVF Tools,” I kept coming across articles and forums that suggested the use of this acupuncture to increase your chances of successful implantation.
The idea behind acupuncture is that it not only helps the hopeful mommy-to-be relax, but it can also increase the blood flow to her reproductive organs.
I underwent treatments one to two times a week in the months leading up to our embryo transfer, including the night before and a few hours following.
There’s something you should know….I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy foods. I order my Thai food less than mild and am terrified of hidden jalapenos in my salsa. Before our transfer, however, I heard that the heat from cayenne pepper can actually help increase your system’s blood flow.
That was all I needed to hear. In the weeks before the transfer, I was sprinkling cayenne pepper on just about everything that touched my tongue.
- Eggs – check
- Pasta – check
- Ice Cream – why not?
Ok, so maybe the whole ice cream thing is a little far-fetched, but the vast majority of our food included a delicate sampling of this spicy seasoning.
Warming Up the Old Uterus
On the quest for successful implantation, many of us IVF-ers have come across the concept of keeping your uterus happy and warm for incoming beans. They say that a warm uterus can help make things, how shall I put this – “stickier.”
You might be wondering, but how exactly does one “warm up” their uterus? I’m glad you asked. Here are a few of the things I did pre-transfer.
- Kept My Feet Covered – ALWAYS
- In the weeks leading up to our transfer, my bare feet were not to be seen. Closed-toe shoes, slippers, and thick, fuzzy socks were my best friends. They say your feet have a direct connection to your uterus, so keeping the chill away is a must.
- Heating Pads
- Lying around with a heating pad on your stomach is one of the best ways to warm up your uterus. Not only does it work perfectly, but it also feels cozy and relaxing.
- Warm Food & Drinks
- Avoiding cold food and beverages is another great way to keep things toasty. I chowed down on tons of soups and drank caffeine-free tea all the time. I even avoided cold water and opted for room-temperature bottles instead.
Pineapple (The Core, Specifically)
Pineapple, in my opinion, is nature’s gift to women undergoing IVF. Containing an enzyme known as bromelain, this tropical fruit has all the makings to help you achieve the sticky uterus you’ve been hoping for.
Here’s the important thing to remember, however. Most of the bromelain is found in the core of the pineapple, so when you’re cutting up your fruit, don’t leave this chunk out. Here’s how I used my pineapple.
- Cut up the pineapple into five slices, including the core.
- Starting the evening of the embryo transfer, consume one slice each day until you’ve eaten the whole thing.
In following suit with the warm foods rule, I chose to either grill my slices or warm them up in a skillet before eating.
Taking Control of Your IVF Cycle
I was blessed with a BFP after only one cycle of IVF. Whether these little tips and tricks had anything to do with it, I suppose I’ll never know for sure.
There’s one thing I do know, however.
When it comes time to try for baby #2, I will resort directly back to my life of good fats, pineapple cores, and fuzzy socks.
Have any of you tried any “old wives’ tales” to increase your chances of success?