PREPARING FOR CONCEPTION
The time while you are preparing for conception is one of the most important times to maintain a healthy body and mind in preparation for the journey ahead.
Just like an athlete preparing for a competition, you should keep your health at its peak in the months before IVF in order to maximize the chance of pregnancy. We understand fertility treatment can be stressful but with the right support through Sunfert Wellness, we can help improve your chances of conceiving.
Besides eating a healthy and balanced diet, eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day and preferably 8-10 servings for vitamins, minerals, trace elements and antioxidants.
Exercise & Weight
Perform regular exercises and try to keep your weight within the ideal body weight for your height. Being overweight or underweight can reduce the chances of conceiving. Women who are underweight often have problems with ovulation. Women who are overweight or obese tend to have more fat in their bodies contributing to the increase amount of oestrogen (female hormones) in the body. Obesity in men also has a detrimental effect on sperm motility and erectile function.
Vitamins & Minerals
Taking vitamins and minerals help boost your fertility and improve the health of your pregnancy. For women, it is important to take folic acid supplement, starting at least a month before beginning your treatment cycle. It is especially essential during early pregnancy for normal cell division to reduce the risk of fetal abnormalities like cleft lip and neural tube defects. As for men, several studies have shown the beneficial effects of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants on sperm quality and it is recommended to start taking 3 months prior to treatment. It is advisable to take anti-oxidants supplements especially if you are a smoker. Anti-oxidants such as zinc, selenium and vitamins A, C and E have been shown to improve sperm integrity and may improve embryo quality.
If you are consuming traditional herbs or supplements which may contain large doses of female hormones such as tong kwai and pat chan, you should discontinue them especially during the injection phase of treatment.
You should try and cut back on caffeine where possible. Several studies have demonstrated that an increase in caffeine intake may decrease the chance of conceiving. We recommend limiting caffeine intake to about 2 cups of tea or coffee per day. In addition to the potential impact on fertility, caffeine can impair your body’s absorption of iron and calcium. It has also been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.
When trying to conceive, it’s best to avoid taking any drugs, prescribed or otherwise. Some medicines can decrease fertility, so inform your doctor that you are trying for a baby if you need a prescribed medicine. The use of recreational drugs is contraindicated while attempting to conceive and during pregnancy.
Going through fertility treatment can be ‘stressful’ and both of you are likely to feel a range of emotions before, during and after treatment. Try to reduce your stress levels by delegating your work or organizing your work schedule around your IVF programme. In order to help alleviate some of this stress, Sunfert has a MindBody Fertility programme to assist you. You are given an option to undergo specialized counselling to help you cope with the potential stress of fertility treatment.
Cigarette smoke contains many toxic substances that impact both male and female fertility. Studies have shown that smoking may decrease fertility by 30%. Therefore, stop smoking if you are a smoker.
Alcohol disrupts the hormonal balance of the female reproductive system, leading to menstrual irregularities and even anovulatory cycles (menstrual cycles where ovulation fails to occur). These occurrences can drastically decrease a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant and thus affect fertility. As for men, excessive alcohol intake is also detrimental to sperm quality and if consumed on a regular basis, can decrease their sperm count and even affect sperm quality. If you must take alcohol, consume alcohol within the allowable limits (1 unit per day for the female partner and 2 units per day for the male partner).