Let’s talk about food!
I’ve always tried to be healthy in preparation for and IVF cycle. I already don’t smoke and I don’t drink coffee or anything with caffeine for that matter. We all know I’m a big drinker but I always quit about a week or 2 before a cycle.
When it comes to food I’ve always tried to keep it low in refined carbs and lately we’ve tried like hell to cut out sugar. I even have a healthy Instagram account to keep accountable and all that.
But there are times when I fall off the wagon and when I fall, I fall hard. And since we’re trying to conceive I feel so guilty. Like guilty to the point where I think the cycle’s already ruined after one burger from Wendy’s or a giant Twix (or both.. You gotta have something savoury after something sweet right?). After the guilt has passed I start to get really angry. Why can everyone who can get pregnant on their own eat anything they want?? Why do I have to be extra healthy? It’s just not fair!!!
And then there’s the question of which diet is the best for fertility? I’ve read that dairy is good. Then I read that dairy is evil and Vegan is the way to go. “It Starts With The Egg” says Mediterranean Diet. Some RE’s say Ketogenic. There’s also Paleo. So I don’t really know what I’m doing. At home I’m about 90% low carb and no sugar (or what I call, Kinda Keto) but if I don’t meal plan or don’t have leftovers for work or that little monster in my tummy wants chocolate, then all bets are off.
After this last failure I went on a complete bender and I really haven’t even exercised. And yesterday I had dirty boxed mac n cheese and a giant Twix and I’m still feeling guilty about it. Did I just fuck up everything? Are these eggs already shit? Who knows.
I think it’s because I don’t buy that there’s a specific diet that’s good for fertility based on the fact there’s so many conflicting stories. Maybe you all can help me out, please. If you’re pregnant from IVF, what did you eat and what food or diet did you think was the golden ticket? And if you’re not pregnant yet, what are you eating in preparation for treatment?
What are your thoughts on fertility diets?
28 thoughts on “Feed Me, Seymour!”
Lol… Love the title. I struggled with the diet mindset when I went thru my IVF’s too. Granted neither were successful, but I highly doubt my diet impacted either. In my opinion it’s about moderation. IVF is hard and if I throw a super strict diet on top of it all… I feel like I am setting myself up to be more stressed out than I need to be.
As I head into my embryo transfer in a month or two… My goal is to maintain. Keep a healthy lifestyle from now thru the 2WW with mostly clean/unprocessed food and if I need to plan a Friday DQ treat into it all, well, gosh darn it I am going for it. I will be mindful if I am too far to one extreme or another and be kind to myself and forgive myself when I fall down. After all, there is nothing like comfort food when feeling stress and discomfort.
The only thing my RE suggested once was to stick to a lower carb diet, but that is already how we try to eat so I don’t feel the need to radically change strategies now.
Best of luck! Curious to see what others post on this question.
This is exactly what I needed to hear (read). Thank you so much. We definitely have enough on our plates to begin with. I’m going to try to not be so hard on myself because the more I restrict myself the more I want the “bad stuff”.
While stimming, I felt so shitty that all I tried to do was eat a lot of protein and not be hard on myself. Between transfer and beta though, I went with a mix of old wives tales and science. Pineapple core. All room temp or warm food. Healthy fats everyday (avocado, walnuts, olive oil). Mostly lean protein and whole grains. Both embryos implanted and because of my PCOS, I do believe the diet helped, but I can’t say it would have made a difference if I’d done things differently. I think it may have worked out either way, but the fact that I wasn’t stressed out totally and /able/ to eat healthy may have had more to do with it.
I definitely try to do all of this especially the tww pineapple core stuff. I think after 2 failures it’s difficult to know what’s right anymore. Thanks for the advice 🙂
I think fertility diets are crap. Like you said, there’s so many different, conflicting ones. Dr. braverman told me not to eat gluten or dairy so I did that (and still am doing that). But I think that’s just because those two things are proven to be bad for endometriosis. I also cut out most sugar when I was IVFing. Who the hell knows if that made any difference though. I can tell you that the guilt never goes away. I eat sugar again now, but every time I do I feel guilty, thinking I’m going to kill the baby. The shit we put ourselves through physically and mentally is unreal. I say just try to be generally healthy (which it sounds like you are) and you’ll be fine! An occasional slip up will not eff things up, I promise! I agree it’s not fair that fertile people never have to worry about this stuff! It is so unfair!
This really makes me feel loads better, thanks so much. I do try to eat as little processed stuff as possible. I’m going to try to not be so hard on myself and just listen to my body.
I didn’t realize that gluten and dairy are bad for endometriosis. Excuse the language, but I’m fucked! I’m a Wisconsinite, dairy is in my blood (as I sit here eating a grilled cheese sandwich). 😦
Oooh, don’t worry girl, I think the gluten is worse than the dairy. There are so many good gluten free breads and pastas out there that I bet you wouldn’t even miss it THAT much. Dr. B said that “a little bit of dairy” is ok, so you could still enjoy your grilled cheeses and other treats sometimes. But again, who even knows if it makes a difference? I’m sure there are plenty of people who get pregnant and stay pregnant with endo that eat gluten and dairy! I just blindly follow whatever Braverman says like a little sheep haha. Xo.
Totally feeling this way too! It’s the guilt that does you in! Like you said, people not doing ivf don’t even have to pay a second thought to any of this! People can even smoke and drink and still get pregnant! I say we just try to be easier on ourselves. It’s hard enough going through this process, I say let’s eat what we want! No guilt!
No guilt for sure! Thank you for your kind words!
I’ve got nothing sorry. I’m sitting here with an empty bowl of mac n cheese next to me.
Like you it drives me crazy that everyone else can eat and drink what they want and have healthy babies, while I try so hard and it doesn’t work. So this time I’ve been trying, but I slip up sometimes.
Mac and Cheese is my cryptonite! I think we should focus on emotional health first. Then maybe everything else will fall into place.xx
I hate it that you are beating yourself up about details. I get it , I’ve blamed myself for everything from scented shampoo to hanging Christmas lights, but the reality is there is so much we can’t control. Why do drug addicts who survive on alcohol and corner store junk get pregnant?
You can only do the best you can in keeping your body healthy, not thinking it is starving, and nourished. One Twix, hey a week of Twix, won’t change that.
Thank you, I hate beating myself up too. I will be better :). Everyone’s tips have helped.
I’m new to the IVF world but honestly I think you are doing great. I really REALLY don’t think eating junk food now and then is going to make one bit of difference and you really need to lighten up on yourself. Honestly you are doing lots to keep yourself healthy, the best thing you can do is to let go of the guilt (my two cents).
I think I’ve been googling too much and freaking myself out. It has to stop :)… I’m trying to follow your blog but it’s not letting me for some reason. But good luck with your retrieval!!
I think it’s all BS to get us to stress out even more than we already are. Nothing is proven, it’s all just whatever so-and-so says. I didn’t follow any diet at all leading up to or during any part of IVF. The ONLY thing I did was after my transfer. I ate pineapple WITH the core every other day for 10 days. I tried to drink pure pomegranate juice, but even cutting it by half with water, I could barely choke it down, so that only lasted 2-3 days. Honestly I don’t feel like diet has a darn thing to do with it. It’s all hormones and chemicals and whether you hit the luck of the draw. I’m gluttonous and lazy and I STILL got pregnant..so what does that tell you? 😀 (I will say that now that I’m pregnant, I try to be more careful with what I eat, meaning trying to eat healthier things and less sugar, and lots of water daily. You can’t torture yourself though!)
That really does make me feel better. I’ll try not to be so hard on myself :).
My viewpoint might be mute since I didn’t go through ivf, but worrying about what your eating is probably more stressful than indulging every once in awhile. I feel like if you are eating pretty healthily (you know, fruits and veggies and the like) dipping your Oreos in a snickers blizzard occasionally isn’t going to mess anything up
Thank you, that really does make me feel better 🙂
Me too…my first IVF I was good and cut out the sugar and carbs and when that didn’t work I thought F*%# that!! Then it was Christmas, then it was BFN, then it was Easter, and now it is cycle 3, I’m just like you- it’s not fair!!!! It sucks, why do we feel bad about these things???? I’m sorry, I’m not being helpful!!! I’m just empathising with you – you are not alone!!!! 😬
The empathy really helps. I’m glad I’m not the only one over thinking a chocolate. I’m going to try and not sweat it though. We have enough on our plates. xx
Honestly, I think the diet link to fertility is BS; just like the herbal stuff. It may make you feel better and like you have some control, but I don’t feel like it really does much. If you’re infertile, diet won’t change that. Skinny people, fat people, addicts, etc all get pregnant with no problem. The goal is to be as positive as possible, and if you’re stressing over eating, that can’t be good. Just let go, try to fit in some healthy foods, and know that it will be ok. *hugs*
Thanks! That definitely makes me feel better. 🙂
Hey! I have been doing loads of research on this …. its all so conflicting but you might find my last post Reconnaissance Confidence and the links on it to prior research useful and maybe at times a little comical 🙂 x
Great read! Thank you for sharing!
The first cycle, I feel like I gave up everything possible. I quit drinking about 5 months before, I cut back caffeine, I cut my running mileage in half, from 40ish to 20ish per week. I was in my first semester of a PhD program, and my husband had started a new job with odd hours, so I didn’t eat super well. Still, I felt like I had really restricted myself and was convinced that it would pay off in bountiful embryos for genetic screening.
For this cycle, I’ve been more laid back. Still cut out alcohol, but I’ve indulged in a little more coffee and jogged about 6 miles per day really slowly. (I’m down to walking, since I’m probably 5 or 6 days from retrieval and bloated.) I’m eating more healthfully, since I took a LOA from school and have had time to cook. My idea of diet is “every food group in moderation,” “nothing my gr-gr-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” and “if I want dessert, then I have to cook/bake/freeze it.” I feel better and more relaxed this time around, so I’ll be interested to see how retrieval goes next week.
Best wishes to you!
I’m very glad you’re more relaxed! I am now too, as far as food is concerned. Wishing you everything of the best!