When people find out you are trying to get pregnant, you are immediately flooded with suggestions on things you should be doing.
“Did you try just having sex everyday for a month?”
“Just get drunk and have sex, it worked for me!”
“Did you try laying on your back with your feet up on the air afterwards?”
And them my all time favorite: “Just relax. You’ll get pregnant.”
And the reality is, if you are having trouble getting pregnant, chances are that “just relaxing” is not going to get you pregnant. And with my “low ovarian reserves” just doing it the good, old fashioned way and then sitting around eating french fries, crossing our fingers, and hoping for the best, is not going to get me pregnant. So at the beginning of March we started our next IVF cycle with a retrieval in April and (hopefully) implantation following that. Right now I am starting the fertility hormones plus bi-weekly ultrasounds to see how my follicles are growing. I get very anxious just waiting from one appointment to the next to see if the medications are doing their job. So in addition to all the wonders that science and modern medicine are doing to help me get pregnant, here is a list of some of the other things I am doing on my own.
- Acupuncture: I see Sara at Tranquil Body and have had great experiences. She chooses acupuncture points based on where I am in my IVF cycle. The points help with increasing blood flow to the uterus, stimulating follicle development, balancing the endocrine system and increasing the thickness of the uterine lining. I actually really love getting acupuncture. The needles are very small and can pinch for a second or two, but don’t really hurt. But it also comes with a bonus massage, recommendations for supplements, and you get to talk to someone (who is not your doctor or mom or your husband!) about where you are in your cycle, how things are feeling, what is going on, ect. Which is wonderful because you need someone to talk to during this process. Trust me on that!
- Fertility Smoothies: I have always been back and forth on the smoothies but I told a friend about these a few years ago and she swears by them! The recipe is from Lori Bregman and you can click Here for the recipe and to read up on what all the ingredients do. The ingredients can be expensive but it feels good that once a day I know I am putting ingredients in my body that are helping and supporting my follicle growth and maybe waking them up and saying “hey you wanna get some of those eggs ready for next month.” I have this cartoon image of me being lazy, sitting on the couch, eating french fries of course, and a cartoon image of my follicles laying next to me saying “yeah we’re gonna just sit here and do nothing, catch me next month.” (does anyone else daydream in cartoon, or just me? ok, moving on.)
- Acai Bowls: a reader recently told me about a new study that found that high levels of acai berry can significantly improve outcomes for women undergoing IVF. So similar to the fertility smoothies, I am trying to eat more açaí when I can. Trader Joe’s has some relatively inexpensive frozen pouches but my all time favorite in town are the De-lectable Acai Bowls from Beech. Sooooo good. And hey, science told me to eat them. So worth the $10 in my opinion.
- Circle and Bloom: A friend told me about the C+B app forever ago and I don’t know why I just now waited to look into it. In a nutshell, it is mind over body mediation that focuses on infertility. A little pricey at $59, but hey when you are dropping $10,000 on an IVF, what’s another sixty dollars? Chump change I tell yea. (you have to laugh about these things. just laugh and move on). Anyways, the IVF Mind-Body Program has 18 different audio sessions that are written based off what day in your cycle you are in. I am a big believer in mind over body. It’s powerful and if you give it a try, there is no telling what you can do. My friend told me it helped her a lot with de-stressing prior to her procedures.
- Affirmations and Guided Relaxations: So if you liked the idea of Circle and Bloom like I mentioned above, but you aren’t willing to commit to the $59, then have no fear. I have found several similar things I want to share with you, including some that I do daily. If you search YouTube, you will find several free audio programs designed for IUI and IVF. They may be labeled as hypnosis therapy, guided relaxations, visualizations, mediations, or affirmations. But the point is you take the time each day to calm your body and tell your mind to focus it’s energy on what it needs to be doing to make those healthy strong eggs! Some of my favorite I have found on You Tube are here, here and here. If (ahem… WHEN) we get an embryo, on the day of transfer, I plan to stay in the chair and do this one.
Other things I have discovered.
- Mayan Abdominal Massage: a friend messaged me recently about THIS clinic. Haven’t been myself but I what I have read online is that Maya Abdominal Therapy uses “hands on techniques help restore proper alignment of the uterus and ovaries.” This might be really good option if you are in that “unexplained infertility” boat and haven’t started treatment yet but are looking into more holistic approaches first.
- Bowenwork: My friend Liz is a Certified Bowenwork Practitioner and she recommended I come in and see her for a few sessions prior to my IVF in 2015. Bowenwork promotes deep relaxation and releases muscle tension. Although it is not directly a fertility treatment per se, I think in my case it helped my entire body relax and release any unwanted tension so that my body could focus on the IVF.
- Fertility Diet: since we have been on the While-30 train lately and doing my smoothies and acai bowls, I felt as though I was pretty much already on a baby-making friendly diet. So I haven’t been too focused on the fertility diet. But if you are looking for a diet plan that is catered to fertility, check out this book. It’s also a great read for anyone who is wanting more information about possible reasons for infertility.
So I bet the first question you have is, how do you have time to do all of this? And the answer is, I don’t. My house is a disaster, I have laundry pilling up for day, and my eyebrows are long over do for a waxing. But you do what you have to do and know that it’ll all be worth it one day. Sweet Liam who is passed out in his crib right now is proof of that. Did any of you out there do anything during your IUI or IVF? I am always curious to hear from other people! Comment below or send me an email! And sending all the baby dust and happy vibes to anyone who needs it!
Side bar: I was not sponsored or paid to say any of this by any of the above companies. These are all things I have researched on my own and I am sharing my opinions.
And also, I am not a doctor. So please consult your doctor if you are wondering if any of these things would work for you and your particular situation.