Ask an Expert addresses reader questions every week. Today we share expert insight from Lauren, a Registered Dietitian who specializes in reproductive health. She will answer your top IVF questions! Stay tuned for future posts, as this is part one of the Dietitian series.
What’s the best diet for someone going through IVF?
A pro-fertility diet has been shown to be a great option for those undergoing IVF: low pesticide residue produce, soy, dairy, seafood, and whole grains are included in this diet. Also, higher doses of certain vitamins are recommended on this diet too.
I’ve been told that I’m high risk for Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. How can I prevent/reduce OHSS symptoms?
Staying hydrated is key, and having some electrolytes is better than just plain water (e.g. coconut water, Gatorade). Also making sure you are getting in enough fiber is a great idea (e.g. beans, whole grains, brown rice, nuts, berries).
Do certain foods affect egg quality?
It can. Foods that contain antioxidants may help reduce oxidative damage to eggs. Choosing foods like colorful produce, beans, and whole grains are great choices. Keeping stress low is a good idea too.
What are foods I should avoid before an IVF transfer?
I would avoid anything I would avoid if I were pregnant.
Are there any anti-inflammatory foods you recommend for someone going through IVF? When should I start eating them before a transfer?
I would start focusing on anti-inflammatory foods now, since many of these foods are rich in lots of nutrients. Eating fish/seafood that are low in mercury 2-3 times a week is one of the best things a woman can do.
What are the best things to eat during a frozen embryo cycle (FET)?
You want to eat to support implantation as well as support your body for WHEN the embryo implants and you are pregnant! I suggest doing things like avoiding alcohol, eating at least one whole grain serving a day, and limiting processed foods. Foods with probiotics (or a supplement) is a good idea too. I would also make certain that you are taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin.
Help! My doctor wants me to lose weight. What is the best weight loss diet in preparation for IVF?
It needs to be individualized, and totally depends on the individual. Please consult with a dietitian.
Does sugar have an effect on egg production and/or an IVF Cycle?
I am not aware of any specific studies showing any correlation. I do recommend sticking with more of an anti-inflammatory diet and having sugar in moderation.
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian who focuses on reproductive health. She runs a virtual private practice on her website and in early 2019 published her first book Fueling Male Fertility.