A patient suggested that I write about the most common questions that I get asked about trying to get pregnant, so here it is!
1 - Should I eat pineapple after an IVF transfer? I have not been able to find any research on this old wives tale, there should be no harm in eating it and there are naturally occurring enzymes in pineapple that theoretically could help decrease inflammation in the uterus. It's not something that I recommend, but if you like pineapple - go ahead!
2. Can I exercise while trying to get pregnant? I don't recommend that people exercise when doing and IVF stimulation, but otherwise moderate exercise is a great idea. It can help with blood circulation and stress reduction, and of course has many other benefits to the whole body!
3. Can I exercise after an IVF transfer? I usually recommend that people lay low after an IVF transfer and keep their exercise to walking. Once they've got a good ultrasound under their belt at around 7-8 weeks gestation, they can increase the intensity. There are two rules of thumb - keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute, and only exercise to the intensity that you're accustomed to.
4. What should I eat while trying to conceive? I often suggest that patients focus on fruit & vegetable intake as part of a balanced diet. Fruits and veggies are our biggest source of anti-oxidants which are essential in both sperm and egg health. Combine this with lean protein sources and whole grains and you should be good to go!
5. Is Acupuncture helpful when trying to conceive? Acupuncture is one of my favourite ways to help increase the chance of getting pregnant. There are some great studies showing that it can increase fertility in all stages. Furthermore, there are anti-miscarriage points that I use to prep the body not only to get pregnant but also to have a healthy pregnancy. Acupuncture is also safe during pregnancy, so it's another tool that I use to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.
6. How often should I be having sex when trying to get pregnant? I usually recommend every day or every other day during the fertile period. More than that isn't helpful as it takes time for sperm to regenerate in the testes to get a quality ejaculation. Less than that also isn't ideal because sperm theoretically lives for 48-72 hours, so we want to make sure that there's always sperm waiting when the egg is ovulated.
7. When is my fertile period? This is an individual and complicated question that can help be determined by taking your basal body temperature, monitoring your cervical mucous, using ovulator predictor kits that you pee on, or by ultrasound. The one way that you CANNOT tell when you're ovulating is by an app that you just record the dates of your menses. If you have any questions, please come in so we can discuss this with respect to your cycle.
8. Should I take time off after an IVF transfer? Although the research doesn't support this, I usually suggest that people take a day or two off after an IVF transfer. I prefer women to relax on the couch with a good book or some Netflix rather than rush back to work.
9. Can I fly while pregnant? Unless your OB or RE say not to, flying is safe during the first and second trimester (and most of the third trimester too!). Airlines have a cut off point after which they won't let you fly anymore, and it's usually about 36 weeks pregnant but can vary from airline to airline. My bottom line is living without regret, so if flying is going to make you so nervous that you'll blame it and yourself if something goes wrong during your pregnancy - don't do it! I flew several times during my pregnancy because I felt comfortable, but make sure to do what makes YOU comfortable!
I hope that this is helpful for those of you trying to get pregnant or thinking of trying to get pregnant!