The Best Diet Before Embryo Transfer to Increase Fertility ChancesFertility Treatment
Having a proper diet before embryo transfer can play a significant role in the success of the IVF procedure. One of the success factors of pregnancy through IVF is maintaining hormonal balance with the help of organic and healthy foods.
Although there is no difference between natural pregnancy and IVF pregnancy in terms of diet, having certain foods before embryo transfer can increase the success chance of IVF. In this article, we discuss what to eat and what to avoid before embryo transfer.
Why is Proper Diet Important Before IVF Embryo Transfer?
After transfer, the embryo attaches itself to the wall of the uterus (endometrium lining) and receives oxygen and nutrients from the mother's blood. So, the endometrium lining plays a crucial role in successful IVF. Women with thin endometrium usually have a lower chance of natural and IVF pregnancy.
In addition to hormone therapy, having a proper diet can thicken the endometrium wall and increase the progesterone level in the body (the hormone that prepares the uterus lining for pregnancy). Read on to learn what foods increase progesterone in your body.
Foods that Increase Progesterone Level
- Vitamin C: studies have revealed that vitamin C increases progesterone levels to a great extent. This vitamin is widely found in fruits and vegetables such as orange, tangerine, kiwi, strawberry, papaya, bell pepper, tomato, sweet potato, broccoli, Brussels sprout, cauliflower, etc. Also, you can take vitamin C supplements available in drugstores.
- Vitamin B6: this vitamin is essential in making steroid hormones, including progesterone. Good sources of vitamin B6 include meat and poultry, beef and chicken liver, fish (such as tuna and salmon), milk, egg, peanut, soybean, chickpeas, oats, corn, potato, bananas, cantaloupe, etc.
- Zinc: zinc is important for the maturation of ovarian follicles and progesterone production. Also, studies have shown that zinc increases endometrial receptivity. Zinc is found in meat, chicken, shellfish, shrimp, eggs, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and legumes such as peas and beans.
- Vitamin E: vitamin E increases the amount of progesterone in the body and thickens the endometrium. This vitamin can be found in nuts and seeds, avocado, wheat, sunflower oil, beet, pumpkin, red bell pepper, fish, spinach, and peanut butter.
- Whole grains: consumption of whole grains has a significant relationship with increasing the thickness and receptivity of the endometrium. Oats, brown rice, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, oats, freekeh (made from green durum wheat), buckwheat, and quinoa are some foods that should be in your diet before embryo transfer.
What to Eat before Embryo Transfer?
Having a healthy body and a receptive uterus is the key to pregnancy. Many IVF specialists are confident that breaking unhealthy habits and changing your lifestyle can significantly impact your chance of having a baby through this method of assisted reproduction.
So, following the succeeding instructions for 3-6 months before embryo transfer is recommended to have a successful IVF.
Organic foods reduce the risk of developing pregnancy, diabetes, preeclampsia, and congenital disorders as they lack harmful chemicals and pesticides. So, adding organic foods to your diet before and after embryo transfer can help you have a more comfortable pregnancy.
Plant-based and healthy fats
Patients should avoid saturated and trans fats (trans-unsaturated fatty acids) before embryo transfer, but healthy fats are necessary for hormone synthesis. Foods such as avocados, salmon, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds—especially sesame, chia, and flax seeds—are rich in healthy fats.
Saturated fats found in butter, biscuits, sausages, bacon, salami, chorizo, cheese, fatty meat, white chocolate, puddings, etc., decrease the number of mature eggs produced by the ovaries. Since having more mature eggs accelerates the chance of pregnancy through IVF, it is important to include just plant-based and healthy fats in your diet.
Plant-based proteins increase the number of blood cells and, therefore, warm up the body and improve the general health condition of the mother. For this reason, adding this protein to your diet is better than avoiding animal proteins and raw foods before embryo transfer. Foods such as leafy greens, kale, collards, spinach, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tofu, soya, broad bean, gluten-free whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa, etc., are rich in plant-based proteins.
Vitamin D is crucial for producing sex hormones, maintaining hormonal balance, and helping the ovulation process. Usually, vitamin D can be found in cod liver oil, fatty fish, eggs, dairy products, and sunlight.
Taking vitamin B12 reduces the risk of miscarriage and strengthens the endometrial lining. The deficiency of this vitamin may cause irregularity in the ovulation process or even stop it. Therefore, by consuming foods such as cheese, eggs, caviar (fish roe), fish, beef, mutton, etc., you can prevent such complications and increase the chance of pregnancy through IVF.
It is an important antioxidant that not only increases the quality and motility of the sperm but also protects women's reproductive organs. Lipoic acid is found in spinach, red meat, broccoli, Brussels sprout, tomato, carrot, and potatoes.
Warm and easy-to-digest foods
It is essential to consume warm and digestible foods before embryo transfer. Having fresh, warm, and fast-digesting foods causes the body to use less energy for digesting and saves energy for performing more critical activities such as the implantation process.
On the other hand, cold and slow-digesting foods such as ice cream, cold smoothies, raw vegetables, etc., take a lot of energy from the body to be digested; thus, less energy remains for the IVF process in the body. You can increase the chance of successful embryo transfer by eating fast-digesting foods and saving energy.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fats are necessary for developing the fetus's brain and retina. Also, they prevent pre-term delivery and increase breast milk volume. So, it is recommended to use omega-3 before embryo transfer to make your body ready for implantation and have a healthier baby.
Omega-3 fats are widely found in the oil of some fishes, such as sardines, salmon, and mackerel. However, since these oils have toxins such as heavy metals and dioxins, they should be used just twice a week. You can get the rest of your omega-3 proportion from toxin-free supplements, walnut, chia seed, eggs, pumpkin, soybean oil, etc.
Plenty of water
Before starting the IVF process, get used to drinking at least three liters of water daily. You can also drink fruit juices, coconut water, or other fresh drinks to stay hydrated because hydration accelerates the absorption of nutrients.
Foods to Avoid before IVF Embryo Transfer
Before IVF embryo transfer, you should avoid certain foods to increase the chance of pregnancy. In the following, some of the foods that shouldn't be in your IVF diet are mentioned:
Red meat and its products
Although red meat is a rich source of protein, iron, and zinc, overeating it and its products can cause blastocyst formation during embryo implantation. It is advised that before and after embryo transfer, you should have red meat just once or twice a week. It is noteworthy that the meat and its products should be cooked entirely without traces of blood.
White and refined foods such as white bread, white rice, white pasta, white potato, and white sugar are slow-digesting foods, so they should be substituted with gluten-free whole-grain bread, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, red potato, and honey.
Of course, not all white foods should be avoided before embryo transfer; for instance, pears, jicama (Mexican potato), ginger, cauliflower, cabbage, white onions, garlic, mushrooms, tofu, and white corn can increase the receptivity of the uterus.
Alcohol and caffeine
Usually, women who drink alcoholic beverages have irregular ovulation and less chance of pregnancy through IVF. So, it is better to stop drinking for four weeks before embryo transfer.
Also, caffeinated drinks such as coffee, black tea, Cola soda, and energy drinks should be limited to 200 milligrams (one cup) a day from a month before embryo transfer because caffeine can lead to miscarriage and reduce the blood supply of the embryo.
Artificial sweeteners are food additives that sweeten foods and drinks but usually have less energy and calorie than sugar-based sweeteners. Although artificial sweeteners prevent weight gain, they can disrupt the IVF process. It is better to use sucralose-based sweeteners or other natural sweetening syrups, especially honey, a couple of months before IVF embryo transfer.
Even a tiny amount of refined sugar quickly increases blood sugar levels. Consuming too much sugar leads to weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, and high blood pressure, lowering the chance of pregnancy through IVF.
Although salt plays a crucial role in reproduction and embryo bone mineralization, it should be limited to the maternal diet. Having more than 6g of salt daily can cause high blood pressure and endanger the embryo's life. So, the mother should control her salt intake for months before embryo transfer. Pay attention that processed and fast foods have more salt than your body needs. Therefore, you should probably cut out these foods until after the pregnancy.
Almost a year before embryo transfer, you should avoid having farmed fish because they may have been exposed to pollutants and remove raw or mercury-containing fish, such as shark, swordfish, sushi, etc., from your diet because mercury sticks around in the body for an extended period.
However, since fish and shellfish are rich in protein and heart-healthy omega-3, you can have them once or twice a week, but they should be thoroughly cooked.
Some types of cheese
Despite the many advantages of dairy products, some cheeses, such as blue or soft ones, should not be used before embryo transfer as they have some bacteria that can cause infection. It is also not recommended to consume unpasteurized milk before IVF embryo transfer and during pregnancy. However, having yogurt and whole milk increases the chance of successful pregnancy.
Due to having the salmonella virus, the raw egg can cause food poisoning and should be avoided before embryo transfer.
Foods containing soy
Processed foods containing soy, such as soy protein powder, soy milk, soy cheese, soy burgers, soy chips, and soy meat, cause hormone imbalance and should not be used before and after embryo transfer.
Some foods, such as tomatoes, kiwis, eggplants, and strawberries, cause allergies in many people. It would help if you refrained from consuming them in the days before, during, and after the embryo transfer.
We should note that eating allergenic foods stimulates the body's immune response against allergens and anything foreign to the body. If the immune system detects the transferred embryo as a harmful agent, it may kill the embryo and the allergens.
What to Eat the Night before Embryo Transfer
Having an anti-inflammatory diet the day before embryo transfer is a good start for a healthy IVF diet. 8-12 hours before embryo transfer, have a light and warm soup with a glass of fresh juice and get some rest. Do not eat fast foods, sugary or salty foods, and processed or canned foods the night before the transfer, as they can cause digestive problems and lower the chance of pregnancy.
In general, having a proper IVF diet before embryo transfer helps embryo implantation and increases the chance of pregnancy. Recent investigations have shown that women who include more vegetables and fresh fruits, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, fish, and less red meat in their IVF diet have a higher chance of getting pregnant.
Raadina Team offers you special embryo transfer packages, which include booking doctor's appointments, applying for a medical visa, and booking suitable and affordable accommodations.
If you wish to use the IVF method in Iran, contact Raadina Co. to get more information about the best fertility clinics in the country and the price of this operation in Iran.