Preparing for assisted reproductive technology
These actions may increase your chance of achieving a pregnancy, having a healthy pregnancy, and avoid complications that could affect your health and the outcome of your pregnancy:
- Start and continue taking 400 mcg of folic acid daily, in the form of a vitamin supplement or enriched foods.
- Stop smoking cigarettes.
- Eliminate alcohol consumption.
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine intake.
- Start or continue an exercise regimen that helps control weight and provides relaxation and stress reduction benefits.
- Control your chronic conditions under medical supervision (e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes, reproductive tract infections, dental disease, anxiety, lupus, arthritis, epilepsy.)
- Develop eating habits that can continue into pregnancy and beyond, consider smaller portions of high quality foods providing sound nutritional value.
- Be sure your immunization records are up-to-date. Vaccines protect you from diseases such as rubella, tetanus, influenza, and whooping cough.
- Take advantage of wellness programs at work or in the community.
What you may change as you begin infertility treatment.
- Use of medications and treatment (prescription, over-the-counter, herbal or complementary) that could affect fertility treatment outcomes or may cause birth defects.
- If you choose any form of infertility treatment, including ART, your physician should review these medications because some may interfere with treatment outcomes.
- You also need to know what drugs and medications are not advisable for use during pregnancy (e.g., cause birth defects, pregnancy complications) or can be used in moderation or with increased supervision.
- Exposure to environmental and workplace hazards. These can include products such as pesticides, solvents, and even prescription medicines that you may handle or touch. This includes clothing or equipment used by a household member in their work or as part of a hobby. If a pregnancy occurs, these exposures could be dangerous during the first trimester.
“…The healthiest women, the healthiest couples have the healthiest babies. The healthiest couples are going to have the best chance of successful assisted reproduction…” ~Dr. Callaghan.
Don’t forget your emotional health during this time. It is one part of the construct of health and wellness. Some ART clinics and several national organizations can provide peer support programs for you and others involved in your life.
Adapted from CDC’s Recommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Health Care—United States.