We’re getting ready for our 3rd IVF cycle, so today I’m sharing some tips on how to prep for an IVF fresh cycle. For our first cycle I was blissfully unaware how difficult it was going to be on my body. We actually had to cancel that very first cycle, since the stimulation phase did not go as planned.
The first thing to know is that an IVF cycle isn’t necessarily just a month long, like your normal cycle.
If your doctors want you to downregulate, where you take birth control pills and tell your ovaries to chill out then it can be more like two months.
Yes, it’s frustrating. But there are some things that you really will want to do before you start with the stimulation phase. This is a great time to prep!
During stimulation (stims) you use medication, mostly in the form of injections, to tell your ovaries “it’s go time,” and they need to grow all of the potential eggs instead of just picking one or 2 egg follicles.
Your ovaries are typically each the size of an almond. During stims they grow. A lot. They can each get as big as a lemon or even an orange.
The stim phase typically lasts 8-10 days (mine have gone 11-12). I know this phase can be relatively easy for some women, but it might not be for others.
Our first attempt my body had some difficulty and I did get very bloated, felt super tired, crummy and crampy.
Most of the IVF prep articles I found focused more on the stuff I was already doing like taking prenatal vitamins, stop drinking caffeinated drinks and alcohol, and while they had sound advice they didn’t cover how to prep your life for the impact an IVF cycle can have.
This list will help you to be way more prepared than I was.
Please note that I am not a medical professional and am giving information based on my own experiences only – not medical advice. Always consult your doctor or medical professionals. Full disclaimer available here.
7 Ways to Prep for an IVF Cycle
1. Catch up on Chores
Laundry, dog baths, basically as many chores and extra work as you can get off your plate the better! Have you been wanting to rearrange furniture or weed your flower beds?
Some of these things you won’t be able to do during stims and some you just won’t want to.
Make sure you have clean, comfy clothes ready to go. Loose & stretchy are your friends during stims. If you’re stimming in the summer loose dresses are great! Bonus if they are super soft & have pockets.
Whatever your to-do list looks like, get what you can done before stims. This way you won’t feel pressure later when you might not be feeling 100%.
2. Have Your Grocery Shopping Done
This one goes along with getting ahead of any chores. You may want to meal plan or search for some easy dishes and have those ingredients on hand.
If you can, prep your ingredients so they’re ready to go. Can any ingredients or dishes be made ahead of time and then frozen? Some slow cooker recipes are great for this.
You might not want to spend time each night chopping veggies. Purchase pre-cut or prep ahead to have them ready so you don’t have to.
The goal is to make things easy for yourself.
You can make your IVF cycle less stressful by taking these things off your figurative plate ahead of time, so you can put more on your literal plate. (Josh added this pun. He’s really ready for dad jokes.)
3. Start a Fiber Supplement
Always check with your doctor before taking any medication or supplements. You don’t want anything to interact with the slew of medications you’ll be using. My clinic has a special IVF nurse line, but check with yours for contact info when you have questions.
When you go through IVF some of the medications can cause constipation, so making sure you are getting enough fiber or taking a supplement like Metamucil can really help.
4. Stay Hydrated
Am I the only one who drinks lots of water, but when I don’t feel well I eat & drink way less? You too?
We’ve all heard about how your body is made up of 70% water and with IVF you want to support your body in any way you can. After all, you’re asking it to go into overdrive and grow lots of healthy, plump, fertile eggs.
So give your body (and those eggs) that hydration they’ll need. Drink plenty of water 💧 and if you want have some Gatorade or electrolyte drinks around.
This gallon water bottle can help you keep track and make sure you’re drinking enough water.
5. Prep Your Watchlist
There might be days where you aren’t up to doing much and just need to cuddle up on the couch with your tall glass of water.
Give yourself some grace and take it easy.
What movies or TV shows have you been wanting to watch? Do you have some go-to favorites? (One of mine is While You Were Sleeping.)
Browse your Netflix or Hulu account and add some to your favorites or watchlist. That way they’ll be ready for you. This list will be especially helpful when you get home after egg retrieval.
Comedies are good because they’ll keep you in a happy, positive frame of mind and physically more relaxed. If you’re watching a drama or thriller and notice you’re tensing up then you may want to put that show on hold.
And if you get home and just need a nap – take one!
You’re asking your body to do a lot and it might need more rest. You’re growing extra eggs, after all! Be gentle with yourself.
6. Plan Your Post-Shot Reward
If you aren’t a fan of needles, and even if you are (to each her own) it can help to have some little reward for yourself. Something to look forward to right after the shots.
Some of the shots take longer than others, some have thicker or longer needles and some get injected in different areas. And some just hurt (Progesterone in oil – am I right?)
If your hubby or partner is helping you with stims, or shots anytime during your IVF cycle, have him give you a big hug afterward. You could also treat yourself to some ice cream or chocolate.
Watch a show, listen to some good music, play a game or read. Do something that you will enjoy and give you something to look forward to each evening.
7. Stock Up on Cute Socks
If you’re to the point where you’re doing IVF then you’re already familiar with the glamorous experience of internal ultrasounds. Feet hiked up in those stirrups, Doctors all up in your lady business and a scrap of modesty in the form of a giant single ply paper towel sheet.
You’ll have several ultrasounds throughout the IVF process so the doctors can keep an eye on things (uterine lining, egg follicles). So you might as well add a bright spot to those appointments.
I love wearing cute socks that will at least give me a quick smile. Polka dots, unicorns, swans, hearts or flying caticorns – all great options.
Target has some really cute ones.
Not a cute sock type of girl? Wear a special bracelet or ring or an outfit that you love.
The idea here is to have something to give you joy while you’re in the exam room.
You’ve got this!
You really do. It sucks to go through, but you are a powerful & amazing mama.
Yes. If you’re going through IVF, I believe that you are already a mom. You are putting yourself in the position to receive your baby. I don’t know how or when, but your baby is coming.
Let me know in the comments: 👇 What’s your best tip for prepping for an IVF cycle? How do you prep for an IVF cycle?
You’re doing a great job, Beautiful!
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Hi, my name is Katy. I started this blog to help you infuse life with ease and joy by sharing recipes and tips for your fertility and lifestyle.
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