Have you decided to pursue pregnancy through IVF with frozen donor eggs? You’ve probably been spending a lot of time researching your options, looking at using egg donors, and thinking about finances. In the middle of all that, it might be easy to forget about the most important part of this equation: you! How can mothers-to-be best prepare for a pregnancy with donor eggs? Check out our tips for a healthy pregnancy if you choose to go down the path of IVF using donor eggs.
You have the advantage of knowing that you are going to become pregnant. This means you can prepare yourself to become pregnant, both mind and body. The most important steps you can take before you become pregnant are:
- Take folic acid every day for at least 3 months before getting pregnant. This lowers the risk of some birth defects of the brain and spine of your child. Taking a pre-natal vitamin with folic acid is the best and easiest way to be sure you’re getting enough.
- You should stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Stay away from second-hand smoke as well after you become pregnant.
- If you have a medical condition, make sure that you are under a physician’s care and they are aware you are trying to become pregnant. Anything from diabetes to depression should be well managed. Any medications should also be discussed with a doctor.
Healthy Eating and Nutrition
Pregnant women, no matter how they conceive, need to follow healthy eating guidelines. Everything that goes into your body can nourish your uterine environment—and can boost your embryo implantation success. Critical nutrients include:
- Iron: Red meat, chicken, leafy greens, beans. Boosts blood cell production and overall cardiovascular health.
- Calcium: Dairy, beans, some green leafy vegetables. Helps develop strong teeth, bones, and muscles.
- Vitamin D: Dairy, some fish, some leafy greens. Helps your body absorb calcium and iron.
- Vitamin C: Citrus, berries, many other veggies. Also helps your body absorb calcium and iron, and is vital to the growth and repair of tissues throughout your body.
- Folic acid: Dark green veggies, citrus, dried beans, avocados. This is critical reduces the risk of birth defects in the early stages of fetal development and is important for the rapid cell growth of the placenta and your developing baby. Floci acid should be taken before and throughout your pregnancy. Pre-natal vitamin supplements are a fantastic option.
- Healthy fats: found in olives, nuts, seed, and fish. Anti-oxidants and omega fatty acids boost brain development, among other benefits.
- Avoid eating fish that are high in mercury, like swordfish and mackerel.
- Consider limiting caffeine intake.
Seeing a common theme? Fruits and veggies are vital to your healthy pre-pregnancy body. Taking pre-natal vitamins Supplements can help (especially with folic acid), but there’s no substitute for a well-rounded, healthy diet. If you’re not a fruit or veggie fan, it’s a great time to try new recipes; you could also consult a professional nutritionist for suggestions on working more into your diet.
Exercise Your Body and Mind
We understand—it’s hard to find time to exercise when you’re busy with so many other things. But exercise does so much for your overall health and helps you get ready for a successful pregnancy. Aerobic exercise—walking, bike riding, swimming—boosts blood circulation, which in turn helps your uterine tissue. Flexibility and core training, such as yoga, helps keep your joints more flexible and can strengthen your pelvic floor. Regular exercise (along with healthy eating habits) can also keep your weight down—studies show that pregnancy risks increase for woman with higher BMIs (body mass index).
The benefits of exercise go beyond the physical. Exercise doesn’t have to be a slog—find something that you think is rewarding and fun, something that feels like a real break. A walk or a class with a friend can boost your mood. Yoga can help you reduce stress which is another huge factor in becoming pregnant and having a successful pregnancy.
Keeping your stress controlled to a healthy level is extremely important. Do what makes you happy, start a new hobby, consult a therapist for supportive care. Getting enough sleep is also critical for you and your baby.
Time spent taking care of yourself is time well spent.
Special Concerns for Donor Egg Recipients
The recommendations we’ve made apply to any woman who’s trying to become pregnant. But women who decide to use donor eggs on their journey to motherhood might face some extra challenges. This includes women over 40.
The average age of women pursuing IVF with donor eggs is over 40. Older mothers may face some extra health risks, including high blood pressure and diabetes. This means it’s even more critical to take of your health through nutritious eating and exercise. It’s also crucial that you check on your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels checked. If you’ve spent years pursuing other fertility treatments, the idea of another doctor visit may not exactly be appealing. But a thorough medical checkup before you get started with your donor egg pregnancy will help you get ready for this big step.
Bottom line: All women hoping to become pregnant need to make their own health a priority, and that goes double for women try to achieve pregnancy through donor eggs. Healthy foods, regular exercise, and self-care are the best ways you can get ready for the journey ahead. Remember to consult your doctor and to develop a well-rounded plan for your pregnancy.