In this session, Monica Bivas, IVF & Fertility Coach, author of the book “The IVF Planner” who helps couples shift their mindsets, guide them through the often overwhelming IVF treatment experience has been talking about must-dos during your IVF journey that will help you to achieve your final goal – a baby.
Nowadays, I would not recommend drinking water from the tap. There are a lot of chemicals in such water, and it concerns any place in the world. When I was little, in my country, I could drink water from the tap. Our stomachs and our bodies are so perfect that they can adjust to us, but when we are going through IVF, or we’re trying to conceive, I would say the best thing is to get a filter or to buy bottled water. Make sure that it’s natural, has healthy minerals, and no salts added. That’s my recommendation, but again everyone is free to choose what they think is better for them, but bottled water or a filter would be much better.
During the two-week wait, I went to get a foot massage, I think it’s safe, and you must go to a place that you trust, and you need to make sure to tell them to do the softest one. Massage, foot massage, and leg massage help you a lot, especially when you are stressed, our legs and our feet always kind of take all that energy too, so yes, but again make sure that you always tell whoever is doing the massage to do the softest one and don’t do more than a half an hour. I usually did half an hour, and it was incredibly releasing, I just closed my eyes, and it was so relaxing.
If you are in your second IVF cycle, we can use the tools to create a balance between our body, mind, emotions, and spirit. That way, we can give our bodies the possibility of a positive outcome and avoiding another cycle. For me, acupuncture was really helpful, and it’s not regular acupuncture today, you can find acupuncture for fertility. I used to go to a doctor, he’s in the US, but I think he knows some people in some other parts of the world that also do fertility acupuncture, and they work with the clinics that do the procedures of IVF. I think that is a big tool to help us to avoid multiple cycles because it’s never a 100% guarantee that we are not going to have multiple cycles or more than one cycle, but if we use tools and if we help our doctors and our clinic with this part that also needs to be treated like emotions, anxiety, and mindset, we can definitely increase our possibilities of a positive outcome.
You can do all of that as long as it’s gentle. Remember, we need to rest, and we need to be careful, but we are not handicapped, we cannot also put ourselves like we cannot move a finger because that actually can put us in a state of mind that we’re going to break and then that state of mind by default is going to put us in some kind of fear. The idea is we should be aware that we are scared, anxiety comes with that, but we are not like porcelain. When a person is naturally pregnant, they don’t even know about it. Some of them even go to the gym and do weights and all of that. The difference here is that we know we are basically pregnant, and we are scared because of all the stress that the process brings to us but at the same time, we need to be aware that we can continue with our normal life by being careful and use the best tools that we can use to make our journey a little bit more peaceful. I’m not saying perfect but more peaceful and balanced.
Usually, immediately the day after the transfer, right after the transfer, my best suggestion is to go back Home, Rest, lie down, watch a movie, relax doing something while you lie down. Remember, we have 14 days, maybe on the 2nd or 3rd day, you can go ahead, and have a walk if you live in a place where you can have some nice fresh air. During my first day after the transfer, I came back home, I decided, I’m going to just lie down, watch a movie or read a book, color, write, or read, but first just rest and then through the days you can add a little bit the things you do in your normal life.
If you like music and you know how to play it, I will be on that all the time. There is one thing actually about that, there is an application that even if you don’t know how to play piano, I got it for my kids, it’s wonderful, and they’re learning with a little piano I have here in my office. Music is an incredible tool to keep calm, the idea is to have some music that can help you relax. The other tips, as I’ve mentioned before, are art, coloring, music is our therapy, creativity. Whatever can awake our creativity in our brain immediately help us releasing serotonin. When you do things that can help you release serotonin and keep you happy, you are increasing the possibility of having a positive outcome in IVF or any aspect of your life.
Sometimes, it’s very difficult to find people that know what they are doing but eventually do your research, in that case, I would definitely look into it. When I did my last cycle, the fifth cycle, I decided to do acupuncture once a week, except during the day of the egg retrieval. I came back home, and on the day of the transfer, after the transfer, I went back home to rest. The next day after the transfer, I went to do my acupuncture, of course, not like before the transfer, but I did that, and it was done around my head, on my arms, they know what kind of acupressure points can help us to relax and to feel better. I did acupuncture weekly, but it’s up to you, I would suggest doing it weekly, but if you don’t want to do it weekly, I would say to start from the moment the cycle starts and then do it twice a month during your cycle.
When I was doing my second cycle, I was going to the gym with my husband, we used to do like about half an hour of cardio, not so heavy and some weights. You can do a gentle run or jog while taking stimulation injections as long as you mentioned it is gentle. I never encourage people to do things that they are overwhelming them or creating some extra thing in their bodies, our body is a perfect machine. Our body talks to us, when we feel tired, our body is telling us I’m tired, I need to sleep. So yes, it’s good to do things gently, you cannot stop your life because that’s a big mistake we all do. Especially, when we go for IVF, we think that it’s stressful, but we need to remember that before we got into this, we had a life, we need to try our best to continue our life as normal as it is. A gentle walk, gentle yoga, gentle jogging, whatever is gentle to your body and that your body asks you and feels, it’s okay, do it.