Couples who decide to pursue in vitro fertilization (IVF) will often do whatever they can to ensure a successful embryo transfer and subsequent pregnancy. Oddly enough, one of the ways couples can help improve the odds takes place in the kitchen. According to the American Pregnancy Association, numerous research studies have shown a healthy preconception diet can help a woman conceive through IVF.
Increase the Protein, Lose the Carbs
When protein comprises 25 percent or more of a woman's diet and carbohydrate intake 40 percent or less, she is four times more likely to conceive than a patient who ate less protein and more carbs. That was the finding of a 2013 study conducted by the Delaware Institute of Reproductive Medicine, which charted data before and during an IVF cycle. The study found poorer egg quality in women who filled 60 percent or more of their diets with foods, such as breads and pasta and didn't eat enough protein like meats and cheese.
Drink Your Milk
Women trying to conceive should get 1,000 mgs of calcium a day, according to the American Pregnancy Association. That translates into about three 8-ounce glasses of milk. Calcium is also in cheese, salmon, yogurt and rice. Moreover, the book "The Fertility Diet," a culmination of an eight-year Harvard research study of more than 18,000 women, found whole-milk foods such as full-fat ice cream and yogurt are more fertility-friendly than their reduced-fat counterparts. In fact, they found, skim milk appears to promote infertility.
Take Your Vitamins
Zinc and folic acid are two of the most critical nutrients when it comes to a healthy pregnancy. Zinc contributes to ovulation and fertility in women, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Meeting the recommended allowance of 15 micrograms a day, either in food or supplement form, can help regulate the reproductive system. Likewise, folic acid is an essential B vitamin that can reduce the risk of neural tube defects in newborns writes the APA. It can be taken in supplement form, and it's found in dark leafy greens like spinach, fortified breads and cereals.
Curb the Caffeine
This may be a good time to kick the java habit. According to the National Infertility Association, IVF patients who consumed a modest 50 mg of caffeine a day—or just one 8-ounce glass of tea—had fewer live births than women who were caffeine-free. The website also claims women who consumed more than 200 mg of caffeine a day appear to have twice the rate of miscarriage than women who don't use it at all. Be careful of other caffeine sources such as chocolate, non-cola sodas, energy drinks and even pain relievers.