At the Toronto Centre for Advanced Reproductive Technology, our first goal is to help you become pregnant. The second is to help you with the experience. Here is a list of ways you can help achieve these goals.
Learn to Manage Stress
Stress may contribute to infertility—and infertility is a major source of stress. Stress alone can stop a woman from ovulating. TCART encourages our patients to try meditation, yoga, exercise and community activities to reduce stress in their daily lives and to enhance their support network.
If you smoke, we recommend that you stop. In addition to the detrimental effects on general health, smoking has a negative impact on fertility. Also, women who smoke during pregnancy increase the risk of premature labour, decreased fetal growth and other complications.
Don’t Use Recreational Drugs
Use of cocaine or heroin during pregnancy may cause the baby to have severe withdrawal reactions after birth. Some drugs, such as marijuana, may decrease sperm production. Intravenous drugs increase the risk of HIV or hepatitis.
Discuss Medications with Your TCART Physician
Tell your physician about any prescription medications you are taking and tell the physician who prescribed your medication(s) that you are trying to get pregnant. Avoid Advil, Aleve, Ibuprofen and Motrin, since they can interfere with ovulation. Tylenol is a good alternative. Herbal remedies should be completely avoided since their effect on fertility and pregnancy is unknown. Take at least 0.5 mg of folic acid daily. Several studies have confirmed that folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects in infants by almost 50%. Neural tube defects are abnormal developments of the spine and skull, such as spina bifida. Prenatal vitamins contain safe doses of nutrients. It is often recommended that women begin taking these vitamins once a day when they are attempting to conceive. Our patients start taking 4000 IU of Vitamin D daily, and also take COQ10 and multivitamins.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Being overweight creates a higher chance of complications during pregnancy, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and the formation of blood clots. Women who are overweight tend to have larger babies, more difficult deliveries, and are more likely to require a cesarean section. On the other hand, normal menstrual function requires at least 22% body fat. Eating disorders and extreme exercise often result in abnormally low body fat and can contribute to infertility.
Take Vitamin Supplement
Take at least 0.4 mg of folic acid daily. Several studies have confirmed that folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects in infants by almost 50%. Neural tube defects are abnormal developments of the spine and skull, such as spina bifida. Prenatal vitamins contain safe doses of nutrients. It is often recommended that women begin taking these vitamins once a day when they are attempting to conceive.
Get Tested for HIV
We recommend HIV testing for all couples contemplating pregnancy. Many people who are infected with the virus continue to lead normal lives for some time before developing symptoms of AIDS. A woman who is infected with the virus can pass it to her unborn child.
Exercise in Moderation
Moderate exercise during pregnancy is beneficial. However, the medications used to stimulate the ovaries as part of your treatment can cause temporary ovarian cysts. Therefore, we may advise you to avoid high-impact exercise activities (i.e. running, step aerobics). Also, extreme strenuous exercise may disrupt the menstrual cycle.
Maintain Good Nutrition
Nutrition can influence the establishment and maintenance of a pregnancy. Extremes of body weight can alter ovarian function. While you are trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy, eat a well-balanced diet and avoid foods with high content of fats and oils. Continue Medical and Gynaecologic Care during your infertility treatment, it is important for you to continue your routine care with your gynaecologist or primary care physician. This should include a yearly blood pressure check, physical examination, pelvic examination, pap smear and mammogram if indicated.
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Toronto, Ontario M5S 2X9