Thanks to the world-wide web, I have done my fair share of “research” as we prepare for our first IUI.
Here are some of the tips for success I have come across. Some of them are just basic common sense, but there are a few that I would not have known on my own. I will add more to this list soon, but for now….
1) Visualization techniques. You simply visualize what is going to happen with the sperm and the egg in your body as the procedure is being performed. Although we are not sure how this works, there has been a bit of research showing that the mind does have power over the body.
2) Watch your food and drink. I have been doing this for a while now, and should obviously continue for the rest of my life. The link between diet and fertility gets stronger and stronger the more that we research it.
- Whole foods including fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
- Full fat dairy (if you eat dairy at all) through milk, yogurt, or cheese.
- LOTS of water!!!
- LOTS of protein from nuts, veggies, and lean, organic meats.
- Take a daily multivitamin (I used to take a prenatal vitamin, but disliked the way it made me feel, so now I just take JuicePlus.)
3) De-stress in every way possible. The stress of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, the stress of undergoing IUI, and the stress over everyday life can become overwhelming, thus reducing the success of IUI and increasing the change of miscarriage. Long walks, yoga, support groups, or simply good conversations with close friends are all ways to de-stress. Cleaning also seems to help me! Do not schedule events or appointments that cause anxiety, fear, or added stress. It is important that your schedule be pretty open as you will need to go into the doctor for lab work, ultrasounds, etc., at a fairly short notice.
4) Take an expectorant. This one really surprised me! Ironically, certain fertility medications (specifically, Clomid) can cause cervical mucous to become thick and too hostile to allow the sperm to survive. Cough syrup like Robitussin helps thin out the cervical mucous. Who knew?! Even if you are not taking Clomid (which I am not), there are other natural conditions that can cause cervical mucous to be thick and hostile, so taking Robitussin is a good idea no matter what fertility medication(s) you are taking. The dosage you should take varies, but the idea is to take it for the couple of days leading up to insemination.
5) Exercise five days per week leading up to IUI, but do nothing of really high intensity. Things like walking, yoga or Pilates are great. If you have an exercise routine that you are used to (for example, I have been doing Zumba for quite some time now, and find that it is a great de-stresser) it is okay to continue, but do not start any new exercise that is super-intense or high impact (for example, I have hardly ever run before, so now would not be a good time to start).
7) Refrain from strenuous activities immediately after insemination, as they may cause uterine contractions that could interfere with implantation. It is okay to do light aerobic exercises like swimming, walking, yoga, elliptical… things that get the heart rate up but are not high impact (like jogging or step aerobics would be). The day of your IUI, it is a good idea to take it very easy both before and after the procedure, allowing your body to relax and calm down. But after that first day, it is okay to resume reasonable activities.
8) DO have intercourse after insemination, unless your doctor specifically tells you otherwise. It can’t hurt, and may even help!
9) Try the old pineapple trick! It certainly can’t hurt, and some women swear by it.
The idea is that, for optimal fertility, the body needs to be relaxed. It (and you) should not feel stressed about what you should and should not be doing in order to have the greatest chance of getting pregnant. It is wise to go about your normal, daily activities, as long as they are healthy. It is also a good idea to do things that you truly enjoy and that help keep your mind occupied.
Some fun suggestions:
- Read a good book. (Although I find it hard to concentrate long enough to get through a book in any reasonable amount of time these days…)
- CRAFT or scrapbook.
- Cook, bake, or clean.
- Organize your closets (This is on my to-do list.)
- Take a walk with your dog at the park.
- Meet your hubby for a nice mid-week picnic.
- Go shopping with a friend.
- Try out a new yoga DVD.
- Take a warm (but not hot) bubble bath.
- Get a pedicure (my mom gave me a gift certificate for a few of these, and I am itching to use it!)