How many times do you remember telling your parents, “I did it because Susie did it”? And how many times do you remember your parents saying, “If Susie jumped off of a bridge, would you do it, too”? This usually was met with a muffled “no” and a trip to your room. Bottom line, the “because my friend did it” response never got you anything more than a grounding. And while our moms may no longer discipline us, our doctors do. And telling us that you have picked up bad habits because Susie has them is not going to go over well.
Saying that habits are hard to break might be the understatement of the century. They become a part of us, our routines, our cultures, and the essence of who we are. Whether it be smoking, drinking, drugging, or doing lots and lots of exercise, they become a part of who we are and how we see ourselves. Because of the latter, it makes them really hard to taper or totally take out. Even the best of habits (exercise, eating healthfully, or engaging in some sort of activity) can become excessive, and while they may not need to be eliminated, they may need to be reduced.
Substituting is a great concept and often works well. For cardio junkies who can’t turn up the torque during IVF stimulation, we recommend a long stroll in the park or an inclined walk on the treadmill. You don’t have to lie on the couch and eat bon bons (although it is nice to give yourself a break!); you can still do something that will build a sweat.
While some habits can be halved or quartered, smoking and drug use need to be out out completely. There is no healthy amount of smoking or toking; it’s got to go. It’s not good for your ovaries or any of your vital organs, so take this as an opportunity to go cold turkey.
When it comes to alcohol, we are definitely more lenient. I think someone said a glass a day will keep the doctor away. Although this is probably more wishful thinking than reality, a glass of wine from time to time (it even rhymes!) is nothing to stress about. You don’t have to cork the bottle when you’re trying to get pregnant.
Food is a fairly big issue when it comes to fertility. Although nothing has been proven definitively, there is a lot out there on the internet and blogs, as well as in friendly conversations, about what is best to eat. Should I can the carbs, should I forget about fat, should I say goodbye to gluten? We say no, no, and no, not unless you have been diagnosed with celiac disease (true gluten intolerance) or have been directed to follow an anti-inflammatory diet.
Dietary variety is a good thing. We need proteins, fats, and those carbs (we have such a love-hate relationship with the lattermost). While everything in moderation is the right way to go and no one ever overdosed on fruits and veggies, eliminating foods to boost your fertility probably isn’t the best idea.
What works best for you and your body may be very different than what worked best for your BFF or your pseudo BFF. As much as we may think our bodies are the same, they are not. Yes, we all have bones, brains, and muscles, but after the basics, there is a lot of variety. So while Sally had to cut out sugar and Georgia had to remove gluten, you don’t necessarily need to follow their menu plan.
Despite what you hear, fertility treatments do NOT mean you have just seen the finale of your favorite things; telephone is a dangerous game! Exercise, caffeine, and alcohol plus are okay when trying to conceive. While we may ask you to tone it down, we will infrequently ever ask you to turn it off completely. Although your friends and those who have made the fertility journey before you are a good source of information, they do not have the final word. Just because they were told to do something or had to change something doesn’t mean the same applies to you.