What’s For Dinner?

Published September 9, 2014 by Jennie



When we started IVF, my RE gave me few guidelines on what I can and can not have.  Here they are.

* No smoking
* No alcohol
* No more than one cup of coffee a day
* No herbal medications

These rules are easy for me to follow. I do not drink coffee and I gave up alcohol several months ago. In fact, all I really drink is water and lots of it! I also do not smoke and have never used herbal medications.

Besides maintaining a balanced diet and healthy weight, my RE is not too concerned as to what I eat. For me, it is important to give myself the best chance of success and that may be affected by what I eat. That is actually why I started this blog in January! My infertility is unexplained so I have attempted to attack it holistically. I have had every test known to mankind to diagnose my infertility but not one doctor has asked me about my eating habits. I even met with a nutritionist but they did not really have any specific suggestions on how I could address my infertility.

Since January, I have done everything I can to prepare myself for IVF. This includes adopting some major eating habit changes. Now that IVF is in full swing, I am concerned that I may be missing something or doing something wrong, especially food wise. The more time I spend with Dr.Google, the more convinced of this I become. Here is what I am doing now that IVF has started.

* I have upped my protein to about 70 grams per day. I do not like red meat or pork so to do this, I am eating lots of eggs, chicken, almonds, broccoli, peas, shrimp, and yogurt.
* I have cut down on carbs to about 100 grams per day. I gave up pasta which is one of my favorite foods :(. I still eat bread occasionally.
* I make sure I drink plenty of water every day.
* No artificial sweeteners.
* No desserts. I still have sugar in my diet but this is mainly from other sources. For example, I can not eat plain yogurt so I mix one plain and one flavored. I get about 25 – 30 grams per day.

Here are some things I am still trying to figure out.
* I have read that cheese can be bad for an IVF cycle. I think it has something to do with Chinese medicine. They say it makes the womb slippery which is bad. Has anyone else heard of this or decided to cut out cheese?
* Some sources I read says dairy is good for IVF and others say it is bad. I do drink almond milk but my yogurt is from cows milk. Should I switch that out?
* I do plan to do the pineapple thing.  What do people think about that?
* Many people have suggested I drink Gatorade after ET. It seems like there is a lot of sugar and salt in it. For those of you who have been through this, do you recommend drinking Gatorade?

Is there anything I am missing (I am sure there is)? Any input is appreciated!  I know there is no way I can do everything right but I am giving things my best shot. – Jennie

33 comments on “What’s For Dinner?

  • Yes drink the Gatorade and stop the water :). It is to prevent OHSS. The water will make it worse but the sodium and sugar in the Gatorade help with the excess fluid from your ovaries. I it OHSS and learned all this the hard way :/. Also, eat lots of protein after er to keep OHSS down as well 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  • the best thing you can do for yourself before, during and after your IVF cycle is RELAX. don’t stress about grams of protein and cheese. i say eat whatever makes you happy and relaxed. cheese is not going to hinder your outcome. i eat WAY too much cheese and i’m pregnant… go easy on yourself 🙂 i ate pineapple, because it was summer and it’s delicious, it can’t hurt! gatorade could be helpful if you’re at risk for OHSS. had it, hospitalized for 8 days, not fun! (although i’m not entirely sure that drinking it will decrease your chances of getting OHSS. it mainly just helps with the symptoms you experience if you have it).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am really worried about OHSS. It seems difficult to predict whether or not it is going to be an issue for me. I am glad you were able to relax with all this stuff and still get pregnant. I think I am am driving myself crazy!


      • sometimes you have stop finding stiff to worry about haha (took me a looooong time to follow my own advice). you’ll have an idea of your risk once you closer to retrieval. my first round i didn’t get it ( told me i probably would) second time they told me the same and i did get it. only b time will tell and in the meantime there isn’t anything you can so just be prepared mentally but hope for the best. i had to put my transfer off for 2 months but in the end it was totally worth it.


      • Thank you so much for this! I do feel like I am making myself worry about stuff I can not control. Logically I know this is not a good thing to do. I just need to convince myself emotionally that this is the way to go!


  • I’m not doing IVF but I also have unexplained infertility – I can get pregnant but I can’t stay that way and no test has told me why. I chose to start doing the keto diet. It’s low carb/moderate protein/ high fat. I try to stay close to 20gs of carbs or less. It’s actually done great things for my body and it seems to be popular for alleviating some symptoms of PCOS. Granted, I have had two more miscarriages since starting this do it hasn’t cured me but physically I feel better.


    • I am glad you are feeling better but I am sorry your pregnancies will not stick. It really sucks when doctors can not give you answers! I do not think I could get down to 20 carbs a day but I am working on lowering them. I do feel less bloated and tired when I cut them down a bit.


  • I eat tons of cheese and my Ivf was successful. Every evening up until the bfp included a glass of red wine and a good amount of fancy cheese. My uterus could have very well been slippery and tipsy, lol


  • I think some of the discrepancy around dairy is whether it’s conventional (pasteurized, reduced fat, added hormones etc) or raw. Several things I’ve read say pasteurized, reduced fat, and non-organic can be harmful, but raw, full fat can be beneficial. Some say to cut it out altogether. There has been at least one study that showed women with full fat dairy in their diet had better pregnancy rates. I tried to summarize some dietary stuff here: http://seaofinfertility.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/infertility-menu/
    but ultimately I agree with other posters that at this point staying relaxed is the most important thing!


  • I know you’re trying to control what you CAN control, but don’t make yourself feel more helpless in the process. I always say “everything in moderation.” Listen to your body. If you have a craving, don’t deny yourself. Most of the time we crave things it’s because there are nutrients in there your body needs. Regarding the Gatorade and OHSS. You should not have signs or symptoms of OHSS until after your retrieval. It does make a difference to drink V8 and Gatorade. I was able to keep myself out of the hospital by chugging. I was a mess, but at least I was at home. It’s a complicated science lesson to explain third spacing, and maybe at some point I’ll write a blog about it in layman’s terms, but the sodium helps keep fluids with the cellular space rather than your belly..so yes, it relieves symptoms, but it does that by actively trying to keep fluid in the cellular space. It works for symptom management because it’s actually helping to treat the problem. There are some that no matter how proactive they are, it gets bad and they need to be hospitalized, but at least managing your symptoms and knowing how now allows you to have something to control. :-). Good luck! You’re doing great!


    • Thanks for the input on the whole Gatorade thing. It makes sense the way you put it. I was worried about all that extra salt and sugar but I am all for it if it works. It is scary to think about how little control I have in this whole process. I am used to making goals and working hard to get them. So much of this seems up in the air.


      • It is (up in the air). You’re absolutely right, so all one can do is the best they can to create a healthy, safe space for the baby (which you are absolutely doing). Definitely no need to worry about the excess sodium, because you will NEED it. What do we give you in the hospital if you come?…sodium chloride in your IV. (((hugs))). Almost there!


  • Hi there! here are my 2 cents..The gateorade thing, I think its mostly the sodium part that’s god for you after your retrieval… so you also wanna have chicken soup and V8 for that same reason. The pineapple thing, I asked my doctor and he says it’s a old wives tale… I did it anyways hahaha can’t hurt tight? Here, watch what he said: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXcb7NjA8bk (skip to 8:30)

    as to the cheese, I would love to know that too!! I’m a cheese addict.. idk what my life would be like if I couldn’t eat cheese!

    Also, ask your doctor about taking cabergoline! My doctor thinks its a miracle when it comes to offsetting symptoms of OHSS… the days following my retrieval were hard but I was still Ok to walk around and stuff… and we retrieved 48 eggs!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow 48 eggs! You deserve a medal or something. I have never heard of cabergoline but it is now on my list of things to research and ask my doctor about. I am the same as you when it comes to pineapple. I do not have much faith in it but pineapples are delicious and it can’t hurt right 🙂 Thanks for sharing the video! Also, if the cheese thing is true, too bad for me. I don’t want to live without it!


  • I ate pineapple every day and I also cannot live without cheese – my second IVF was successful – I am not sure why, maybe it was the weight I lost and all the exercise I did 4 months prior – or maybe it was just the growth hormone they gave me 5 days before the egg retrieval, or smoothies I drank or a combination of everything? I think you are doing everything you can – give yourself lots of credit, relax and we are all hoping that this is it. ❤


    • Yeah no cheese it out. I do not see anything definitive that it is bad and it brings me so much joy! I have not started the pineapple thing but I plan to. I do not really think it makes a major difference but they are yummy so why not? I did a lot of exercise prior but have cut things down partly due to IVF and partly due to an injury. I am within a normal weight so I am not too worried about that. Do you mind telling me the name of the growth hormone they gave you? My IVF drug goodie bag came with 8 different drugs (I have only taken Lupron so far). Thanks for the input!


      • They found out during my first IVF that my eggs were degrading just prior to retrieval, so they literally have me “growth hormone” might also be called GH or somatropin. I haven’t come across a lot of other people that used that protocol, but definitely had a few nights of 3 different injections. I think you are doing everything you can too be successful and wish you so much success!


  • Hey sweet, When I was going through IVF, all us ladies drank fresh pineapple juice! It contains an enzyme called Bromelain, which helps embies stick. It sounds like you have an excellent diet. I also had lots of fresh greens like spinach and celery etc.


  • Chinese medicine is not a one method for all. Each person gets a custom regime. I did it for a few months.
    I would recommend Acupuncture for IVF. It has a 40% increase for success. You need to see a person who understands fertility well. The cycle I got pregnant, I did acupuncture. Many clinics in Toronto recommend it.

    Yes to Gatorade and salty foods after your egg retrieval. That’s to help prevent ohss.


  • Diet plays a HUGE role in infertility – so glad you realize that and are making changes! SO good to hear – makes my heart happy. Makes my heart sad that your doctor said diet doesn’t matter? And, we wonder why there are so many health problems in the world!!!


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