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Preparing for ART

"When you go through something like In-Vitro Fertilization, you want to make sure you have the best chance possible." ~April

This information is for women who are considering infertility treatment and preparing for pregnancy.

The video focuses on being healthy before, during, and after ART treatment, with a special consideration of health behaviors that could enhance fertility treatment outcomes and promote health after ART success (e.g., pregnancy and live-birth).

Good for you—if you are doing these things now!

These actions may increase your chance of achieving a pregnancy, having a healthy pregnancy, and avoid complications that could affect your health and the outcome of your pregnancy.Photo of 3 women.

  • Start and continue taking 400 mcg of folic acid daily, in the form of a vitamin supplement or enriched foods.
  • Stop smoking cigarettes.
  • Eliminate alcohol consumption.
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine intake.
  • Start or continue an exercise regimen that helps control weight and provides relaxation and stress reduction benefits.
  • Control your chronic conditions under medical supervision (e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes, reproductive tract infections, dental disease, anxiety, lupus, arthritis, epilepsy.)
  • Develop eating habits that can continue into pregnancy and beyond, consider smaller portions of high quality foods providing sound nutritional value.
  • Be sure your immunization records are up-to-date. Vaccines protect you from diseases such as rubella, tetanus, influenza, and whooping cough.
  • Take advantage of wellness programs at work or in the community.

What you may change as you begin infertility treatment.

  • Use of medications and treatment (prescription, over-the-counter, herbal or complementary) that could affect fertility treatment outcomes or may cause birth defects.
    • If you choose any form of infertility treatment, including ART, your physician should review these medications because some may interfere with treatment outcomes.
    • You also need to know what drugs and medications are not advisable for use during pregnancy (e.g., cause birth defects, pregnancy complications) or can be used in moderation or with increased supervision.
  • Exposure to environmental and workplace hazards. These can include products such as pesticides, solvents, and even prescription medicines that you may handle or touch. This includes clothing or equipment used by a household member in their work or as part of a hobby. If a pregnancy occurs, these exposures could be dangerous during the first trimester.

“…The healthiest women, the healthiest couples have the healthiest babies. The healthiest couples are going to have the best chance of successful assisted reproduction…~Dr. Callaghan.
Don’t forget your emotional health during this time. It is one part of the construct of health and wellness. Some ART clinics and several national organizations can provide peer support programs for you and others involved in your life.

Adapted from CDC’s Recommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Health Care—United States.

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Related Links

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Library of Medicine
    The National Library of Medicine’s, MedlinePlus, offers information on infertility including drugs and medications, medical terms, and other resources for care, support, and decision making.
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains this registry of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. Searching the database gives you information about a trial's purpose, who may participate, locations, and contact information to obtain more details about clinical trials on infertility and related health problems.
  • Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology
    The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) promotes and advances the standards for the practice of assisted reproductive technology to the benefit of patients, members and society at large.
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
    The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) is a multidisciplinary organization for the advancement of information, education, advocacy and standards in the field of reproductive medicine.
  • American Fertility Association
    The American Fertility Association (AFA) is a national consumer organization that offers support for men and women dealing with infertility. Their purpose is to educate the public about reproductive disease and support families during struggles with infertility and adoption.
  • RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
    RESOLVE is a national consumer organization that offers support for men and women dealing with infertility. Their purpose is to provide timely, compassionate support and information to people who are experiencing infertility and to increase awareness of infertility issues through public education and advocacy.
  • Fertile Hope
    Fertile Hope is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility.
  • American Urological Association Foundation
    The American Urological Association Foundation provides educational services and referrals to benefit patients with male infertility.
  • The Infertility Family Research Registry
    The Infertility Family Research Registry is a growing pool of volunteers interested in helping to improve understanding of the health of people and families that have faced a diagnosis of infertility or dealt with infertility treatments. The registry provides a bridge between these individuals and experienced researchers.
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