Are you preparing to become pregnant using an egg donor? The great news is that the chance of pregnancy success with in vitro fertilization with donor eggs is high! Success rates are even higher when you, as the intended mother (or surrogate), are well-prepared to receive the embryo and carry it to term.
Are You Preparing for a Donor Egg Pregnancy?
This blog offers tips on:
- Folic acid and other prenatal supplements
- Healthy diet choices
- Exercise for a healthy pregnancy
- Stress management for overall well-being
To maximize the successful implantation of an embryo from fresh or frozen donor eggs, recipients should follow the same guidelines for preparing for pregnancy that all intended parents follow.
Preconception Health Tips for Donor Egg Pregnancy
One of the advantages of using donor eggs for pregnancy is that your pregnancy is planned. You can prepare to be your healthiest self with good nutrition, exercise, stress management, and more!
Some of the most important steps you can take before you become pregnant include:
- Stop drinking alcohol and consider limiting your caffeine intake.
- If you smoke, stop. Also, stay away from second-hand smoke as best you can before and after you become pregnant.
- If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, depression, obesity, or hypertension, make sure your physician knows you are trying to become pregnant. Review all medications you are taking with your provider and schedule regular visits.
- Take folic acid every day for at least 3 months before getting pregnant. Folic acid lowers the risk of birth defects in your baby’s brain and spine. Taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid is the best and easiest way to ensure you get the folic acid you need.
Healthy Eating and Nutrition
Did you know that eating habits can significantly impact how easily an intended parent becomes pregnant? According to fertility research at Harvard, improving your chances of successful embryo implantation and a healthy pregnancy include a well-balanced diet. A healthy diet provides many benefits, such as promoting a healthy immune system and a healthy weight.
What constitutes a healthy pre-pregnancy diet? Healthy fats, vegetables, proteins, whole grains, a high level of folic acid, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D are all important.
- Before and during pregnancy, eat foods high in complex carbohydrates, not simple carbohydrates. These foods contain lots of fiber and are digested more slowly than foods with simple carbohydrates like white bread, sugary drinks, and cookies.
- A diet high in whole grains (such as brown rice), fruits, and vegetables reduce the risk of insulin resistance. This hormonal problem can interfere with a healthy pregnancy, especially when cortisol and estrogen fluctuate during pregnancy.
Protein and Iron
- Iron boosts red blood cell production and cardiovascular health. Iron is found in red meat, chicken, leafy greens, and beans.
- It is best to have a balance of protein sources, both meats and vegetables.
- Try to get a large portion of your iron from dark, leafy vegetables instead of red meat. Add an iron supplement if recommended by your doctor.
- Avoid eating fish that are high in mercury such as swordfish and mackerel.
- Healthy fats contribute to a well-balanced diet and are found in olives, nuts, seeds, and fish. Antioxidants and omega fatty acids boost brain development, among other benefits.
- Trans fats (often found in fast foods, snack foods, sweetened breakfast cereals, etc.) should be avoided as they can have a negative impact on both the health of the mother and fetus..
- Women in a Harvard study who consumed 1-2 servings of whole-fat dairy products per day had less trouble conceiving than those who consumed low-fat dairy. So enjoy whole-fat yogurts and milk!
Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements
Everything that goes into your body can nourish your uterine environment and can improve your embryo implantation success. These critical nutrients include:
- Calcium helps develop strong teeth, bones, and muscles. Calcium can be found in dairy, beans, and some leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and iron and is found in dairy, some fish, and some leafy greens.
- Vitamin C is important for the growth and repair of tissues throughout your body. Good sources are citrus fruits, berries, and many vegetables.
- Folic acid is critical for reducing the risk of birth defects in the early stages of fetal development and for the rapid cell growth of the placenta and developing baby. Folic acid should be taken before and throughout your pregnancy. Sources include dark green veggies, citrus, dried beans, and avocados.
- Good prenatal supplements may include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, iron, calcium, omega 3-fatty acid, and folic acid. All of these are important for ensuring optimal pregnancy health. Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can recommend the best brand for you.
Exercise for Pregnancy
Exercise is vital for overall health and prepares you for a successful pregnancy by:
- Boosting blood circulation that helps your uterine tissue
- Keeping your joints more flexible
- Strengthening your pelvic floor
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Walking, bike riding, and swimming are excellent aerobic exercise choices. Yoga and weight-bearing exercises can strengthen your core muscles which are important for carrying a baby.
Exercise can also help keep your weight gain in a healthy range. Studies show that pregnancy risks increase for women with higher BMI (body mass index).
How to Reduce Stress When Preparing for Pregnancy Using Donor Eggs
The benefits of exercise are more than physical! Exercise helps reduce stress and boosts one’s mood and overall well-being. Stress management can be another important factor in becoming pregnant and having a successful pregnancy.
In addition to exercise, ensure your day includes activities and thoughts that make you happy. Consider starting a new hobby that brings you joy. Consult a therapist for supportive care and to work out tensions, regrets, and worries. Amble sleep is also critical for you and your baby.
Taking the time to care for yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.
Preparing to Receive Donor Eggs
All the health recommendations above apply to any woman trying to become pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy. But women who decide to use donor eggs on their journey to parenthood can face some extra challenges, particularly women over 40.
Older mothers may experience some health risks, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Therefore, taking care of your health with a nutritious diet and regular exercise is even more critical. A thorough medical checkup before you start your donor egg pregnancy is important, as is ongoing medical care. It is also critical that you check your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars on a schedule recommended by your doctor.
Atlantic Shared Beginnings offers unique programs that use donor eggs and partner or donor sperm to help intended parents achieve their family dreams. Your health, well-being, and safety are, and will always be, at the heart of everything we do.
Atlantic Shared Beginnings offers free phone consultations to explore donor egg pregnancy. We look forward to talking with you.