After our 4th miscarriage, which was an IVF pregnancy, I decided that I had to try something else. I’ve never been much of a believer in holistic approaches to medicine and health, but I had heard so many success stories from other women going through similar struggles. I decided to give it a shot. All of the lifestyle changes I have made are listed below, along with tips + tools that helped me on my journey!
There are many, many studies showing that acupuncture increases the effectiveness of FETs, decreases the risk of miscarriage, and overall makes you feel better during pregnancy. Not only do I have the risk of miscarriage and hemorrhaging to think about, but I also tend to have terrible nausea + vomiting.
I started seeing my current acupuncturist in May and immediately loved it. Surprisingly, it’s a very relaxing experience and for 30 – 60 minutes each week, I’m calm. Along with the acupuncture, my clinic recommends a specific diet, supplements & herbs based on your needs. I started taking 5 additional supplements, a few herbal cocktails and drastically changed my diet. Within a few weeks, I could feel a difference.
- Avoid animal dairy (no cheese, butter, sour cream, etc).
- No wheat flour
- Low carb
- Lots of protein
- Drink lots of water (cut soda)
I don’t think I realized how much of a change avoiding dairy & wheat would be. They’re literally in just about everything I used to eat. Prior to this diet, I was eating Chick-fil-A at least 2x a week. Everything was fried, battered or contained butter (& cheese). It was a huge adjustment for me and initially I felt so discouraged. I focused on what the purpose was, to reduce inflammation and increase circulation. Now that I’ve been living this life for a few months now, it’s still difficult and daunting at times, but I do feel better. I get fewer stomach aches, no longer feel bloated after meals, and don’t have an energy crash after eating a big meal.
After doing my own research, I found that there’s a lot of evidence supporting a lower carb diet and increased fertility treatment success. I have a relatively low carb goal that I try to stick to, but this is still where I mess up some days. What can I say, I love french fries!
Of course, I’m not a doctor and this is just what has been recommended to me. I ran all of this by my RE and he is supportive of everything, as long as it doesn’t cause me stress! There were a few recommendations my acupuncturist gave me that I opted out of, like completely removing caffeine and only drinking water. Some days, I just want a lemonade and a cup of coffee, so I let myself have that. It’s all about balance!
Exercise is not my thing. I’m not someone that enjoys it at all. Spinning (indoor cycling) has always piqued my interest, but I’ve never wanted to go to in-person classes. The Peloton bike has been all over my Facebook newsfeed over the past several months and it did interest me — but it’s about $2,000 and that wasn’t going to happen. I learned that there is also a Peloton app for iPhone/iPad, that gives you access to their entire library of exercise classes. I did a little research and found blog posts on how to DIY a “Peloton” bike without the $2,000 price tag. After all of the pieces, I spent about $400 + the $12/month for the Peloton app subscription.
I’ve been loving their spin classes and have worked out much more over the past 3 months than in my entire life. Of course, I have good weeks and bad weeks. I stick to the low impact & beginner rides for now. The classes are very engaging, there’s (typically) great music in the background, and the instructors are very entertaining. It does take a minute to figure out how much to adjust the resistance when they announce to. Overall, it was a great purchase and has kept me much more active.
I use this to log my food daily and keep track of my carbs.
- Peloton App
- DIY Peloton bike
This is the blog post that I used to build my own “Peloton” bike!
- Large stainless steel cup (my favorite is Yeti!)
Helps me make sure I am drinking plenty of water daily (my goal is about 100oz)
Tips for Success
- Be kind to yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up, or feel guilty, over poor meal choices. Every meal is an opportunity to start fresh, don’t wait until the next day or “Monday”. I’ve done this a couple times and ended up feeling like complete crap (physically). It’s amazing how quickly your body gets used to eating better.
- Take it slow.
Initially, I began logging my food with MyFitnessPal without making any diet changes. I did this to get used to logging my food and to have a “baseline” to compare myself to after implementing the changes.
- Focus on what you can eat, not what you can’t.
It was hard for me not to get discouraged (and sometimes even depressed) over all of the foods I was giving up. I would be in tears over ice cream, bread, and pizza. Instead, focus on the foods that you love that you can still have and be determined to find a way to recreate the other foods in a healthier way.
- Cook your own meals.
THIS IS SO TOUGH. I don’t like to cook. I still struggle with this daily and need so much improvement, but it really is so much easier to make food that fits your needs versus going out and trying to figure it out. Sometimes, we’ll go out to dinner and I’ll stare at the options and I can’t have anything without modifications. So, save yourself the stress and try to cook at home more! Instagram is an amazing resource for recipes and food inspiration. My diet is kind of a modified Paleo, so I tend to look for those types of recipes.
I hope this has helped anyone on the fence about changing up their diet, for whatever the reason may be. You can do it and not hate it, I promise.
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