If you have been struggling to conceive, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be next on your list of conception strategies. IVF works for many women, but it doesn’t come without challenges. Going through a cycle of IVF can mess with your hormones, cause you some pain and discomfort, and may ultimately end in disappointment. Before you begin your first IVF cycle, prepare yourself for this serious medical procedure.
Scheme of in vitro fertilization

Get Educated and See Your Doctor

Before you get involved in IVF, which is expensive and can take several cycles before it leads to a pregnancy, make sure you read up on it. Learn everything you can about the procedure, including but not limited to, what it involves, how long it takes, success rates, how long you can wait before you do another cycle, and how much it will cost.

Visit your doctor or fertility specialist for all the required testing and screening appointments and get all of your questions answered. Find out what medications you will be taking and how they will affect you. Ask your doctor how many embryos you will be implanting and what the likelihood is of having a multiple pregnancy. Ask about risks and complications. Ask everything you need to in order to feel comfortable going forward.

Get Ready to Be Tired

What not all women realize about going through a cycle of IVF is that it wears you out. It will leave you feeling fatigued and worn down. You won’t want to do all of your usual activities and you will need more time to get things done. Clear out your schedule ahead of your IVF procedure as much as you possibly can. Try to delegate chores and responsibilities to other people. For the things you can’t delegate or eliminate, leave yourself extra time to get them done.

Prepare a Support System

You may not want to tell everyone about your IVF plans. When it fails, which it often does, you will have to share that as well. Pick a few close friends or family members to keep in the loop and ask them to be there for you when you need emotional and practical support. You will be glad to have someone to share in your joy if the procedure is successful or to lean on if it fails. You will also be glad that you have a few people to rely on for practical needs like grocery shopping when you’re too tired or covering for you at work.

Have Food and Stretchy Pants on Hand

IVF is going to mess with your hormones, which is why you will be so fatigued. The hormone changes are also likely to make you hungry and bloated. Don’t be upset if you gain a few extra pounds. If your body tells you to eat more, it needs nourishment. Just make sure you have stocked your kitchen with all the snacks you typically crave, as well as healthy foods ahead of time. Also have your sweat pants or some yoga pants one size up ready to go so that you can relax and fit into comfortable clothing.

Going through IVF is hard work, but when it results in a successful pregnancy, it’s all worth it. If you are considering starting IVF, prepare. Being ready by knowing what will happen and planning for how you will feel is important for getting through these difficult procedures.