It’s important to think about the lifestyle choices you make at least 3-6 months leading up to this procedure, just as you would if you were thinking of getting pregnant, because you do have the power to improve egg quality no matter your age. Here are our top 5 recommendations for preparing to freeze your eggs:
- 1. Follow a Mediterranean diet
- Nutrition is the cornerstone of supporting fertility and improving egg quality. While research is still uncovering the exact roles that dietary patterns and certain foods play in egg quality, specific foods and nutrients have been linked to improved egg quality, especially:
- Antioxidants like vitamins C and E
- B-vitamins like folate and B12
- Fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids
A whole-food, Mediterranean-style diet is loaded in antioxidant-rich foods like colorful vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. This diet also encourages lots of leafy greens which are rich in folate (the active form everyone can utilize rather than synthetic folic acid), and lots of healthy fat from extra virgin olive oil, avocados, and olives. Even more specifically, omega-3 fatty acids are key for optimizing egg quality and the best sources include low mercury seafood such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies, oysters, and herring. Learn more about this dietary approach here.
2. Practice good oral hygiene
47% of adults aged 30 and older have some form of periodontal disease. Inflammation of the gums can result in inflammation throughout the body, and there is increasingly more evidence that infertility is linked to poor oral health. Meeting with a dentist and practicing daily oral hygiene in addition to brushing, such as flossing and using a water pick, can make a huge difference. Learn more about this topic here from Dr. Staci Whitman.
- 3. Support your mitochondria
Mitochondria are often referred to as “the powerhouse of the cell” because this is where energy is created. Yet the health of your mitochondria impacts far more than you might realize, including the health of your eggs! Poorly functioning mitochondria may be a cause of declining egg quality as we age, and the act of fertilizing, implanting, and successfully growing your baby all takes a lot of energy! Therefore, we want to give the mitochondria what they need to thrive and avoid what harms them:
- Take a balanced prenatal supplement that contains antioxidants like vitamin C and E, B-complex vitamins, iron, selenium, and magnesium.
- Include high quality fatty acids, protein, and lots of vegetables with each meal. Purchase pasture-raised and organic foods whenever possible.
- Exercise enough, but not too much. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate-vigorous activity, equivalent to 30 minutes 5 days a week. However, you may need a bit more or less, depending on your individual circumstances. This is why we recommend you speak with your doctor about an exercise routine most appropriate for you.
- Avoid added sugar and highly processed food, especially refined grains and carbohydrates. These can cause eggs to age prematurely.
- Reduce your exposure to toxins (see #4).
4. Reduce your exposure to toxins
While certain foods and dietary patterns can protect and improve egg quality, there are many toxins in our environment that can do damage to our eggs as well as mitochondria as mentioned above. While we can’t get away from every toxin, there are many things we can do to reduce our exposure. Here are a few of the best things you can do:
- Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke when possible. If you smoke and need help quitting, now is the time to reach out and ask!
- Get a high-quality water and air filter.
- Swap plastic water bottles and containers for glass, stainless steel, and/or ceramic.
- Just say “no” to receipts! Many receipts contain the known endocrine disruptor Bisphenol A (BPA), and it can transfer from the receipt into your body through your skin. Best to go paperless.
- See more ideas here.
- 5. Prioritize sleep and stress management
Getting enough sleep and managing your stress are not just recommendations to help you feel refreshed each morning and keep you going throughout the day. Your sleep-wake cycle can have a huge impact on egg quality, one reason being melatonin production. Having enough melatonin is critical for fertility and egg quality, but if we stay up too late into the evening and stare at blue lights on our phones/computers, this can reduce your melatonin production. Getting to sleep each night around the same time, avoiding blue lights or wearing blue light blocking glasses 2-3 hours before sleep, and carving out at least 7-8 hours for sleep is key for egg quality and fertility. Additionally, not only can unmanaged stress send signals to the body that it’s not a good time to prioritize resources going to your reproductive system, including the egg, but stress can also throw off hormone levels and interfere with quality sleep! We recommend doing some form of stress reduction practice every day. If you need a place to start, consider WeNatal’s Manifestation Journal even if you are delaying pregnancy.