IVF Is Tough—These 10 Self-Care Products Made My Experience Easier

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Products for IVF

Verywell Family / Kevin Liang

No matter how you look at it, going through IVF is intense. Hopeful, nervous, disappointed, excited, happy, stressed—at some point or another, you’ll probably feel all of this, sometimes in quick succession. Add in a wallop of hormones and some early mornings, and you have a potent cocktail of emotions, at a time when you might also be avoiding cocktails!

One particularly challenging element of IVF is ceding your sense of control. Beyond staying on top of the medications and showing up to appointments, there’s not a lot you can do to change the outcome. What you can control, at least a little bit, is your comfort and well-being—things that are definitely worth investing in. 

From an insulated tumbler to a heating pad to a pair of silly socks, these items made a tough period of my life much more comfortable. And if you know someone going through IVF, a thoughtful gift like this can let them know you care at a time when they might be feeling down or stressed.

A Tumbler to Keep You Properly Caffeinated

YETI Rambler 20 oz Tumbler


To buy: YETI Rambler 20 oz Tumbler, $35; yeti.com, amazon.com

One thing that I didn’t entirely grasp at the beginning of the IVF process was just how much waiting it entails. Some of that takes place at home, sitting by the phone, but a lot of waiting happens in the doctor’s office, at early-morning monitoring appointments. A nice warm cup of coffee goes a long way to making you feel human after an early wakeup. 

I spent many mornings clutching my YETI tumbler, waiting for my name to be called. Even after a long drive to the doctor, my coffee stayed piping hot—comforting and invigorating at the same time.

A Journal to Keep Track of Things

Leuchtturm1917 Jottbook Double Pack


To buy: Leuchtturm1917 Jottbook Double Pack, $11; amazon.com

Early on in the IVF process, a box arrives on your doorstep that contains literally thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs. I remember opening the box and looking at it all in dismay. Some of it had to be refrigerated. There were big plastic bags of syringes. And all of it had different instructions. “How am I going to manage this?” I thought. 

The answer is: With careful instructions! Depending on how your body responds to medications, you might need all of it, or some of it, or (at least for some of the meds) none at all. Instructions on when and how to take these meds are often conveyed with a phone call, and can change from day to day. Sure, some of it is buried in online portals, but when you have to take a certain drug at precisely a certain time in a certain dose in a certain way, you’ll want it written down and close at hand. 

I’ve always been a huge fan of the Leuchtturm brand, and these small notebooks were particularly helpful for IVF because I could keep them in my pocket or purse. It comes in a two-pack, so you can always have one nearby, or you can use different ones for different stages of the process. I also jotted down questions as they occurred to me, so I’d be ready to ask the nurse or doctor when I saw them.

Silly Socks to Make You Smile

Real Sic Socks Down on the Farm Series


To buy: Real Sic Socks Down on the Farm Series, $10; amazon.com

IVF can be a lonely experience. It’s not widely talked about, and it can feel all-consuming when you’re in it. A good friend sent me these lucky egg socks before my retrieval, and they kept my feet and my heart warm. Even if you get them for yourself, they’re still lucky—and they’ll keep your toes toasty at the doctor’s office.

Prenatal Vitamins That Taste Like Candy

SmartyPants Prenatal Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin


To buy: SmartyPants Prenatal Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin, $23; amazon.com

Doctors will advise you to start taking a prenatal vitamin when you start trying to conceive. Depending on your mindset and how long you’ve been TTC, this can feel like a bit of a tease. These gummy vitamins taste like a treat (something we noted when these earned a spot in our list of the Best Prenatal Vitamins), but they have everything you need to support the healthy pregnancy that is (hopefully) coming your way.

A Heating Pad to Ease Discomfort

Sunbeam Heating Pad


To buy: Sunbeam Heating Pad, $20; amazon.com

Say the letters “PIO” to an IVF veteran, and you might get a wince of recognition. They stand for “progesterone in oil,” a type of shot that is a common part of the process. It’s an intramuscular injection, and while you get used to taking shots during IVF, PIO shots sting. Some quality time with this generously sized heating pad watching trashy TV post-PIO shot became part of my evening routine. I liked that this pad has a long cord, so you’re not tethered to an outlet and can sprawl as much as you want.

A Yoga Mat for Restorative Movement

Gaiam Performance Dry Grip Yoga Mat


To buy: Gaiam Performance Dry Grip Yoga Mat, $70; gaiam.com

I was already a fan of yoga when I started IVF, but my practice changed and felt even more essential when I was going through it. Instead of more vigorous classes, I gravitated toward slower, restorative yoga. I was stressed and tired, and it felt right. There’s some science around this too: Research suggests that doing yoga might improve outcomes for people undergoing IVF.

I love my Gaiam mat. It’s nicely grippy and roomy enough to feel like you can spread out during savasana. I’ve used it for years, and it’s just as good as it was the day I bought it.

A Cup for Smoothies to Go

S’well Geode Rose Tumbler with Straw


To buy: S’well Geode Rose Tumbler with Straw, $35; swell.com

Did I mention there are a lot of early mornings? There are a lot of early mornings. And if you’re getting poked and prodded and having blood drawn, breakfast is a necessity. You have to keep your strength up! I got in the habit of making a quick smoothie and taking it to go. I could sip it on the way, and it provided nutrition and comfort. 

This tumbler is a pretty color, and when the nurse called my name, it wouldn’t spill everywhere, if I knocked it over as I hustled to answer.

A Meditation App to Stay Present

Headspace membership


To buy: Headspace membership, $70 per year; headspace.com

IVF is expensive, the results are uncertain, and your hormones are running wild. It’s easy for anxiety to get the best of you. I had never considered myself a meditation person, but this app’s short visualizations and guided meditations made it much easier for me to stay in the moment, especially during the dreaded post-transfer two-week wait.

Comfy Pants to Lounge In

Kindred Bravely Bamboo Maternity & Postpartum Lounge Pants

Kindered Bravely

To buy: Kindred Bravely Bamboo Maternity & Postpartum Lounge Pants, $45; kindredbravely.com

I know, it might feel weird buying maternity pants during this time, but these don't register as maternity pants at all. IVF medicines can cause bloat, and you need to have easy access to your body for all the shots, so a comfortable pair of pants is essential. The soft, wide waistline won't irritate any sensitive spots on your stomach, and they're nice-looking enough for outings but incredibly comfortable for staying in. I especially love that they have pockets, and you can buy them in a cropped length too.

Slip-On Shoes So You’re Ready to Go

Kizik Women’s Lima


To buy: Kizik Women’s Lima, $109; kizik.com

Whether you’re rushing out the door to make your monitoring appointment or at the doctor’s office, you need to be able to get your shoes on and off quickly. This brand makes stylish shoes that are designed to slip on and off easily, no lacing up—because you definitely don’t have time to waste.

1 Source
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  1. Darbandi S, Darbandi M, Khorram Khorshid HR, Sadeghi MR. Yoga can improve assisted reproduction technology outcomes in couples with infertility. Altern Ther Health Med. 2018;24(4):50-55.