Hi everyone, Olivia here--I'm Keegan's wife and better half! When I went through stims for the first time in the fall of 2018 I searched high and low for advice on how to prepare. I found all the typical recommendations we’ve heard a million types: stay hydrated, eat healthy, give yourself time to rest, all that.
But nothing prepared me for one side effect of going through stims that anyone who’s been there knows about: the fact that taking IVF stims will make your tummy region blow up and look like you’ve just polished off two super size burritos. Yes, it’s
that most annoying and uncomfortable irony--you’re taking these hormones because you haven’t been able to get pregnant, but they’ll make you look like you have the little baby bump you’ve been trying to get. (See photo at right--that's a stims tummy, NOT a baby bump...ugh.)
Aside from the general discomfort of having my ovaries pushing forth at my abs like a tiny little beach ball, I also--like so many women--had to still show up at work every day looking professional. This was something I wish I was more prepared for before starting stims. I wanted to be able to take stims and still 1) look professional, but also 2) still be comfortable and 3) not have to buy maternity clothes, because when you’re in the middle of fertility treatment that’s the LAST
section of the store you want to even THINK about browsing.
Yet I didn't find a ton of information or recommendations for clothing during this time. Yes, stims only take two weeks (or a little more) of your life, but it can get to be a very uncomfortable time. The photo on the left is during our second stims cycle--as you can see, flowy dresses were a lifesaver.
So, I wrote the guide I wish I had when I was starting stims--and here it is! Here are my top 4 recommendations for functional and comfortable clothes during a very uncomfortable time, with links to some examples that might work for you:
1) Stretchy leggings with an expandable waistband if you need pants. I did not want anything too constricting, especially because the farther into stims you get, the more you may need some extra room to feel comfortable.
2) Flowy tops and long sweaters. Again, this will hide your growing stomach and can look natural and professional--with the bonus of helping ensure you don’t have to deal with any awkward questions from people who think you’re pregnant. That’s the LAST thing any of us want to hear during stims!
3) Swing dresses, empire-waisted dresses and/or adjustable wrap dresses. My first stims cycle was in the fall, and swing and empire dresses with leggings and sweaters worked great for work. My second stims was in the middle of a hot summer, so empire and wrap dresses worked wonders.
For instance, I had a semi-formal work event to attend during my second stims and it was partially outdoors in sweltering August heat. I went to Loft and bought a dress a size or two up from my normal with more of an empire and a belt that I could tighten the waist in. This worked out perfectly because I could adjust it as needed since it was the end of my stims cycle and I wasn’t sure how much room I’d need. I safety-pinned the bust line so I wasn't busting out.
4) Sweatpants/comfortable pants and large top for egg retrieval day and next day (if you are able to be home). In the end, comfort is key. You’ve been through a lot, you’re working INSANELY hard, and after a day balancing regular life plus being on IVF stims? You deserve to treat yourself.
So there you have it, my four recommendations for clothes to get you through stims. For those who are about to leap into stims, lots of good luck--and take care of yourself! And for those who’ve already been through it--what else would you recommend?