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Top Tips for Minimizing Stress Associated with Infertility Treatments
Written in Partnership with HRC Fertility, July 14, 2015
“Infertility is a direct cause of stress,” says Dr. Jane Frederick. Infertility treatment such as IVF can monopolize your day-to-day life and affect your interactions and relationships with your partner, your family, friends and co-workers. Having to schedule sex can take away the spontaneity and pleasure, making sex seem more like a chore.
Frederick, Medical Director of HRC Fertility in Newport Beach, CA, encourages her patients to find ways to reduce the stress of infertility treatments. Here are her top tips:
- Communicate. “No one understands what you are going through better than your partner,” says Frederick, “And together you can support one another through this difficult time.” Talking to your partner about your feelings is essential. In addition, seek out a support system of understanding family and friends who you can lean on during this difficult time.
- Participate. You’re understandably focusing on getting pregnant 24/7. But Frederick says that if you can find time to nurture hobbies and participate in activities you enjoy, you will be able to relax more and better deal with your infertility.
- Connect. Touch is a great stress reducer. A good hug, a cuddle with your partner, even a snuggle with your pet can reduce anxiety.
- Exclude. Take a good look at your diet, and eliminate foods and beverages with caffeine and those which act as stimulants, as they will intensify feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Meditate. “What is unique about meditation is it can be used in conjunction with any other therapy or medication,” Frederick says. Meditation helps clear your mind of excess chatter and thoughts.
- Breathe. Your breathing patterns change when you are stressed. Short, shallow breaths don’t allow for enough oxygen to keep your body working optimally. Try this: Take a deep breath in through your nose and release it gently through your lips. Focus and feel your chest rise and fall with these deep breaths. Repeat 10 times, and do this intermittently throughout your day.
Many women and couples also benefit greatly from seeing a fertility counselor. If your fertility clinic doesn’t have one on staff they can recommend one.
Meditation can also be the repetition of an action. For example, knitting can be a repetitive, meditative task that requires enough concentration to clear your mind of stress.
When you are preparing for IVF and during treatment be sure to develop some go-to stress relieving activities to help you manage, Frederick says. “Reducing stress will allow you to have a happier and more peaceful experience while building your family.”