Ways to Reduce Stress During Your Fertility Treatment
By Dr. Cary Dicken
Stress is not only mentally taxing but becomes physically taxing too. This is especially relevant during fertility treatments, since you are not just undergoing physical stress with medications, but are undergoing the mental challenges that come with it. While it’s OK to understand that this process can be difficult, it’s also important to combat stress effectively in order to help ease the treatment.
Train your Relaxation Response
Your relaxation response is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response stress causes. Training your relaxation response often will help guarantee that in a stressful situation, you will be able to regulate your body’s response. Some good ways to train your relaxation response are:
- Deep belly breathing
- 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique (five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, one thing you can taste
While needles can be a bit daunting, the Chinese practice of acupuncture is made to help reduce stress in the body. The thin needles are put at specific pressure points in the body, resulting in a painless way to help stress. Acupuncture’s effect on stress has been proven in multiple studies and is even said to be effective for insomnia.
Acupuncture is not only a successful stress reliever but also helps combat infertility. Acupuncture helps with blood flow, which is important for creating healthy, viable eggs and creating a rich endometrium lining. Women are encouraged to receive acupuncture pre- and post-embryo transfer in order to help guarantee successful egg retrieval.
Exercise during treatment should be limited, but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in low-impact exercises such as yoga or walking. Exercising helps up your endorphins, which ultimately help you feel good and combat stress. It’s important to discuss with your doctor how much exercise is right for you and how you should be exercising.
The good news is you’re not the only one who has or is going through fertility treatments. There are many people who understand the stresses of infertility and have an idea of what you are going through. If you feel comfortable talking about your feelings with others, it might be good to go to a support group in order to gain insight from other people going through the process.
If you’re not as comfortable discussing your feelings with multiple people, it might be beneficial to connect with a personal therapist or counselor. A therapist can give you tools specified to your needs to help with stress reduction and how to handle the fertility treatment process.
Tools for You
Here are some tools/apps that you can use while going through fertility treatment to help reduce stress)
- Circle + Bloom: Uses meditation and visualization to help de-stress. This app is specific for fertility.
- Calm: General meditation app.
- Headspace: Meditation app that helps integrate meditation into your day-to-day.
- Mindful IVF: Uses meditation to help prepare you for your next IVF treatment.
- Circles: Helps you find a fertility support group online.
- Resolve: Kundalini is known for uniting movement and spirit in a fast-paced environment.
- Psychology Today: Can help you find a therapist that fits your needs.
While the end of fertility treatment can help you create a happy family, getting there can sometimes be difficult. At RMA, we are here to help guide you through any stage of your fertility treatment with as much ease as possible.