At the beginning of treating infertility, it’s totally normal to feel nervous and even anxious about the unknown. Sure, we’ve all seen movies that portray fertility clinics and IVF journeys, but will that be anything like your experience? How will your body respond? Will it be comfortable? Will it work? These are questions that all of our patients have asked at one point or another. The reality of fertility treatments is that it’s a different experience for each patient, but your journey doesn’t have to be stressful or scary. Reproductive assistance has come a long way! Having a few techniques to focus on before, during, and after treatment can help you alleviate and manage stress so that you can focus on the amazing experience ahead of you.
Exercise – With permission from your doctor, exercise can be an invaluable way to tackle anxiety because physical stress on your body can help reduce mental stress. During fertility treatments, light exercises such as walking or jogging can be especially relieving.
Cool it on the Caffeine – Up to 200mg of caffeine is considered safe while trying to conceive and during pregnancy, however, some patients do much better with less or no caffeine. If your daily cup is making you jittery or anxious, swap to lower caffeinated options, or forgo it completely for a while.
Aromatherapy – Don’t underestimate the soothing power of essential oils or a fragrant candle. Not only can aromatherapy help to decrease anxiety, it can also improve sleep which is vital for stress management. When picking a candle, opt for candles made from beeswax and essential oils to reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting toxins.
Keep a Journal – Journals aren’t just for writing memories. Jotting down your thoughts, concerns, or to-do list can help alleviate stress by taking those thoughts out of your head and putting them somewhere concrete to be tackled at a later time. In the words of Scarlett O’Hara “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Alternatively, keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to stay focused on the positive.
Catch a Comedy – Movies, podcasts, TV shows, books, friends; if it makes you laugh, it’s great for anxiety and stress. Next time you’re strolling Netflix skip the gritty drama section and go straight for the comedy to improve your immune system, relieve tension, and shut down the stress.
Enjoy Time with Friends or Family – A solid social network can help you navigate anxiety-ridden experiences and provide a sense of belonging and worth. While men and women both benefit, studies have found that women especially need these connections and time spent with friends. Female bonding helps increase the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin which can be essential during fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI).
Just say “No” – It’s ok to say no or pass on opportunities or responsibilities that don’t bring joy or that may be particularly stressful, especially during fertility treatments. If it’s not essential, you can take a pass. That means you don’t have to host Thanksgiving, bring an entree to a work or church function, or watch your neighbor’s dogs while they’re out of town.
Practice Meditation and Breathing – Gentle activities like yoga can really help create balance and provide a centering effect when you’re feeling a little uneasy. If your namaste speed is a little more “nah-mah-stay-right-here” at home, try practicing meditation and breathing in private by downloading an app to your phone or finding one of many great YouTube videos on that topic.
Feelings of anxiety and stress are completely understandable at the start of your fertility journey, especially before you have a rhythm on what to expect. However, you don’t need to be nervous. Our center has helped many couples and individuals attain their dream of having a child through multiple treatments options including IVF, IUI, egg donation, and surrogacy. Our method of matching one-doctor-to-one-patient is successful because we learn your needs and create a custom treatment plan. To learn more about reproductive treatments at our Trumbull, Fairfield, and Norwalk fertility centers, schedule an appointment online or call us at 203-372-6700.