Undergoing fertility treatment? Here is how to keep stress at bay

The best way to reduce stress during this time is to get yourself prepared for everything and anything that could possibly come up.

By Dr Priya Varshney

Are you trying to conceive with support from fertility treatments? The process of taking treatment for fertility related issues can be an incredibly stressful journey for couples.  Besides mental fatigue, the costs involved, and the toll the medications can take on your body along with the uncertainty if your efforts will lead to success can all contribute to your anxiety, despite your best efforts to remain relaxed.

There are a lot of things you can do to manage stress during fertility treatment especially for treatments like IVF and get yourself through in a calmer frame of mind:

Why the stress?

  • Rising infertility prevalence

  • Family and peer pressure

  • Financial constraints

  • Fear of side-effects

  • Fear of failure/sense of loss

  • Anxiety

  • Hormone overload

  • Mood fluctuations

  • Self-blame

  • Constant waiting

  • Can’t discuss it with family/friends

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Practice yoga: Yoga is an ancient mind-body technique that helps sharpen your focus while stretching and strengthening your muscles. Many studies have shown that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety, both in the short- and long-term.

Regular Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins that immediately make you feel better. Light to moderate cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging, cycling, dancing, enhance blood flow and can redirect your thoughts from negative to positive. Exercise also regulates your overall mood and improves sleep patterns, both of which keep stress levels in check.

Meditation: If you’ve ever been curious about trying meditation, the time surrounding your infertility treatments is the perfect opportunity to explore this activity. Meditation doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. Simply set aside a few minutes per day in a quiet location where you will not be interrupted. Sit or lie in a comfortable position and focus on your breath. Let your thoughts pass through your mind.

Practise mindfulness: Make a purposeful effort to slow down and connect with what’s happening right here, right now. Bringing your focus back to the present moment can lower your stress levels by prohibiting your anxious mind from hijacking your enjoyment of what’s going on in front of you.

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Connect with online-support groups: Connect with other couples undergoing treatment. Meeting others who are undergoing a similar experience can provide the relief of knowing that you are not alone. In-person and online support groups can connect you to others who can share their experiences and offer suggestions to ease your anxiety and improve your journey. This will help you educate your family and people around about what you are currently undergoing.

Handy tips

  • Know the procedure thoroughly

  • Plan your work accordingly

  • Put other family/social stress aside

  • Firm belief in your doctor/center

  • Keep positivity around

  • Lifestyle changes like walking/meditation/diet

  • Prepare yourself to accept the negatives

  • Don’t give up

Communication with your partner: Communicate with your partner but don’t expect your partner to always feel the way you do. Women tend to be more affected by infertility.

Take regular breaks: If trying to conceive is taking over your life, take a break and allow yourself a couple of months to regroup.

The best way to reduce stress during this time is to get yourself prepared for everything and anything that could possibly come up. Treatments with IVF can take anywhere from two weeks to two months. Plan your travel, time and expenses accordingly. Preparing yourself to maintain a calm attitude through this time is solely to help you cope and maintain your overall health. Try your best to live in the present and know that you are doing the best that you can do for your future.  Always remember, stress will only have a negative physical impact on your body also it can affect results and chronically stressed over long periods of time will only contribute to health problems.

So go ahead with all the positivity.

(The writer is Senior Consultant – Fertility, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Gurgaon)

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