Infertility is a common medical condition, affecting 1 in 8 couples. Millions of those couples turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF) for help in becoming parents. IVF is a process in which a woman’s egg is fertilized in a laboratory and transferred to her uterus.
IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. However, having IVF can be stressful because of the challenges of infertility and the ups and downs of treatment.
If you’re undergoing IVF, taking some simple steps can help you feel less stressed. The caring specialists at California Center for Reproductive Health recommend these five strategies for managing stress during IVF.
Stress buster #1: Yoga
Yoga combines rhythmic breathing with poses that stretch your muscles and boost your flexibility. It can help both your mind and body feel more relaxed.
There are many types of yoga. During infertility treatment, opt for gentle yoga styles such as hatha yoga. Avoid “hot” yoga, which takes place in overheated rooms.
Stress buster #2: Walking
Exercise is a proven stress buster. However, your doctor may suggest that you avoid vigorous exercise during IVF.
Walking offers a gentler exercise option. Like other types of exercise, walking boosts the release of your body’s own natural stress-soothing brain chemicals. It can improve your mood and help you feel refreshed and energetic.
Stress buster #3: Mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a practice of calming your mind. You focus mindfully and intentionally on the present, letting go of worries about the future and regrets about the past.
Using audio guidance is a great way to get started with meditation. There are many popular meditation apps available.
Stress buster #4: Expressive writing
Expressive writing gives you an opportunity to pour your emotions about an upsetting event or situation, such as infertility, onto a page. Writing allows you to express thoughts you may not feel comfortable sharing with others. This can help you put stressful feelings into perspective and feel less upset by them.
Try writing about what’s stressing you for 20 minutes a day for three or four consecutive days. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar; you’re writing only for yourself.
Stress buster #5: A daily gratitude journal
When you’re feeling weighed down by anxiety and negativity, focusing on things that make you feel grateful can lift you up into a more positive place.
Keeping a gratitude journal is an excellent way to build a practice of appreciating the good things in your life. Each day, write down a list of the things that make you feel grateful. Your list could include items such as:
- The day’s beautiful weather
- The joy you feel when you spend time with friends
- The taste of your favorite food
- The happiness you feel when your dog cuddles up next to you
- The way your partner makes you laugh
Tracking the many things that make you feel thankful can bring more joy into your life and help shift your attention away from the challenges of infertility.
Why reduce stress?
Stress isn’t just an annoyance. It actually has a physical impact on your body. When you’re stressed, your body releases a cascade of stress hormones. If you’re chronically stressed over long periods of time, high levels of stress hormones can contribute to health problems.
Using stress reduction techniques like the ones above can lower the levels of stress hormones in your body. Some studies have found that reducing stress can improve your odds of getting pregnant during an IVF cycle.
Find out more
If you’re experiencing infertility, one of the best stress-busters is to work with a caring, experienced medical team. Here at California Center for Reproductive Health, our caring providers offer a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for couples dealing with infertility.
To find out how we can help you, call your nearest Los Angeles-area clinic in Encino, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, or Valencia, California, or use the easy online tool to schedule a visit with one of our specialists.