Why stress management matters
Being told to relax can seem like a tall order when in the middle of an IVF round. However, while conventional wisdom states that stress can’t impact fertility treatments, newer research suggests otherwise. A recent study that followed 457 infertile couples undergoing IVF-ET found a link between stress and success. Couples with higher stress enzymes in saliva samples collected just before undergoing embryo transfer had the lowest success rates for achieving pregnancy. Although more research is needed on physiological stress and fertility, staying calm while undergoing fertility treatment doesn’t hurt and may offer some benefits.
1. Skip the doom scrolling
Being an informed IVF patient is smart, but endlessly researching fertility outcomes and odds based on medication protocols, diet, and other factors can sometimes heighten anxiety. Limit time spent going down information black holes and find healthier ways to spend time.
2. Enjoy pampering activities
Trying to conceive (TTC) can feel like an endless waiting game. Rather than spending downtime during an IVF cycle pacing the house, consider going for a massage, facial, or another relaxing pursuit that can reframe the mind.
3. Get active
Exercise can be a great way to release stress while also engaging in an activity that’s good for the body. The activities don’t have to be extensive but can aid in allowing a person to relax and gain perspective. Yoga is a great way to decrease stress while getting in some IVF-approved exercise. Women undergoing IVF are cautioned against engaging in high-impact activities such as running once ovarian stimulation medications have been started because of the risk of a failed cycle.
4. Find a community
Infertility can feel like an isolating experience. The truth is that the problem is incredibly common, with 9% of men and 11% of women of reproductive age experiencing issues in the United States. During this time, avoid isolating and ruminating, as both behaviors harm mental health. Whether with a trusted group of friends and family or through a support group, find a community to help manage the stress of IVF treatment.
A day at a time
No matter how a couple attempts to get pregnant, trying to conceive is stressful. Undergoing IVF can add to the experience because of the additional hormones and expenses. Learning to better manage stress is critical to boosting outcomes and improving mental health.