The overwhelming anxiety surrounding infertility and treatment for infertility is real. In fact, , roughly 20% of men and over 40% of women enter into their first IVF cycle with anxiety. That kind of stress sets you up for the more crippling depression and even takes a toll on your body to the point it impacts your reproductive system.
The best thing you and your partner can do is alleviate that stress from the start. Get ahead of IVF anxiety and your journey is a far easier one. To prevent anxiety associated with IVF from claiming you we’ve put together a list of seven practices to calm your IVF anxiety.
Preparing for Your Upcoming IVF Cycle
The more you know the more you’ll be at ease about your upcoming IVF cycle. That’s why we advocate for asking questions! We’re here to help you all along your journey. Every treatment experience is different and by asking questions and doing the research you’ll have an idea of what to expect. Being aware of what comes next goes a long way toward easing anxiety.
7 Helpful Practices to Calm Your IVF Anxiety
Most people are already aware of what the experts say regarding the handling of stress and anxiety, but a refresher focused on IVF anxiety is a good idea. And while a lot of the practices help there is no one perfect fit for everyone. Additionally, what works at a certain point to bring you calm may not help at a different milepost along your journey.
1. A Support System is Key
Ideally a supportive group of family and friends helps keep your IVF anxiety at bay. Or at least controllable. Unfortunately, many couples and individuals may live far from family or find it necessary to reach out selectively to those in their circle. Not everyone is good at being the supportive friend and you certainly don’t need the stress of unnecessary drama at this time.
IVF is antreatment. There are times when you’ll feel disheartened, anxious, and overwhelmed. You may want to engage a therapist during this time. There are therapists who deal specifically with infertility and understand your journey. Judiciously connect with family and friends who you know support you and will listen to you when you call at three in the morning! Finally, don’t forget your care team. We are always here for you.
2. Maybe You Need to Tap Out for Awhile
Exhaustion has a way of multiplying your stress exponentially. It’s essential for your physical and emotional health and wellbeing that you get your rest and if a social event doesn’t seem like something you want to do give yourself permission to skip it. Now is your time for self-care. Calm will escape you if you’re constantly tired or stressed by social events.
3. Mild Exercise and Yoga
As long as your doctor approves, gentle movement is a great way to rid anxiety. Any kind of helps release endorphins. It isn’t necessary to lift or do a marathon. Just getting out of the house and going for a walk-in nature improves your mood and calms your anxiety. Not to mention you’re improving your health and ultimately your baby’s health.
Yoga helps increase blood flow and circulation in your reproductive organs. However, make sure you don’t perform any extreme movements or twists and turns as ovarian torsion is a risk.
4. Try Acupuncture
There are concluding that not only is a great way to calm your anxiety but this ancient Chinese practice also improves your odds for pregnancy when used in conjunction with IVF. Discuss acupuncture with your doctor and find an acupuncturist who is familiar with the IVF process.
With all that goes into your IVF treatment-the appointment, blood draws, ultrasounds and medications-you deserve a good bit of self-pampering. Focus on those events that bring you joy and do more of them! Maybe a spa day with your friends or a lunch date with your mom or sister? Or a quiet day at home binge-watching whatever you want or reading the latest bestseller.
Meditation is a practice that promotes mindfulness and calms you significantly. The deep breathing that goes along with meditation slows your heart and stabilizes your blood pressure. It isn’t necessary to study with your guru for years to achieve the calm that comes from meditation and breathing exercises. Simply find a quiet place, sit comfortably, and breathe. Close your eyes and work on emptying your mind and noticing your thoughts and emotions. Simply be.
There are meditation apps that also help or search YouTube for meditation videos.
7. A Healthy Diet
Diet, in general, impacts how you feel. When you feel your best, it’s just another way to prevent anxiety from creeping in. Stick to a whole foods diet, low fat (but go for full fat dairy! It’s to better fertility!), focus on healthy proteins like lean poultry and plant-based options. Try aiming for fresh, whole, and local fruits and veggies minimizing your exposure to toxins.
We’re Here for You
If you take anxiety medication on a regular basis, please alert your doctor. Some medications prescribed for anxiety and depression pose a risk to the fetus.