01 Jun Coping with the Stress of Infertility
Most patients who come to us for their initial consultation and infertility testing already live in a heightened state of stress. In most cases, depending on the woman’s age, we meet patients after they’ve tried to get pregnant for six months to a year or longer. That in itself is stressful.
Tips For Managing Stress Through Fertility Treatments
Receiving an official infertility diagnosis adds another disappointment to the mix, and then it’s time to embark on the fertility treatment path. To protect your physical, mental, and emotional health, our team supports patients in managing their stress, along with all of the other lifestyle changes essential to healthy conception and pregnancy.
If you’re having difficulty coping with the stress of infertility, these tips are for you.
1. Reach out to a fertility counselor
A licensed therapist specializing in infertility can serve as a lifeline of support and stress management throughout your journey. In addition to helping you process complicated emotions and helping you cultivate a personalized “stress management toolkit,” your fertility counselor is there to support your partnership.
If you get to a point where you need to weigh more advanced ART options – like using donor sperm, donor eggs, or embryos, finding a gestational carrier, or opting to adopt – the therapist can work through all of the different decisions, risks and benefits, as well as what they may mean for your future.
2. Connect with local fertility support groups
You may feel like you’re all alone, but infertility affects 12% of the adult population trying to get pregnant. As a result, fertility support groups are in virtually every city in the nation. You can find groups that meet in person, as well as those that meet online. The result is the invaluable release found when you connect with people who walk the same path as you.
In addition to emotional support and stress release, an infertility support group is also a source of information, strength, and wisdom. If you live here in the Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Harrisonburg or surrounding regions, Click Here to learn about a new support group offered in partnership with MotherTree Wellness Group.
3. Make your partnership a priority
The process of timing intercourse for pregnancy is fun – until it isn’t. Just as the couples who come to us for help experience high-stress levels, we also notice their partnerships are not as fun, romantic, and sensual as they used to be. This becomes a stress point in and of itself.
Sometimes, keeping a strong relationship during fertility treatments means finding new ways to have fun or redefining romance. We highly encourage you to prioritize your partnership to remain strong in your communication, connection, and intimacy.
4. Focus on healthy sleep habits
Not only is sleep essential for a healthy body, balancing hormones, and reducing inflammation, but it’s also essential for stress management. So if you’re not sleeping as well as you used to, take a step back and evaluate what you can do to cultivate healthy sleep habits.
Things that support healthy sleep include:
- Making your bedroom a space to relax (kick out gadgets, computers, clutter, etc.).
- Creating a soothing bedtime routine to help your brain unwind.
- Giving yourself at least 30 minutes of screen-free time (with dimmed lights) before bed.
If sleep continues to be evasive, bring it up with your fertility treatment team and we’ll do all we can to help.
5. Practice self-care beyond the mani-pedi
Sure, manis and pedis are one way to honor yourself. However, self-care through fertility treatments requires practices that help you relax, breathe deeply, and unwind. Try making self-care a regular part of each day by doing things like:
- Using mindfulness, meditation, or relaxation apps.
- Taking big stretches whenever you can.
- Getting outside and taking walks or hikes in nature whenever possible.
- Eating nourishing foods known to soothe and calm rather than energize or elevate the heartbeat.
- Keeping a simple (or not!) gratitude journal.
- Try to get exercise in some form for 30 minutes a day.
Your system deserves the time and space to process, express, and destress – so self-care is a must during fertility treatments.
Let Virginia Fertility & IVF Support a Stress-Minimal Path Toward Fertility
We admit there’s probably no such thing as a “stress-free” fertility treatment experience. However, choosing the right fertility specialists is essential to getting an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatments that ease the way forward.
Virginia Fertility & IVF have more than 50 years of combined experience supporting individuals and couples through fertility treatments. Contact us to schedule a consultation, and we’ll provide you with all of the tips and tricks we’ve learned to help patients cope with infertility stress.