Are you about to start – or are you in the midst of – fertility treatments? If so, your body has already run a challenging mental, emotional, and physical obstacle course of sorts. And, we’ve learned that stress hormones (such as cortisol) are not a fertility treatment’s best friend.
They can do all sorts of things that stymie conception, like cause you to lose sleep, make it harder to resist sugar and other food cravings that oppose the tenets of a healthy pregnancy diet, and can exacerbate inflammation – along with latent reproductive or medical conditions.
Take Care of Your Body and De-Stress During Fertility Treatments
While science has had a difficult time finding incontrovertible evidence around stress and its negative impact on fertility, the arc of long-term studies seems to indicate psychological/emotional stress are potential inhibitors of healthy conception and a full-term pregnancy.
Here are some simple ways to minimize stress and emphasize self-care as you pursue IVF or other fertility treatments.
1. Keep your calendar free of anything that doesn’t bring you joy
This can be one of the hardest things to do, especially if you are used to being in “doer” mode. However, fertility appointments are going to take up a fair share of those calendar dates when you’re in the midst of treatments. Also, the side effects of fertility medications can make you want to curl up on the couch and rest more than head out into the public realm and socialize.
The good news is that learning to keep the calendar more free, only saying “yes” to things that bring you joy, is good practice for when you become a parent someday.
2. Take advantage of free and low-cost meditation, relaxation, and/or mindfulness apps
From breathing exercises or visualizations that take just a minute or two to more extended meditations and mindfulness exercises, apps are a great way to tune out of the busy world around you, clear your heart and mind, and move unhealthy stress out of your system.
3. Get out in nature and focus on the trees
This one is especially important if you live in a city and spend most of your time in your home, car, or office. A number of studies show that spending 20-minutes a day outdoors, in green spaces, relieves stress and minimizes depression and anxiety. Combine that time with a good walk, and you get to destress while taking advantage of moderate exercise that also boosts physical health and wellbeing.
4. Take advantage of the stress-free benefits of fertility pharmacies
Are you filling fertility medication prescriptions at your corner, big box pharmacy? We recommend looking into specialty pharmacies dedicated to fertility patients. In addition to ensuring you have the meds you need, when you need them, and wherever you may need them (on a last minute business trip or in the middle of a family gathering), the pharmacists and techs working for fertility pharmacies provide unrivaled fertility medication and treatment information, education, tips and trainings.
5. Keep the romance alive in your partnership
The stress and rigor associated with fertility treatments takes its toll on couples over time. Don’t let the strain get the best of you. Schedule regular date nights and romantic time (even if it’s something as simple as a picnic in the park), and make a rule that fertility treatment conversation is off the table for that time together. Keeping your connection and romantic bonds alive and well reduces the stress associated with a strained relationship.
6. Create a soothing nighttime ritual
Whether it’s a warm shower and bath, aromatherapy, and a cup of herbal tea (physician approved, of course) or listening to your favorite relaxing music, creating a soothing nighttime ritual helps your body and mind unwind, and is more likely to support the healthy sleep habits that also reduce stress levels.