If you’ve tried to get pregnant but have been unsuccessful, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) may be able to make your dreams come true. And while going through IVF is a time for hope, it can also be a time for emotional ups and downs.
Even though recent studies indicate that stress doesn’t affect IVF success, ongoing stress can take a deep toll on your physical and psychological health. That’s why it’s important to care for yourself and do things to manage your stress.
Fangyin Meng, MD, PhD, supports every aspect of your health and well-being during IVF, including helping you manage stress and anxiety. Here are five tips to help you along the way, but you shouldn’t hesitate to talk with her whenever you feel overwhelmed.
1. Learn about the process
Before you begin, take a deep breath and know that you’re about to start a process filled with an array of new medical tests and techniques. We take plenty of time to explain all of the procedures, but most of our patients still have many questions and concerns.
Stress can skyrocket if you don’t understand the process and know what to expect. Never hesitate to ask questions or seek information. We have one goal, and that’s to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for every stage of IVF.
2. Discuss choices beforehand
The issues you encounter during IVF could demand difficult decisions, and they could touch upon moral, religious, and ethical beliefs. You may need to decide what to do with extra eggs or embryos. Or you may plan to use your own eggs or sperm and learn that you need a donor.
You can lower your overall stress during IVF by thinking about these issues ahead of time. Talk with your partner and family members, explore their feelings, and resolve differences before the time comes to make a decision.
3. Enjoy diversions while waiting
There are times during IVF when you will need to wait for results before proceeding to the next step. For example, many patients find the most stressful and agonizing time is when we transfer the embryo to the uterus. After this, there’s 10-14 days of waiting before having a pregnancy test.
We understand that these times of waiting can be emotionally trying, so we encourage you to purposefully plan ways to take your mind off the wait. This would be a good time for you and your partner to spend time together doing whatever you love to do, whether that’s going to a movie or walking along the beach at sundown.
4. Practice relaxation techniques
There are many great ways to reduce stress. Try a few of the following to find the one that works for you:
- Tai chi
- Mindfulness meditation
- Breathing exercises
- Listening to music
- Taking up a hobby
You may also want to unplug from electronics and the daily influx of news, even if it’s just for a short time every day.
5. Consider counseling
Beyond stress, men and women dealing with IVF often feel frustration, depression, sadness, anger, and despair. It’s all too common for the stress of IVF to spill over into relationships. IVF appointments may require time away from work, and the entire process may affect your finances.
If the stress and emotional turmoil reach a boiling point and you feel that you simply can’t cope, don’t hesitate to talk with a counselor. We can help you find someone who’s familiar with IVF and can support you through your journey.
If you have questions about IVF, book an appointment online or over the phone with Fangyin Meng, MD, PhD, today.