Coping with stress whilst trying to conceive
Stress can be defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from demanding circumstances. When you discover you have a fertility issue, and may need assistance by a fertility clinic, it is understandable for you to feel stressed. Learning to cope with negative feelings, and finding ways to be more relaxed during this period can really help your mental wellbeing, which may help you whilst going through treatment.
It is so easy to let stress become a huge factor in your life, but it is important to remember that there are things you can do to help prevent this from happening. Here, we have listed three of the most stressful points before, during and after fertility treatment, and ways which you can help reduce your levels of stress.
1. Minimising stress before and during IVF treatment
Preparation is a key element to feeling more in control of your fertility treatment plan. Being mentally, physically and emotionally ready before and during your treatment will help prevent and stabilise any feelings you may experience along the way.
Optimising the quality of your egg and sperm is a great way to help bring some structure into your life and make you feel as though you are doing something to benefit your treatment. Making sure you are doing regular exercise and eating a balanced diet is crucial to maintaining good sperm and egg health. To learn more about this, please see our blog on 5 ways a man can prepare for IVF.
It is important to remember that everyone is different - your treatment plan is tailored to your individual needs, so comparing yourself to others will undoubtedly add unnecessary pressure on yourself. You may need to lose or gain some weight before starting your cycle, have treatment with donor eggs, or have a condition that needs treating before your fertility treatment. No matter what your circumstances may be, the length of time it takes you to become pregnant, and the specific treatment you require is completely unique to you. So learning to accept that your cycle is inevitably going to be different to anyone else’s is a great first step in feeling more settled about your own treatment.
If you do feel like the stress of your fertility treatment is becoming too much, and believe talking to someone might help, we offer counselling sessions to all of our patients before, during and after treatment with us. Our specialist counsellors are here to listen to your worries or concerns and offer you support and guidance within a secure and confidential environment. If you would like to learn more or book to see a CARE counsellor, please contact your local CARE clinic.
2. Coping with the two week wait
With the last few weeks full of blood tests, scans, frequent visits to the clinic and injections, and then, suddenly, you have had your transfer and everything stops… now all you have to do is wait… which we know is definitely easier said than done. The two week wait until pregnancy test can bring added stress.
One thing to do is take back some control by adding some structure into those two weeks. Maybe write out a plan for each day, or just something you wish to do on these days to focus on and look forward to.
Going back to work might be a good way of focusing your mind on other things, but make sure to plan ahead. If you are going back to work during your two week wait, make sure that you do not have to many demanding meetings and projects scheduled in for this period to make this time as stress free as possible.
Introduce things into your daily life that may help improve your mood– things that make you feel positive and relaxed. Watch your favourite film, listen to a playlist full of happy songs, or go to your favourite restaurant for dinner.
Exercise is another good way to give you a feel-good glow. Obviously avoiding anything too strenuous, exercise is something to improve our physical and emotional well-being. Maybe a walk out in nature could help bring some calm.
You may find that carrying out meditation might help relieve some of the physical symptoms of stress. Listening to a relaxation playlist, or practicing meditation can help to slow down your heart rate, making you feel calm and at ease.
The most important thing is to find what makes you feel relaxed and happy throughout your wait.
IVF success becoming pregnancy anxiety
Finding out that you are pregnant, especially if you have experienced failed cycles, can sometimes lead to positive feelings becoming intertwined with feelings of anxiety. This is completely normal, but there are ways to help you feel more at ease if you do feel this is affecting you.
Make sure you gain reassurance from your CARE fertility clinic if you need to. After spending so much time with the doctors, nurses and counsellors, once you have become pregnant, it is sometimes easy to feel alone. This does not have to be the case, our staff and counsellors are always here to talk to you.
Do not be afraid to speak out about your feelings. If you are feeling anxious or worried, you can be sure there are others who are also experiencing similar emotions and would find comfort if speaking to someone like you. Our CARE forum gives you the opportunity to do just this, gaining support, advice and guidance from others who are also going through fertility treatments.
Make sure you are getting enough rest – resetting your body and feeling well rested is key to building the foundations of positive thinking. Feeling run down physically makes it easy to fall into negativity.
Plan relaxing activities for your spare time, this is always a great way to stay optimistic and calm. You may find activities such as, getting together with your friends, going for a spa day, getting your hair done, or simply eating a nice meal are all great ways to help you feel refreshed and happy in yourself.
We hope you find this advice helpful – but if you do find your stress levels are becoming too much and you would like to speak to our team, please do not hesitate to contact your local CARE clinic.