Staying Sane During Fertility Treatments

posted: 06/23/17
by: Katie Morton
Pregnant woman and her husband with female doctor in a consultation. Young woman holding husbands hand and her female doctor talking to her and taking notes.
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Pregnant woman and her husband with female doctor in a consultation. Young woman holding husbands hand and her female doctor talking to her and taking notes.

For many women, in vitro fertilization (IVF) or other fertility treatments are the medical miracles that allow them to finally start the family they've always wanted. The upside of fertility treatments is a newborn infant. Unfortunately, the downside of fertility treatments is that they can be mentally and physically exhausting, not to mention expensive. We share pro tips on how to stay sane during your fertility treatments.

1. Research Your Options

The saying, "knowledge is power," is never truer than when you are faced with tough medical decisions. To make sure you're comfortable with your decisions, take the time and do the research. Find as much as you can on the anticipated medical procedure, as well as your doctor and treatment center.

Understand the pros and cons, side effects, and possible complications. Additionally, don't be afraid to ask questions if you would like clarification from your medical providers. Knowing what to expect will help you mentally prepare for the road ahead. You may find it helpful to review the American Pregnancy Association's list of questions for selecting the right fertility center for you.

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2. Lean on Your Support System

Going through IVF can feel isolating, especially if you're the only woman in your circle of friends who is dealing with fertility issues. Finding someone to talk to about the process, who can understand exactly what you're experiencing, can help. Find a trusted source to confide in, and you'll be able to weather the ups and downs far better. If you can, link up with a woman who is also going through IVF, so you can share the joys and challenges with each other.

3. Remind Yourself Fertility Treatments Are Tough on Your Partner

For many women, going through IVF can place stress on their relationship. Relying on your partner or spouse for support may not be enough. Remember that they are also dealing with the challenges of infertility and the ups and downs of starting a family. Remind yourself that this is tough on them too, and try to plan time together to unwind.

4. Be Gentle With Yourself

As with any life challenges, focusing on self-care and reflection can help boost your mood. Experts say that there are many ways to positively challenge your fluctuating emotions. Consider starting a journal to document your daily thoughts. Practice a relaxation technique that makes you feel good, such as yoga or daily mediation. Treat yourself to small things that make you happy--that could be a pedicure, a dessert date with a friend, or tickets to the new comedy. Putting yourself first during this time will help you stay positive.

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5. Prepare for Body Changes

Mood swings, weight gain, bloating, and headaches are common side effects for women going through IVF. Hormones can be incredibly powerful, so don't beat yourself up--it's nature. Remind yourself that your body is changing to accommodate a baby, so these changes are part of the process.

6. Accept Help

If friends and family want to help during this time, let them. Scheduling meals can be a hassle, and healthy nutrition is more important now than ever. Let caring family and friends help out with housework if you're not feeling well, or assist with meal prep, so you can have healthy, easy meals at the ready.

Check out the Meal Train's website for a simple way for family and friends to coordinate dates and meals.

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7. Tackle the Two-week Wait

Those two weeks that you're waiting to hear the news about whether you're pregnant or not can feel like the longest time of your life. Plan ways to keep your mind focused during that time, so you don't drive yourself nuts obsessing.

Ask your doctor about whether you can be physically active--some doctors say that brief walks or gentle exercise, like yoga, can have positive benefits. Even a stroll around the block with your dog can clear your mind and boost your mood. If even mild exercise is too much, then simply sitting outside in nature has been linked to improved moods.

Infertility treatments can be challenging. When times get tough, remind yourself that in the end it will all be worth it when you're welcoming a healthy baby into your family.

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A happy new mother smiles as she craddles her sleeping baby in her arms. She has her eyes closed as she holds her close.