The Fertility Files | Trying Can Be Trying | 5 Solutions to Cope with Fertility Stress
I run two businesses and work relatively long hours managing diverse tasks. So when my fiancé and I started trying, I knew stress management was going to be an area I really had to focus on to support myself even more than usual. I knew this because of my professional experience treating women who are trying to conceive, but also from years of modulating my own stress. So, with my experience, both professional and personal, I can certainly help you to manage both the stress of trying to conceive, and that of day-to-day life.
Here are my 5 favourite solutions to cope with fertility stress:
#5. Supplement Reset
My absolute best go-to for resetting the nervous system is a milk compound called Lactium. It has been shown to re-sensitize the brain’s hypothalamus to stress signals. During periods of prolonged stress, the hypothalamus can stop “hearing” the signals, which leads to a constant production of stress hormones that flood the body. Lactium helps the hypothalamus recognize that there are enough stress hormones floating around so it can stop sending the signal to make more.
Acupuncture is well recognized as a fertility aid as it can help improve egg quality, increase blood flow to the uterus and enhance the success of IVF. But why I love acupuncture so much, is that it can simultaneously reduce stress levels while it improves fertility. When acupuncture points that are chosen especially for you, are combined with points to support fertility, you get a stress-busting, fertility-boosting winner! I often feel miles better after my acupuncture treatments. They also give me time to simply stop and rest.
For most people, meditation conjures images of sitting still for 30 minutes, in a cross-legged pose that looks like some guru. Instead, I encourage people to use the amazing technologies available today to help guide meditation. There are now apps like Headspace, Mindful and Buddhify. Personally, I use an exceptional Toronto-based technology called Muse. It is a headband that reads your brain signals and provides feedback to an app on your phone via Bluetooth. The app plays the sounds of a scene-scape like rain or ocean waves. When your brain is more active, the sounds are louder and when your brain calms, they quiet. This real-time feedback is so helpful when learning how to meditate. And the best part—research shows that even 3 minutes per day makes a huge difference!
#2. Have Sex—Not the Baby-Making Kind
As fertility-related stress takes its toll, having sex can start to feel like a science experiment and your partner can start to feel like a means to an end. Instead, try to have sex outside your fertile window—just for fun, connection and intimacy.
#1. Talk to a Pro
Sometimes it can still be hard to get your stress in check, especially on the emotional side. If you find you are experiencing extended bouts of anxiety or feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or ambivalence while trying to conceive, you may consider seeing a counsellor who is experienced with infertility patients. Many fertility clinics offer such services and more are offering group support these days. Keeping your emotional health on track is a must for a healthy pregnancy and beyond.
Join me next month in the Fertility Files, when we look at how to navigate the discussion about fertility treatments with your partner and practitioners.