Fertility, Stress and IVF
Stress can play a role in fertility for both you and your partner. This shouldn’t be news to you; the fact is that stress affects our health in so many ways. Managing stress properly leads to fewer heart attacks, gastrointestinal issues, and other health problems. New research is showing that relieving and managing stress may have some very specific benefits to women undergoing fertility treatment, particularly those having IVF (in vitro fertilization).
According to a new study, women undergoing fertility treatments tend to be under a lot of stress. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, of course. Trying to conceive can be very stressful, and the moment you start laying out the cash for advanced fertility treatments like IVF, you’re adding even more pressure to the situation.
Ironically, the study shows that women who are having IVF often don’t make it into cycle 2 and 3 because of the sheer amount of stress involved.
Participants in the study enrolled in a 10-week class where they underwent talk therapy. This therapy was primarily behavioral, helping the women to change their negative thoughts into positive ones, and into learning how to relax. Half of the women in the study participated in the class, while half did not.
After the first cycle of IVF treatments, 43 percent of the women in each group became pregnant. By the second cycle, however, the difference was staggering. 52 percent of the women that participated in the stress management course became pregnant, while only 20 percent of the control group did.
The implications are profound, not just for IVF, but for any couple trying to have a baby. Basic stress management techniques, and learning to stay away from negative thoughts and focus on positive imagery, can make a big difference in our lives. At a minimum, the woman who’s not stressed out during her fertility struggles will reap all of the other benefits of stress management.
So, what about you? What kinds of things do you to do handle stress when you’re TTC?