You must focus on self-care while undergoing fertility treatment. An expert explains why

A senior fertility and IVF consultant, Dr Parul Agrawal, explains the importance of self-care when you’re undergoing fertility treatment.
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You've got to love yourself! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Parul Agrawal Published: 15 Aug 2021, 08:00 am IST
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The stress, anxiety, and loneliness that often accompany fertility issues can be difficult to manage. Once fertility treatments begin, those feelings can magnify. Going through hormonal injections, blood tests and scans can be physically demanding and mentally draining.

This journey needs an ample amount of patience and positivity, keeping in mind the uncertainty of the result. Whether you’re about to begin your fertility journey or are currently in the middle of a fertility cycle, self-care can provide a great way to cope with what can be an emotionally draining experience.

Will it succeed or not?
Will it cause severe pain?
How many days can it take?
What if it fails?

We come across multiple couples who ask such questions due to the fear of the unknown when it comes to their fertility treatment.

Make self-care an integral part of your IVF journey. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Truth be told, the experience is different for everyone. Some sail through smoothly but some go through rough patches in between. So, it becomes very important to commit to self-care during an IVF treatment to make this baby-making journey a happy and fruitful one.

How to practice self-care during an IVF treatment?
  • Trust your doctor: It is vital that you feel good about your doctor. This will help you connect with them, follow their advice and trust their protocol. You should feel like you are in safe hands. Most of the anxiety problems vanish when the patient-doctor relationship is strong.
  • Clear your calendar: IVF cycles must not be planned amidst chaotic working patterns. Clear your calendar of anything non-essential during the IVF cycle. This creates the space you need for appointments, relaxation and upliftment. Many anxious moments can be prevented by avoiding unnecessary work and taking out proper time for the treatment.
  • Detailed discussion about the treatment: The course of treatment should be discussed in detail with the fertility specialist so that there is no anxiety regarding the unknown. Ask your doctor to tell you which component of self-care would contribute to the highest success rate and what all factors contribute to the failure.
  • Delete whatever depletes you: Purify your life by eliminating toxic things which drain you completely. Don’t take the burden of certain people, commitments, relations that are not working for you. These can negatively affect your mental and physical health. Conserve your energy and focus on your goal.
  • Be kind to yourself: Don’t be so harsh on yourself. Infertility is not your fault. Positivity flows only when you feel positive about yourself. The first thing to remember is to be kind to yourself. A lot of times people feel very isolated and put a lot of pressure on themselves. Do not do that!
  • Yoga: It is a life-transforming habit that not only makes you physically and emotionally stronger but also elevates you spiritually. Starting yoga 6 weeks prior to the IVF cycles can help the couple overcome the anxiety of fertility treatment. People with infertility problems often report feeling better, stronger and more confident about their body after yoga practice. Well-toned, flexible and strong muscles also help you to go through your pregnancy and labour smoothly. Moreover, there are certain asanas and pranayama which destress your mind and increase blood flow in the pelvis organs.
Yoga will not only keep you physically healthy during your IVF cycle but also improve mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Practise meditation: Practising mediation and other relaxation techniques can do wonders in this journey of infertility to parenthood. When you’re under stress, the cortisol and adrenaline levels increase which is not good for fertility. Practising meditation helps you to eliminate stress.
  • Leisure time activities: Follow your leisure time activities to keep your mind relaxed and happy. Listening to your favourite music, reading books, gardening, watching movies, going for a walk with your partner, talking with your friends and doing whatever you can to feel good can uplift your mood.
  • Pamper yourself: Never forget to pamper yourself. Relaxing spa, manicure or pedicure at home makes you feel good and pampered. Pursue your hobbies such as painting, playing musical instruments, knitting etc. Completely immersing yourself in an activity that keeps you focused and calms your mind is extremely beneficial for you.
  • Better communication with your partner: It will help you to overcome the upheavals of fertility treatment. Togetherness makes things much easier and the ride becomes much smoother.
  • Nutritious food: When feeling stressed, one craves comfort food but food with empty calories should be avoided. Your diet should be focused on green vegetables and fruits. Fertility food, as advised by your doctor, should be consumed but don’t deprive yourself of your favourite things. Treating yourself occasionally can be beneficial.
  • Proper sleep: It is very important for restoration. It strengthens and invigorates you for the next day. It is very essential for our physical and emotional stability.

Dealing with the outcome, whether it is a success or a failure, with maturity is vital. Self-care provides you with the strength you need when you’re on your baby-making journey. It will improve the success rate of the outcome. So, take care of yourself!

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About the Author

Dr Parul Agrawal is a senior fertility and IVF consultant. ...Read More

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