This time of year is one of high stress and we hope to be able to present a few suggestions for a happier holiday season.
- Keep the lines of communication open with your partner
- Have a medical treatment plan that both you and your partner are comfortable with– don’t hesitate to ask questions; after all, this is your treatment
- Get emotional support so that you don’t feel isolated. Individual or couple counseling, support groups, and books on infertility can validate your feelings and help you cope. We can refer you to specialists if you need.
- Utilize any stress reduction techniques that work for you. Meditation, yoga, and regular exercise (in moderation) will release physical and emotional tension.
- Just Relax
- These are words that we all hate to hear, but we are all painfully aware that stress plays a part in our lives. I recently read a very interesting article called The Mind-Baby Connection. At the University of Massachusetts Medical School, they have found that some 70 percent of patients who attended a support group offering both relaxation skills and emotional support got pregnant, compared to 30 percent of couples who did not attend such a group. The speculation by some scientists is that relaxation may influence the hypothalamus, the regulatory center within the brain that controls the hormones related to ovulation and pregnancy. Preliminary evidence suggests that high levels of stress can contribute to infertility by causing fallopian tubal spasm, irregular ovulation, and perhaps even decreased sperm production.
The success of the addition of support to an overall treatment plan seems in part due to the stress-reducing effects of getting-and giving- group support. It means getting your power back by finding the strength to help other people rather than focusing on your own problems. The goal of our support group is to have some guidance in mindfulness- teaching people to relax, to live in the moment. In an effort to help infertile couples to regain their lives for the future not just the present, we must look at the process as a whole body experience. A lot of the issues revolve around anger: at our spouses, at expectant couples, at our caregivers. When people are angry, they don’t feel well and it is difficult to think rationally.
We think that it is important to combine meditation, breathing exercises, and other relaxation techniques; feel better basics as dealing with anger, being good to yourself, and reintroducing spontaneity into your sex life.
Fertility technology looks at your body as a machine, not as a system trying to tell you something. While the success of relaxation and support programs is promising, experts still believe that the most effective program combines the best of both worlds. Dr. Burke from the U. Of Mass. States, “If you substitute the meditation for the science, it’s better than doing nothing. But if you combine the two, you will see a significantly greater success rate.”
As we have said before, stress reduction felt by improvement with environment, attitude, or group support, still can’t guarantee a baby, but they can at least help relieve the anxiety and stress of trying. And that after all is why P.A.R.I.N.T.S. exists.