In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments are super relaxing…said no one ever. There are countless reasons that stress comes with the territory when it comes to IVF. The very fact that you have to turn to IVF to have a baby is frustrating. The sheer number of tests and procedures you have to schedule can make your life feel like a juggling act. The financial aspect of IVF can be overwhelming.

However, there are things you can do to reduce stress and help yourself relax throughout IVF treatments. Read on for tips from Dr. Jennifer Mersereau of UNC Fertility in Raleigh, North Carolina on how to lower your anxiety during this juncture on your path to parenthood.

Hit the Spa
Your body and mind go through so much during IVF treatment – medication, shots, procedures, monitoring, watching, waiting. The healing touch of a good massage can help release some of the tension you’ve been feeling and help you reconnect with your body in a positive way. For extra relaxation, find a spa with a soothing serenity room where you can unwind pre- or post-treatment.

Work Up a Sweat
You may not feel that you have the time or inclination to exercise during IVF treatment, however squeezing it in can reap big benefits. Even moderate physical exercise, like walking, dancing, and yoga, release stress-busting, feel-good endorphins. No need to stick to a strict regimen, even just a bit of activity each day will make a difference.

Take Time to Talk
Talking about infertility, and how you feel during treatment, is helpful for a lot of people. Your partner may be the person you turn to, or a trusted friend. Or you may want to seek out a trained therapist. Contact UNC Fertility at 919-908-0000 for a list of valuable resources.

Keep in mind that there are times you may feel like talking about what you’re going through, and times when you just want to keep it to yourself. Honor your feelings.

Integrate Holistic Treatments
We’ve already mentioned yoga and massage as powerful relaxation tools. Other practices that connect mind and body can also help you breathe easy during IVF treatment. Tai chi (meditation in motion) and meditation promote serenity and inner peace, and can easily be done at home with instructional DVDs. Acupuncture is a wonderful relaxation technique, and some studies have shown it may be beneficial during IVF treatment.

Lay Low
Focus on yourself and minimize unnecessary additions to your already hectic schedule. Now is the time to say no, guilt-free and often. Friends and family will understand if you can’t get together. Postpone extra work commitments if possible. Put volunteering on hold. You don’t want to change your life completely, but you do want to mindfully choose how you spend your time so that you don’t overextend yourself.

Practice Acceptance
It’s hard not to rail against your infertility diagnosis, or wonder why you have to go through so much to have a baby when so many people seem to do it without a second thought. Those feelings are completely valid and normal. However, at some point you need to let go of what you thought would be and embrace what is, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at first. UNC Fertility can provide guidance and tools on how to practice acceptance and move forward in a positive, beneficial way.

Become a Self-Care Pro
Do all of the above, and more. Luxurious baths. Good chocolate. Afternoon naps. Life gets so busy that we often forget to take care of ourselves. Putting yourself first and really listening to what your mind and body need during this stressful period can greatly help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation during your IVF treatment.

The best part about all of these tips? You can do them alone or with your partner. Maintaining a strong connection during this difficult time is key to navigating the ups and downs successfully. National Romance Month is upon us; it’s the perfect time to book that couples massage or cuddle up at home with a good movie.

Contact Dr. Jennifer Mersereau of UNC Fertility at 919-908-0000 for additional advice and information on how to reduce stress and make your IVF treatment as relaxing as possible.