The IVF process can be both physically and mentally taxing, but there are ways to reduce stress and practice self-care.
The in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process can be stressful for women and couples, and balancing IVF with work and everyday life can be especially difficult. Continuing a normal routine during IVF can be emotionally and physically taxing, but finding ways to take care of yourself can make a crucial difference. Read on for some tips and ideas for self-care during your IVF journey.
How Does the IVF Process Work?
The IVF process begins with a “stimulation,” or superovulation. During this time, your physician administers a set of hormonal treatments to increase egg production and accelerate egg maturity. Your eggs are then extracted through a minor surgical procedure called follicular aspiration. As the eggs are being removed, the doctors collect a sperm sample from a partner or a donor, and the retrieved egg is fertilized within several hours.
Embryo transfer usually takes place within a week after fertilization, but may take over a month depending on whether you opt for external genetic testing. One full cycle of IVF typically takes about 3 weeks.
Tips for Taking Care of Yourself During IVF
Whether it’s your first IVF cycle or your fourth, the physical and emotional pressure of the process can be stressful. The retrieval and transfer processes — and the period of waiting in between — can be particularly difficult.
During this time, finding ways to reduce stress is important. We know everyone’s self-care techniques are unique, but here are just a few ways to stay balanced during IVF:
- Plan time to rest: If possible, plan to give yourself time to rest following each step of IVF. Stimulation, retrieval and egg transfer, can be physically and mentally taxing, and if your work and home life permits, give yourself at least a few days to recover from each step. Stepping outside a busy routine can help restore your energy and prepare you for the next step.
- Take up yoga or medication: Like planning rest days, trying out yoga and meditation can give your mind and body a break. You don’t have to join a class or undertake a strenuous workout, simply set some time aside to calm your mind and stretch your muscles.
- Stay away from social media: Although the success rate for IVF treatment is increasing, for many women, the process can still be emotionally draining, and following the lives of others can create additional mental stress. Try taking a step back from your social network and focusing on yourself.
- Seek out friends — or a therapist: Having emotional support during IVF can help rebalance your mind, relieve stress, and improve overall health. Although fertility can feel like a sensitive topic, it helps to connect with friends and family with whom you can speak openly about your journey. If you feel like the process is taking an undue toll on your well-being, reach out to a therapist who has worked with couples and women undergoing fertility treatments.
The IVF process can be stressful, and finding time to practice self-care can make a significant difference. At the Advanced Fertility Center of Texas (AFCT), the medical professionals are here to guide and support you in every aspect of your IVF journey. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment if you want to learn more about whether IVF is right for you.