If you’re undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) or another fertility treatment, you know how stressful it can be. Here’s some of our best tips for how to relax during IVF.
Does anxiety affect IVF success?
Before you give yourself another reason to worry, anxiety and stress alone do not generally lead to challenges with conceiving. However, the coping behaviors you adopt after stress may have an effect. If you smoke when stressed, overeat, or indulge in other unhealthy habits, this can lead to more fertility issues.
With this in mind, it’s important to learn how to relax during IVF. To start, try a few to find relaxation techniques that work for you. (Not your best friend, not your mom, you.) Use them on an ongoing basis to calm your mind or as-needed to give yourself an anchor during a stressful or hard day.
1. Give worry an appointment
IVF is stressful, there’s no denying it. Along with the other fertility challenges you’ve had in the past (along with the rest of your daily stressors), the first step is accepting that stress is a part of your life.
In another post, we covered a few ways to reframe IVF anxiety in your mind. One of the biggest takeaways? Give yourself a designated period of time every day to worry about IVF. For thirty minutes or ten, worry all you want. When that time period is done, attempt to stop worrying. Any worries that arise can go on a list that you can worry over the next day.
2. Take ten slow breaths
Focusing on large, expansive, belly-filling breaths is a central practice in many calming routines because it has instant effects on the body. Harvard Medical School notes that it can “can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.”
Take ten slow, deep breaths before reacting to stressful situations, but also bring this gentle IVF relaxation technique into your daily routine. Set an afternoon and evening reminder on your phone to breath. Wake up with ten deep breaths. Or, take deep breaths before meals or another daily activity. Harvard Medical School recommends getting ten to twenty minutes of deep breathing, per day.
3. Practice safe exercises
Mild to moderate exercise is one of the best relaxation techniques, especially for those with anxiety. You may be nervous about exercising with IVF, but we put together a list of research-backed tips on how to do it safely here.
Overall, work within your comfort zone, avoid high impact exercises, stick to moderate levels of activity, and always ask your doctor if you have questions.
4. Tense up to relax
Progressive relaxation is one of the best IVF relaxation techniques that you can practice anywhere. It allows you to notice where you’re storing your muscular tension. Once you notice it, you can relax it during the day.
To perform a progressive relaxation routine, start at one end of your body (typically the toes). Slowly tense up, or tighten each area. Then, focus on relaxing it and letting the tension go. Pair it with deep, belly breaths. Move to the next section until you’re at your face and head. Mayo Clinic recommends holding muscular tension for five seconds and relaxing for 30 seconds in between.
5. Find a self-care activity that relaxes you
The previous IVF relaxation techniques are foundational. Pair them with self-care activities that bring you delight in order to truly learn how to relax during IVF therapy.
Some ideas to try include:
- Adult coloring
- Massage (self, partner, or professional)
- Tai Chi
- Enjoying music
- Spending time in nature
- Drinking tea
- Cross-stitching or other crafts
- Spa days
- Playing games
- Cooking or baking
- Playing with your pets
Learn more about your IVF journey
At The Fertility Institute, our team knows that IVF and other fertility treatments can be stressful. We guide our patients through each phase of treatments, ensuring that we meet both their physical and emotional needs along the way.
If you have more questions about how to relax during IVF or are interested in getting started, contact our team to get started. We’re always here to answer your questions!