How can I reduce my stress going through ART?
Stress to some degree is an inescapable part of life never mind a busy life with the addition of undergoing ART. Whilst I believe stress alone does not cause fertility issues it can sometimes impact on length time it takes to conceive.
Helping to manage day to day life with simple techniques can be a useful life lesson.
In a study published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility by Alice Domar, Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health, it was revealed that the women who were involved in learning mind/body techniques for stress reduction such as meditation, progressive relaxation, challenging negative beliefs and lifestyle advice before and whilst undergoing IVF treatment, had a significantly higher pregnancy rate than those who did not participate. These research initiatives have brought more awareness to the fact that the body’s natural stress response may impact the conception rate.
Other studies appear to back this up indicating that learning relaxation techniques before starting a cycle had an impact on success of a cycle, on number of oocytes retrieved and fertilised and live birth rate. Certainly in my practice I use hypnosis to train clients to do self-hypnosis which is a portable way of easily achieving deep and effective relaxation and strengthens the visualisation and meditation response. It is useful with the daily stresses of life and even more so when stressful experiences are imminent.
Another study shows it can also reduce rumination or over thinking and worrying,
Learning a few techniques appears to greatly help with many of the natural fears and worries associated with a delay in conception.Certainly in my practice I use hypnosis to train clients to do self-hypnosis which is a portable way of easily achieving deep and effective relaxation and strengthens the visualisation and meditation response. It is useful with the daily stresses of life and even more so when stressful experiences are imminent.
Should I be drinking pineapple juice?
The amount of information on the web around the intake of pineapple juice and its active ingredient Bromeline through an ART cycle is amazing. There are many theories around its anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to aid with the thickness of womb lining. From what I can see there is no research to validate these claims.
Any research I found was centred not as I had imagined on reproductive organs and increased success of implantation but on the bowel and more precisely inflammatory bowel disease. There has been some positive mentions around asthma too in conjunction with improving other lifestyle factors. The lungs and bowels however have very different biological makeups than the reproductive organs so will of course react differently to any supplements or drugs.
If Bromeline was a useful part of an ART journey the clinics would be including it in their drug regime in measured, researched doses.
How much exercise should I do through an IVF cycle?
Clients come to me with many levels of fitness. Some admit quite honestly to doing very little exercise, some have a high level of fitness with high impact classes and miles of running every week.
If you have a lower level of fitness do not start a new vigorous regime just before starting ART.
When ovaries are being stimulated I would take the advice of the medics and avoid high impact or twisting exercise. There is a negative risk of twisting the rather enlarged ovaries. The ovaries can take some time to reduce in size so try to keep to low impact exercise for a few weeks after embryo transfer unless you have received clearance from the clinic.
Many use exercise as a stress reducer. Taking that away during a period of increased stress is difficult. If you can, be prepared that for a period of time you will need to find other stress relievers. Some learn meditation or other methods of relaxation in the months leading up to ART or find just walking 20- 30 minutes a day is acceptable. Others will arrange activities such as cinema visits as a distraction. Preparation seems to be key. Thinking it through a few months ahead of time and putting some strategies in place, learning skills that will help not just through ART but also pregnancy and parenthood.