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Coping With Infertility

Relaxation Techniques and Stress Management

Although stress is not the cause of infertility, infertility can definitely cause stress. The stress a woman feels can reach levels that may interfere with every other facet of her life, including work, relationships, financial issues, and friendships. Learning ways to manage this stress is vital for coping with infertility.
By reducing stress, you can help prevent the downward spiral of depression that can affect many women going through infertility. Although infertility can easily become an all-consuming obsession, getting your mind off trying to become pregnant can help battle stress. Each woman will have her own individual way to deal with this. However, some possible ways to manage stress include:
  • Being good to yourself. For some women, this may mean pampering yourself. You deserve it! Take some time to go to the spa, get a massage, or get a pedicure. A new hairdo can also help boost your self-esteem.
  • Exercising on a daily basis. Even if it's just for a few minutes a day, getting your heart pumping can help combat those negative feelings and stress, while increasing those "good-feeling" hormones and brain chemicals.
  • Learning relaxation and meditation techniques. Some of these may include yoga or deep-breathing lessons.
  • Reading a book or listening to music. These can help get your mind off your next infertility treatment and concerns about getting pregnant.
You may also want to look into something called relaxation response training. This method includes learning how to find a state of deep rest. It is natural for humans to respond to stress with a fight-or-flight response. When faced with a dangerous situation, the body releases adrenaline, which increases blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. As a result, a person will either fight against the danger or run away from it.
The relaxation response is the exact opposite response to fight-or-flight. This particular method of response consists of deep breathing, progressively tightening and then relaxing your muscles from head to toe, and meditating while you focus on a word or phrase as you breathe. By using this method, you can feel more relaxed and less anxious. Practicing this on a regular basis can help you cope with not only infertility obstacles that come up, but also other stressful situations that life may throw at you.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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