Having fertility treatment can be very stressful. Taking drugs can make you feel as though your hormones are out of your control and following procedures can be very stressful.
Many women say they feel very emotional and irritable when undergoing fertility treatment to try and get pregnant. Your partner may feel slightly left out with all the focus on your body, and then he has to ‘perform’ to order. In addition, he too will be desperate for the treatment to work.
All of this can make you both feel isolated and stressed, as well as riding a rollercoaster of emotions with all the appointments, scans, procedures and raised/dashed hopes to deal with.
Counselling is a very good way of dealing with the emotions of fertility treatment in a safe, blameless environment. Ask at your fertility clinic if they have a counsellor available, and if they don’t, speak to your GP.
Zita West, midwife and holistic practitioner who runs an IVF programme at her London clinic, recommends that as a couple you should aim to spend 10-15 minutes a day chatting about how you’re feeling.
While complementary medicine can’t unblock tubes or make eggs if you’ve had an early menopause, it can help get you in the best possible shape to deal physically and mentally with the challenges ahead when trying to conceive.
Zita advises: ‘Try to focus. It’s very easy to run down lots of different routes, especially if friends tell you about things that worked for them. Have a plan and have a focus. Look at your life and work out what area needs the most attention. It may be cutting stress or improving nutrition, for example, by eating more fresh fruit and vegetables.
‘And don’t abandon Western medicine. Alternative therapies need to work together with Western medicine to improve your chances of getting pregnant.’
Here are some of the ways alternative treatments can boost your fertility and chances of producing good quality eggs and sperm, and where complementary and traditional medicine work well together.
Nutritional Therapy: You can find a nutritional therapist via the British Association of Nutritional Therapy who will look at your diet and suggest ways to improve it for your purposes. Or you can do it yourself – cutting out red meat, fast food and ready meals, and eating more fresh fruit, vegetables and oily fish. Check out our fertility boosters here.
Acupuncture: It claims to help the blood flow to the uterus, and may be able to improve other areas such as hormone imbalance, and ovulation. It also claims to improve the quality and quantity of his sperm. Acupuncture is also good for relaxation.
Deep breathing (or Qi-Gong): Most of us shallow breathe using only the top section of our lungs. Breathing more deeply releases endorphins which make us feel better, brings more oxygen into our bodies which helps all of our vital organs, and gets rid of stress. A great way to relax while boosting your fertility
Hypnotherapy, visualisation and yoga: Can help relieve stress and make you more able to deal with the emotional rollercoaster of fertility treatment.
Homeopathy and herbal remedies: Can help to balance hormones, especially the herb Agnus Castus. But don’t buy anything over the counter – always talk to a practitioner and your fertility consultant before you take anything.
Chiropractic and osteopathy: Although they work in different ways they can both help to realign the body so that your uterus and ovaries work more efficiently.
Lymphatic massage: Helps to detox your body, boost your immune system and get the lymphatic system flowing well.
Hair analysis: Everything we take into our body can contain toxins and sometimes we don’t cope well. By analysing your hair strands, experts claim to work out what chemicals might be stopping your body from working efficiently. They also claim to work out what vital minerals you may be lacking.