The current situation is affecting the lives of everyone at a professional, social and personal level, oftentimes triggering concern and fear for the future. The outbreak of the pandemic, the disease progression, the interruption of social and professional life and the lockdown are causing increased stress and anxiety. This could not but affect the IVF sector, with many women and couples forced to interrupt or postpone their treatment.
Following the decision to suspend all treatments, couples at the start of a new cycle or in the middle of one are very possibly overly stressed. The unexpected and sudden unavailability of treatment choices has left many women filled with concerns and unable to control the situation, leading to an increased sense of uncertainty as to the future of their fertility. It is very normal and expected to be faced with confusing feelings in these situations, such as: sorrow, disappointment, anger, guilt and fear.
However, it is important to take advantage of this time to care for your physical and mental health, and recharge your batteries, so as to achieve your goals once everything goes back to normal.
Here are some simple and useful tips for every day, so that you are ready to start your IVF cycles once the pandemic is over:
- Remain optimistic and hopeful
Try to focus your attention on issues that can be easily resolved and avoid thoughts and feelings about things beyond your control that will improve with time.
- Take up activities that are fun and relaxing
Occupy yourself at home with things that make you happy and calm: make your favorite recipes, change your home decor, watch movies, work out and do anything that may be positive for your mental health and wellbeing.
- Watch your diet and choose foods that boost fertility
It is important to follow a healthy nutrition and maintain your body weight. Choose foods that are rich in trace elements, vitamins and healthy fats. A diet that includes proteins, carbohydrates and natural fibers can significantly boost your fertility. Foods that improve fertility include avocado, pumpkin, beets, eggs, nuts and wholegrain cereal.
- Give up smoking and drinking completely
According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, nicotine concentration is 10 times higher in uterine fluid than in any other part of the body. In addition, alcohol consumption during the IVF cycle decreases the likelihood of success by 50%. For these reasons, and to ensure a healthy lifestyle, it is important to find other habits / healthier activities to satisfy your needs and desires.
- Make sure you sleep well
Sleep quality and quantity affect the hormones, sperm production and ovulation. Therefore, it is of vital importance to make sure that you and your partner sleep well. Try to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day. If you work from home, avoid using your bedroom as your office, especially at night.
- Rest and lower your stress levels
IVF can be a stressful process. Many studies have shown that feeling relaxed favors conception. So lower your stress levels and enjoy this time with your partner, doing things that make you happy.
It is normal to seek support at a time when you may be feeling concerned. Counseling may help improve your mental health, support you and make you more resilient against the continuous uncertainty at the time of the pandemic. The IASO Institute of Life psychologists can offer support free-of-charge over the phone or online.