Both during and since the pandemic, there has been a bigger focus on mental health and well-being.

Being diagnosed with infertility and going through IVF treatment, can potentially put a strain on anyone’s mental health and relationships. Therefore, it’s important to look after yourself, to keep lines of communication open and to look into opportunities for support if you need it.
So, where can you find that support and what can you do to help yourself?

Counselling prior to IVF

If you are reading this blog post, there is a very good chance that you have already struggled to conceive or to carry a baby to term, you or your partner may have been diagnosed with infertility, or your circumstances may mean that you cannot conceive through sexual intercourse.
Having counselling at this stage of your journey can help you to accept and move on from what has happened so far and to prepare for the next steps in your journey. It can help you to feel stronger and more mentally able to cope with the challenges of IVF.
If you have a partner, counselling can also help you to speak openly to each other about your hopes, fears and expectations, so that you have a better understanding of each other’s feelings and how you can support each other.

Counselling during IVF

Having someone to talk to when you are going through the IVF process can be helpful. A professional counsellor can listen without judgement and help you to work through your feelings and emotions. They can also help you to prepare for the outcome of your treatment and the implications of a positive or a negative pregnancy test.

Counselling after IVF

Whatever the outcome of your treatment, there will be lots to come to terms with. If you have a negative test, talking to a counsellor can help you to acknowledge and accept what has happened and look at ways to move forward. If you have a positive pregnancy test, as well as being wonderful news and very exciting, it can also come as a shock, especially if you have been mentally preparing yourself to deal with the other outcome. Talking through your feelings about what comes next can help.

Eating well for mental health during fertility treatment

Eating well, gentle exercise and sleep

Having a healthy, balanced diet, taking regular, gentle exercise and getting enough sleep, are all great for reducing stress and looking after your mental health. This can also potentially increase your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy. We have many blog posts on our website about foods that can help with fertility and the types of exercise that are appropriate for different stages of your journey. It’s also very important to consult your GP or fertility specialist before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Alternative and complementary therapies to help with relaxation

Yoga and acupuncture are two very common therapies used by people who are struggling with fertility and going through IVF.

Practising yoga can help to reduce stress and increase blood to the reproductive organs of both men and women. Practised for health and relaxation, it involves breath control and meditation. With yoga, some poses are recommended for various points during the IVF cycle, whereas others may be advised against, so it’s important to seek advice from your medical professionals.

Acupuncture is a holistic treatment that has helped people to manage their stress levels for thousands of years. It involves puncturing the skin with needles at specific points. In women, it can increase blood flow to the ovaries and uterus and it is also believed to increase sperm count and improve sperm morphology and motility in men.

What else can help with my mental health?

Feeling like you are prepared is great for mental health. Being able to equip yourself with the facts and information about your treatment can really help to put your mind at ease. It’s important to ask as many questions as you need to from your medical professionals. Here at the IVF Network, we also provide advice and information, through our website, blog posts and dedicated channel of experts in IVF and fertility, to help you to make informed choices on your personal fertility journey.