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Stress and IVF

stress diet exercise ivf

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6 replies to this topic

#1 sprbaby

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 09:31 PM

Hi Dr Fiona,

 

I'm preparing for my second IVF cycle in about 6 weeks. My RE got me thinking about the general stress levels in my life and now I'm wondering if I'm doing the right things to reduce stress going into this cycle. I was under extraordinary stress in the months leading up to my last cycle, but now I'm concerned about what I call "normal" stress in my life (work & deadlines). Since January I've made a commitment to go to the gym 3-5 times per week, I'm eating much better and have been losing weight. I don't have any more mega-projects to worry about, but there are still pressures at work that get me very stressed. I do my best to have relaxing evenings and get a full 8 hours sleep. Is the diet and exercise a stressor on my body, or is it going to help keep my cortisol etc in check? If I give up coffee (one 16oz/day), is that a stressor? Should I cut it down now or can I wait until closer to my stim cycle (I gave it up on the first day of stims last time)? Is there anything I'm missing? I'm a bit worried now that my RE thinks a child's birthday party is more stress than I need around transfer time, so it's really got me rethinking what I consider stress and my normal stress levels.


http://dustyolewombs.blogspot.ca

Dx: Tubal

Me (38) DH (37)

 

IVF Cycle #1

Dec 2013 13 retrieved, 11 fertilized,

day 3: 7 great embryos

day 5: no blasts; transferred 1 morula

day 6: still no blasts, nothing to freeze

day 13: spotting

day 14: BFN

 

IVF Cycle #2 - March 2014

*added 3 months CoQ10 and omnitrope with stims*

Mar 2014: 14 eggs retrieved, 13 fertilized

day 5: two early blasts, both transferred!

day 6: one more blast frozen!

day 14: AF arrived, BFN confirmed on day 16.

 

FET cycle - Nov 2014

transferred one and only frozen blast - BFN


#2 sharlene

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 12:23 PM

I am not a doctor and want to wish you the best for your cycle.  

 

I often think that trying to de-stress is more stressful than just living your life - and when a cycle doesn't work, we then blame ourselves for what we did that caused it to go wrong - like not relaxing enough, drinking too much coffee etc.  Honestly, women get pregnant and carry to full term after rapes, in war zones, etc. - they have plenty of stress and manage to get pregnant and carry to term.  

 

Live your life - follow your RE's plan in terms of drugs etc. - stick to moderation for most things.  If you are ditching your caffeinated coffee, do it by tapering so you avoid headaches.  Don't do things to give yourself regrets - but really, much of this boils down to getting lucky with a healthy (chromosomally normal) embryo.  And that is only so much in your control.  Eat healthy, get sleep, be active and then let it go.  

 

Good luck.  


  • mouse, gibasgirl, Red Wine and 1 other like this

#3 RuralGirl

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 04:45 PM

If you enjoy the exercise and dont find that it just add more pressure to an already full day then go for it....but, My suggestion would be to try to incorporate breathing exercises or mindful meditation instead if you are interested in a tool that is easy, can be done anytime anywhere, and will in fact help counteract your body's stress response. Something as simple as some breathing exercises can lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, lower cortisol levels, control mood swings, and promote total body relaxation. Doesn't cost a thing, can be done multiple times per day, and I think is a lot easier than trying to implement a ton of lifestyle changes.
  • gibasgirl and loo like this

Dx: Male Factor + DOR

IVF/ICSI #1 Nov 2011 at Heartland: Regular Long Protocol
resulted in a single embryo, BFN - see About Me page for details

IVF/ICSI #2 June 2012 at Heartland: Estrogen Primed Antagonist Protocol
resulted in a BFP!!! - see About Me page for details
 

DD born Jan 2013 (from IVF/ICSI #2)

DS born Nov 2014 (conceived naturally!)

 


#4 sprbaby

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:39 PM

Thanks for the input ladies. I really don't think we can compare ourselves to people who manage to have healthy babies under bad conditions, that clearly isn't us (not me anyway, the past 6 years stands as proof of that). Anyway, I'm going to carry on with what makes me happy and not stressed and aim for a positive attitude as I go for cycle 2. 


http://dustyolewombs.blogspot.ca

Dx: Tubal

Me (38) DH (37)

 

IVF Cycle #1

Dec 2013 13 retrieved, 11 fertilized,

day 3: 7 great embryos

day 5: no blasts; transferred 1 morula

day 6: still no blasts, nothing to freeze

day 13: spotting

day 14: BFN

 

IVF Cycle #2 - March 2014

*added 3 months CoQ10 and omnitrope with stims*

Mar 2014: 14 eggs retrieved, 13 fertilized

day 5: two early blasts, both transferred!

day 6: one more blast frozen!

day 14: AF arrived, BFN confirmed on day 16.

 

FET cycle - Nov 2014

transferred one and only frozen blast - BFN


#5 sharlene

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 02:39 PM

My only point in making the comparison is that you have a physical issue preventing you from getting pregnant - (not every natural or IVF pregnancy will work - not every egg or embryo is chromosomally healthy) - your stress level is probably not keeping you from getting pregnant.  Don't stress yourself out over your level of stress!  Do what makes you happy (within reason and in moderation) and live your life - good luck - sounds like you have no great reason for this not to work!


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#6 Clairey

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:19 PM

Good advice and good luck - listen to your heart and take care of yourself.

 

I found the stress over 6 years changed every day of my life and the person I was becoming. I didn't want this to be the case but infertility is a TOUGH journey. You can't control tomorrow but you can control certain things in your life that will bring you some peace and a change to de-stress... for me, this was acupuncture, massage, being around people that I would feel better about things after being with them rather than worse, movies, music, finding a nurse practioner at my doctor's practice who supported the journey and me as a whole person. It wasn't just my ovaries that were the patient! I too felt the need to avoid certain things at critical times that could leave me feeling emotionally crashed and weak. It is totally okay to do so.

 

Hang in there!


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#7 DrFionaMcCulloch

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 09:40 AM

Hi Spr, 

 

I would say that stress really depends on your own personal tolerance.  I run a lot of cortisol panels, and for example, for a patient who is really low in cortisol or who is in adrenal fatigue...ANY amount of stress might push them over the edge.  However, other patients actually have a very good level of adrenal health and as such may be less affected.  

 

So, I would listen to your body...know how you feel.  Do you feel tired and stressed right now?  How did you feel during your last IVF?   It sounds like you are doing a lot of great things you didn't do in your last cycle...so maybe just go a bit further down that pathway for the cycle itself.  Try to cut down on the coffee if you can, gradually so you don't end up with withdrawl.....Switch to green tea.  

 

As you go through your cycle, pay careful attention to your body.  If you need to take time off of work, take it.  Say no to things, if the thought of them makes you feel pressured.  

 

Most importantly, create a space in your life for a new baby....a place for this baby to be and to grow.   That space might co-exist with your time at the gym...you don't necessarily need to lie on the couch for a month! You will know what that space means for you. 

 

I hope that this is helpful.  

 

Dr. Fiona


Dr. Fiona McCulloch, BSc., ND : Naturopathic Doctor, Integrative Women's Health & Fertility
White Lotus Integrative Medicine
Greenfield Ave, Suite 201
North York, Ontario, M2N 3CBCanada
phone (416) 730-8218



 
 





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