When Trying to Conceive, What Stress Reduction Techniques Can I Trust?
Reproductive Medicine Associate's of Connecticut (RMACT) Director of Mental Health, Lisa Schuman, LCSW shares her wealth of experience and expertise with us. The question below is one that that Ms. Schuman answered and has valuable information pertaining to supplements, acupuncture and stress reduction.
Basically, Ms. Schuman is answering the question, "What else can I do? Or not do? How do I know what to trust?"
Good questions for when you're trying to conceive and want to make sure that you are doing absolutely everything that you can. And staying away from things that you shouldn't be doing. ~ Lisa Rosenthal
I'm Trying to Conceive - Should I Try Yoga or Acupuncture?
I am trying to get pregnant and I am getting a lot of conflicting information about stress reduction and getting pregnant. Some people advise psychotherapy, yoga, or mediation, or acupuncture or herbal remedies. I want to increase my chances of getting pregnant and reduce my stress. How do I separate the good information from the bad?
First, you are placing getting pregnant and stress reduction in the same pot. We do have some evidence that when people seek professional mental health support that they may have better chances of pregnancy. There are also studies and research that support that yoga, meditation and acupuncture can help with blood flow and therefore, improve chances for implantation. Acupuncture, particularly Laser Acupuncture, has reliable and specific research behind it that you can access by clicking here. We also do know that reducing stress can help you make better decisions and feel more grounded.
Herbal remedies are another subject. The evidence is anecdotal and most board certified Reproductive Endocrinologists would prefer you not use them unless carefully vetted. It doesn’t mean that maybe for some people under certain circumstances a particular formula may not be helpful but it’s a tricky proposition. Herbal remedies are not studied or controlled by the FDA. Did you know that ginseng contains estrogen? Or that a report came out recently that many supplements do not contain what they say that they do? So before beginning a course of herbal medication consult your doctor.
As for the other stress reduction choices you mentioned, they can all be helpful to your emotional well-being. So why not try them and see what works for you? If these techniques reduce your stress that is wonderful but there is no guarantee that it will change your chances of getting pregnant. This is an important point to understand.
It’s so distressing to struggle with infertility and its natural to want to do all we can to improve our odds for success. Our medical team will provide that advice but beyond that, our job is to make the journey as palatable as possible. The less stressful the journey, the more likely we are to stay in treatment and the more likely we are to get pregnant. This is a fact that has been borne out by research. The other snag is if we begin thinking we can eat the right thing or take the right classes to get pregnant then we are responsible for our success or lack thereof. I understand it’s hard to feel out of control but it’s truly worse for your body and spirit to blame yourself for not doing enough or doing too much if things don’t work out. So let the medical team help you with your fertility plan and you can take charge of your emotional plan. Using this framework will give you the best odds of success.
Good luck on your journey,
Ms. Schuman will be answering your questions here on PathtoFertility every other Thursday. If you have a question that you would like answered, please send to us at this secure email : AskTheExpert@rmact.com
About Lisa Schuman, LCSW
Lisa Schuman, LCSW, is RMACT’s Director of Mental Health Services. With almost twenty years of experience in the field of reproductive medicine, Lisa provides patients with support, guidance and education. Lisa has extensive academic experience, having received several awards for research projects at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM) and the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society’s annual meetings. Lisa completed college at Northeastern University and received her MSW at Yeshiva University. Her desire was, and continues to be, to continue to grow and learn with the aim of having added skills to help her patients. Lisa meets with patients at RMACT’s Norwalk and Stamford offices.