There’s no doubt that going the assisted reproductive technology (ART) route can be stressful. In most cases, by the time you’ve even started to look into ART, you’ve already been down a stressful road of conceptions missed, babies lost via miscarriage or a diagnosis of conditions that make it difficult for you and your partner to conceive a baby naturally.ID-100221372

Caught in the Fertility Treatment Hamster Wheel? Take Some Time to Relax and Recharge!

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is take a break and give yourself some space to recharge your batteries and connect with things that were important to you before your entire focus revolved around a microscopic sperm and egg. Or, if you aren’t interested in taking a break now, do take some time to relax and recharge your batteries. You never know – - giving your body the positive energy and space it needs could be the best thing you do to help your conception along.

  1. Take a yoga class. Yoga is one of those things that is beneficial any way you look at it. It is focused on being present in your body, something that is difficult to do when we are feeling stressed or upset. The practice of  holding asana positions, while working on taking deep belly breaths, infuses the body with oxygen, and a host of positive “feel good” chemicals, and the relaxation techniques you’ll learn in class will come in helpful when you eventually go into labor. If you are in the middle of IVF treatments, seek restorative yoga classes or classes designed specifically for pregnant women so everything you do is nurturing for both you and your potentially developing fetus. Also, do not take Bikram (Hot) yoga classes if you are trying to get pregnant as it’s not good to elevate your core temperature once you’ve conceived.
  2. Visit the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Take yourself on an afternoon or full-day trip to the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. It’s impossible to walk through the gorgeous paths, breathing in the scents of lush plants, flowers and trees and connecting with Mother Nature without feeling positive effects. In addition to the Arboretum, there are more than 300-acres of land, much of which is given over to beautiful hiking trails. Ditch the phone and gadgets and escape into peace and quiet. Become a member and you can do it for free whenever you need an escape.
  3. Check out acupuncture. Acupuncture has been used as a way to relax and rebalance the body’s energies for thousands of years. It has also been used medicinally to help regulate women with irregular menstrual cycles, relieve the side-effects of issues related to female reproductive help and there are several studies that have shown a correlation between specific types of acupuncture and more successful conception and live birth rate for IVF cycles. Make sure you visit a licensed and certified acupuncturist, and seek one with positive references from people you know.
  4. Get some girls together and hit the spa. Or not, perhaps you’d prefer to go alone. Either way, indulge and pamper yourself by booking a day – or a weekend – at a health spa. The minute you walk through the door, take a deep breath, savoring the delicious scents and the feelings of tranquility. Once you take your first sip of herbal tea or cool cucumber infused water, you’ll know you have officially left the planet of reality and arrived somewhere magical. Take advantage of a soak and/or scrub, massage, a facial and anything else that calls to you. Celebrate your body and give it a little love.
  5. Spend a romantic day with your honey. Remember when you and your honey used to have fun together? Or spend hours lounging by the river? Perhaps you used to eat dinner at a nice restaurant and listen to live music, reveling in your love and celebrating the things you both enjoy doing together. It’s time to pick a relaxing item off the “things we used to do together” list and make it happen. Maybe it will be a couple’s massage at a spa (See #4) or maybe it will be something as simple as a picnic in the botanical gardens (See #2). Either way, make sure babies, family and pregnancy are OFF TOPIC. This is your time to relax and unwind.

What have been your saving graces during your journey to fertility? Have you found a special place to go or a specific activity that has helped you relax and escape a bit from reality? RRC and our blog followers would love to read your suggestions.

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Nobody said going through fertility treatments was easy, and you may have even anticipated it would take its toll on your marriage. Even so, most couples think they’ll be different, that their relationship is more than able to weather the trail of failed pregnancy tests, ridiculous mood-swings related to hormone surges, timed sex and sex on demand, tears, stress, heartache – - whew! It’s a lot for any couple to handle and nobody knows what it will really be like until they are actually in the swirl of things.

The great news is that each year, more than 100,000 babies are born as the result of assisted reproductive technologies and yours can be too. Here are tips to help you and your significant other stay strong together and build your relationship as you weather the storms ahead.

5 Ways For Your and Your Partner to Stay Strong Together During IVF Treatments

  1. Never stop communicating. It’s important that the two of you have a completely open and honest communication pathway. There will be ups and downs, insecurities and anger, there may even be a little blame or guilt. It’s important that you are honest with each other about where you are at. Trying to fake it may work once in a while to lighten a mood, but it can be the downfall of your intimacy and trust over the longer haul. If talking is difficult, create a private blog/journal/email chain where you can write back and forth but remember that face-to-face communication is always best. You may want to consider working with a therapist.
  2. Start working together on lifestyle improvements. Odds are that there are a few areas where your lifestyle could be improved. This is even more pertinent for those who are trying to conceive since the food you eat, household chemicals and seemingly innocuous items around your home may contribute to your infertility. Make this a time to band together in an effort to eat better, drink more water, exercise regularly (but don’t overdo it!), ditch unhealthy habits once and for all (smoking!), and start replacing potentially harmful items around the home.
  3. Take a break once in a while. Take a little break in between treatments so you and your couple-hood can enjoy a few months without the constant pressure of conception in the forefront of your daily lives. And that brings us to number 4…
  4. Find ways to keep the romance alive. It’s so difficult to keep chemistry and romance alive when timing is everything in biological reproduction. Make sure you touch each other more, as you pass from the living room couch to the kitchen, hugs and kisses hello and goodbye, a playful pat on the rump –try to focus on the little intimate gestures that have nothing to do with making a baby and everything to do with honoring one another. Make lists of things you would like to do one another and then try to cross a few items off the list. Start while you’re taking and break and it may be easier to continue once you begin your next round of treatment.
  5. Find ways to show appreciation. There can be times where the guy feels like one huge penis full of sperm and the woman feels like a giant ovum – as if the rest of their amazing character traits and strengths have fallen by the wayside and no longer matter. Focus on ways you can apprciate each other for what each of you brings to the table – things that are completely unrelated to baby making. This can be as simple as unloading the dishwasher, tucking a thank you note into a sock drawer or blowing the budget every once in a while for a special dinner out.

The more you can work to strengthen your relationship before the baby comes, the easier it will be when your newborn cry starts up for the seventh time in three hours and it’s only 4 a.m.…

Have questions about your own fertility journey or need a referral to wonderful counselors who are familiar with the struggles related to assisted reproductive technology? Contact RRC.

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Reproductive Resource Center Expands Fertility Preservation Program with Internationally Renowned Infertility Specialist S. Samuel Kim, M.D.

September 4, 2014

Reproductive Resource Center (RRC), a Kansas City-based reproductive health, infertility and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) center, is pleased to announce that Dr. S. Samuel Kim has joined the practice as Director of Fertility Preservation. With 20 years of experience in clinical reproductive medicine and surgery, Dr. Kim is a highly-esteemed clinician and scientist whose reputation as [...]

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Exercise and Fertility – Are you Taking it Too Far?

August 29, 2014

There’s no such thing as being too fit, right? Well, that all depends on what one’s goals are. If you are a woman trying to conceive, too much exercise might actually be your downfall. In fact, as fertility specialists, we can spot a potentially “over-exercised” woman from the door of the waiting room. When we [...]

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