Stress, anxiety, and depression are commonly discussed topics when it comes to reproductive health and infertility. Women experiencing infertility report elevated stress and anxiety levels, creating a seemingly endless cycle of stress caused by infertility issues that continue to perpetuate infertility. This difficult time is made more stressful by wondering what medications or remedies are safe and effective at relieving anxiety and depression symptoms while still upholding safety standards necessary for a woman trying to conceive. To help alleviate some of this stress, we wanted to outline safe stress relievers and share anxiety and depression tips for those struggling with infertility.
Depression and Pregnancy
In addition to the elevated rates of anxiety and depression among women struggling with infertility, the entire pregnancy journey can prompt emotional changes. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, around 14%-23% of women will experience depression symptoms at one point during their pregnancy. When it comes to conceiving, studies have shown that women struggling with infertility who seek psychological counseling decrease their symptoms of anxiety and depression, leading to significantly higher rates of pregnancy. No which stage of pregnancy you’re currently experiencing, anxiety and depression are common diagnoses.
Indications of Depression
Depression can show various symptoms including (but not limited to):
- Feeling sad, down, hopeless, or in despair
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- General fatigue
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of death or suicide*
Tips for Anxiety and Depression
If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, there are a variety of treatments available to help. Despite these options, it is estimated that only about half of women with pregnancy-related depression seek treatment. The following tips may help ease symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, but if these methods are not effective, schedule an appointment with a mental health counselor, your primary care doctor, or a healthcare professional at CFI. We can make sure you get the help you need.
- Seek help from support groups or resources. We have outlined some great online resources here: 4 Virtual Resources for Infertility Support
- Establish a routine that involves going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
- Walk, practice yoga, or engage in physical activity that can help elevate endorphins.
- Reduce stress through self-care, whether it’s scheduling a massage, getting your nails done, or even just carving out time to relax and listen to your favorite music.
- Talk through your feelings with a friend, partner, family member, or mental health professional.
- Schedule an appointment with your doctor. Certain antidepressants are safe to take while pregnant and can be essential if other therapies are not effective.
*If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for free and confidential crisis counseling available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach this line by calling 1-800-799-4889.
Talk to A Fertility Expert
If you have questions or concerns about infertility-related anxiety, depression, or stress, Carolinas Fertility Institute is here to help. We offer a wide variety of services, from fertility evaluations to In Vitro fertilization. Reach out to us today to schedule an initial consultation by calling our Charlotte office at (844) 686-2233 or our office in the Triad at (336) 448-9100.