Posts Tagged ‘infertility counseling’

Clinic adopts new standards to fight infertility

BANGALORE: With the abortion rate going up rapidly in India, educating couples, especially the young ones, has become a necessity. Assisting couples with a state-of-the-art facility using global standards and practices, Sure Fertility, based in JP Nagar, has opened its door recently to such couples.  According to Dr R Kishore Kumar, CEO, Sure Fertility, “Infertility is a major concern in cities like Bangalore, due to constant spikes in stress levels triggered by work pressures and working conditions that upset the body clock. Added to this are issues like faulty eating habits and lifestyle, obesity, lack of exercise and late marriages.” When a woman is unable to conceive after a few years of marriage, the pressure on her increases and the couple gets emotionally distraught. “We are dealing with not just a medical issue but also a highly emotional and personal one. There are various milestones to be crossed before high-end and clinically sensitive procedures are used,” he added.
If India is having a problem then the United States obviously falls right behind them with the stressful lifestyles! One of the things I work on myself as well as with my clients is how to deal with the stress.  Normal stress with everyday life is bad enough, but when you add in the infertility stress and the medications that make you feel like an alien…then the question becomes how to deal with that?!  My advice is definitely get on board with some acupuncture right away, it does miracles.  Plus studies have proven the effects to raise the pregnancy rate during IUI/IVF’s dramatically.  Also it is important to be exercising regularly to deal with the stress….now obviously don’t run a marathon and don’t enter a fitness competition, but exercise at a moderate pace several times a week.  I encourage most of clients to stay in therapy to deal with the emotional component or find a local support group.  Just know that you are not alone…more women than you realize are silently going through this and many women in their 30’s/40’s are still single and have no idea that it could be a possibility.  Don’t do this alone, it is just too challenging.  Contact me if you ever want advice, need resources, or you are local and would like to join one of my support groups or see me individually.  http://www.amoreenabergmft.com

First Published : 03 Oct 2009 04:22:06 AM IST

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Learn about the normal responses to infertility. The first step in reducing the stress of infertility is to stop feeling panicky about feeling rotten!

Another step in overcoming isolation is to build a bridge back to your family. All but the least sensitive can be educated about infertility, and can be taught by you how to be helpful and supportive. Ask them to do some reading on infertility. Also, be sure to let them know how you want to be treated.

Give yourself permission to cry and be angry. Don’t try to shut off your feelings. If you need to cry about the unfairness of one more pregnancy announcement, go ahead. If you need to pound a pillow or pummel a punching bag, do it. When you try to “snap out of it,” you waste all your energy.

Give your spouse/partner permission to feel and cope differently than you. If you’re a wife, don’t waste energy trying to get your husband to feel as devastated as you do. If you’re a husband, don’t try to get your wife to be “more like a man,” forgetting about infertility except when she’s at the doctor’s office or in the bedroom.

Improve your communication about infertility. You might try what I call “The Twenty Minute Rule,” which forces you to limit the amount of time you talk about infertility in a given evening. Tell your spouse/partner how you want to be helped. But partners are mere humans, incapable of mind reading. If you need to pass up the family gathering that features five nieces and nephews under two, then say so. If you want to be hugged, or massaged, or left alone for a few minutes, or just listened to without any response, you’ll be more likely to get what you want if you ask.

Get more information. One of the worst facets of stress is uncertainty about the future. You can’t get a crystal ball, but you can reduce some of your uncertainty by collecting information.

by Resolve.org

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For many women, infertility is a personal trauma.

Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has outlined five stages of grief people go through when dealing with trauma.  This has traditionally been used in the context of dealing with the loss of a loved one.  However, grieving your fertility goes through much of the same process.  Outlined below are examples of some typical thoughts people have while going through this process.

1) Denial and Isolation

You keep hearing these stories about couples that had tried for years to conceive and “bam”, they get pregnant while on vacation.  All it took was some relaxing.  You desperately want to believe that this will be you. Your denial prevents you from crying about what is really happening.

You start withdrawing from your everyday activities.  It seems like no matter which direction you turn, there is another pregnant woman.  You can no longer handle going out with your friends that have kids. 

2) Anger

You may feel angry at others and yourself.  You are fed up with your friends who accidentally get pregnant.  It’s not fair; you’ve been trying for years now.  You deserve it. They don’t.  Giovanna, a veterinarian, admitted even feeling jealous that her mom had conceived so easily!

Self-anger may appear as guilt in this stage. Is this some kind of karmic retribution? If you hadn’t had that bout of bulimia in college, or hadn’t socially smoked in your early twenties, or maybe if you hadn’t waited until your career took off… then you would have a child.  Be willing to feel your anger. 

3) Bargaining

Okay, so now it is time to make deals with God. You seek in vain a way to change your situation. If God lets you get pregnant, you will start volunteering at food banks, you’ll stop cussing at other drivers, you’ll go to church more.

4) Depression

The prominent feeling during this stage is numbness. You have pretty much given up any hope of having your dream family. In extreme cases you may even feel suicidal.  This stage has been described as “acceptance with emotional attachment”.

5) Acceptance

This is the best stage!  Once you have reached this stage you are ready to accept the reality that you cannot conceive on your own.  Okay, so you are in the twelve percent of the population dealing with infertility.  It’s time to be proactive, to make an action plan. This may consist of fertility treatments, adoption, or choosing to not have children. 

These stages are not always felt in a linear fashion; it is common for people to flip flop between them.  It is important to experience each of these stages in order to be whole again, to heal from this profound hurt.   

Sometimes the hardest part about dealing with infertility is communicating to others how devastated you may feel. If you or someone you love is going through this process, there are support groups.  I am facilitating one in Oakland at the East Bay Acupuncture Center starting in October.  Contact me for more information. amoreena@gmail.com

If you find yourself feeling suicidal contact your doctor immediately.

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What is considered infertile? If a couple has been actively trying to conceive a child for a year or more without success then it is possible one (or both) of them is infertile. Realistically a couple must also ensure they’ve tracked the woman’s cycle correctly and had the proper timing of intercourse around ovulation.
When a woman is faced with infertility it can be very stressful and she may find it difficult to believe she will ever become a mother. It may even put a strain on her marriage since it tends to take over a couples’ life. It is common that everything in their lives revolves around getting pregnant. The rollercoaster of emotions is tiresome especially if she has gone through multiple fertility treatments and hormone testing and still sees negative pregnancy tests month after month. This process is very disheartening and can discourage a couple.
Primary infertility refers to the inability to conceive or maintain a pregnancy.  If a woman has experienced a miscarriage or recurrent miscarriages then this may play a role in determining her fertility. Secondary infertility means a couple is having those same concerns after having a successful pregnancy.
There are several fertility treatments that a woman may receive which includes in-vitro fertilization (IVF), fertility drugs, surgery, and intra-uterine insemination (IUI). Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that has been around for thousands of years and can be used solely as an alternative treatment for infertility or used in combination with those mentioned above.
Women in the Bay Area who have been struggling with infertility may find it reassuring to visit East Bay Acupuncture Clinic who specializes in fertility care. They are compassionate towards women who are dealing with this challenge. Their facility is located in Oakland near Kaiser and Alta Bates Hospital.  Within the next few weeks they will be launching an infertility support group that I will be facilitating along with individual therapy sessions as part of the clinic’s optional treatments.
Kim Shaieb

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“Infertility is inherently stressful–it can affect how you see yourself, your sexual relations, your marital relationship, and your relationships with other people.” –Sharon Covington, Director of Psychological Support Services, Shady Grove Fertility and Reproductive Science Center, Rockville, Maryland

The treatment of infertility brings cycles of hope and despair–and turns life into an emotional roller coaster. Infertile couples need psychological support, whether it be from family, friends, doctors, counselors, on-line support groups or each other. Many infertile couples turn to Resolve, a nonprofit organization founded in 1974 to provide support and information to infertile people and to increase awareness of infertility issues.

Infertility’s emotional effects

Depression, anger, anxiety, frustration, irritability, and grief are normal responses to infertility. Hormones can have profound effects on emotion, so treatments that send hormone levels shooting up and down may magnify the turmoil. As months go by without success, the stress of infertility builds. For many couples, the second year of infertility treatment is particularly trying.

Infertility can have damaging effects on a couple’s relationship if concerns are not addressed. A partner may feel guilty or angry about the cause of infertility, if it is known. Both may feel frustrated if the cause is unknown. Couples often have different attitudes towards treatment that can cause friction in the relationship. One may want to pursue all options, while the other may not want to be as aggressive. As most infertility treatments are performed on the woman, the unequal emotional and physical burden she bears can strain the relationship.

Counseling supports treatment

Good clinics build psychological support systems into their infertility treatment program. For example, clinics supply reading material in the waiting room, such as flyers on upcoming support groups and Resolve meetings. These can help patients understand the treatment process and find out about available support services. Some clinics develop their own counseling groups, and a few clinics have on-site counselors. Your doctor may be able to recommend a therapist who specializes in infertility patients.

Professional counseling can ease the emotional problems of infertility and may even improve the odds of conceiving a child. Recent research found that couples who participated in group counseling sessions were more likely to get pregnant than couples who did not. It is not clear whether the counseling sessions caused the difference, whether the participants were more likely to try high-tech treatments because of the support, or whether it was just a coincidence.

Most people end fertility treatment because they run out of emotional energy, not money. Couples may find it difficult to make decisions about alternative treatments or to end treatment. There’s always another treatment available–something new to try. Counseling may help the couple press on–or realize when it’s time to stop treatment.

Types of counseling

baby counselingPatients can choose the style of counseling that best suits their needs–whether individual counseling, couples counseling, or group counseling.

When to consider counseling

Don’t view counseling as a last ditch effort, but as a way to get a better understanding of infertility and its effects. Counseling can help patients develop coping mechanisms and avoid common problems.

Infertility counseling is particularly useful at critical decision points in treatment. For example, most patients are “running on empty” by the time they face IVF treatment. Counseling before IVF can help the patients know what to expect and can boost their emotional reserve.

Many individuals develop depression in the time period that they are experiencing difficulties conceiving. Quite often, women are reluctant to take medication for their depression because of concerns that it might harm the baby. However there are several new antidepressants that are effective in treating depression and considered safe in pregnancy. One of these medications, Prozac®, has been studied. It has not been associated with either increased miscarriages or birth defects. Frequently, the depression is alleviated by the good news of the pregnancy and the medication can be discontinued safely.

Women report symptoms of depression more often than men, although it can occur in either partner. Sometimes an individual is too depressed to identify their own depression. In those cases, the partner plays a crucial role in identifying the symptoms and getting professional help. Talk to your doctor if you think you or your partner is experiencing symptoms of depression. Your doctor can direct you to appropriate professional help.

Seek counseling when you notice:

  • infertility is affecting your normal functioning and relationships with others
  • persistent sadness and tearfulness
  • increased levels of anxiety or worry
  • isolating yourself from others
  • strained relationships
  • loss of interest in hobbies
  • difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • difficulty making decisions
  • difficulty accomplishing your usual tasks
  • change in appetite, weight, or sleep patterns
  • increased feelings of bitterness or anger
  • thoughts of death or suicide
  • continuing feelings of pessimism, guilt, or worthlessness

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Correction: Sleep-deprivation linked to infertility. (I had a feeling that would get your attention.) Did you ever consider that? How could you with all the other things to worry about:
You’ve cut down on alcohol, caffeine, and even processed food.

You’ve scheduled more time to relax and tried to reduce the stress in your life.

You’ve started a consistent exercise routine and detoxified your house.

You’ve charted your monthly cycle, bought ovulation kits, and still…nothing.

But you’ve overlooked one very important element: sleep, which you don’t get enough of.

The word “infertility” can quickly generate a response, especially among the 10 percent (more than 6 million) of women struggling with it. The topic routinely graces the covers of magazines and academic health reports.

Lately, the talk about toxins in our food, water, and air have been blamed for increasing the likelihood of infertility. But what if it’s much simpler than that? What if infertility can be partly blamed on how many hours of sleep you get a night. OR hours you don’t get?

A new report puts the spotlight on exactly this issue. The highlights:

  • Missing your required number of sleep hours a night can impact your ability to conceive.
  • The average woman (30 to 60 years old) gets only 6 hours 41 minutes of sleep during the work week, according to the National Sleep Foundation, when she really needs 7 to 9 hours.
  • Sleep has a powerful influence on the body’s hormonal system, which controls a woman’s cycle and regulates ovulation.
  • Too little sleep leads to low leptin levels, the hormone responsible for appetite and which can impact ovulation.
  • Insomniacs have a significantly higher level of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenocorticotropic, both of which can suppress a healthy fertility cycle.

The take-home message is clear: you could be doing “everything right” when it comes to preparing your body to conceive and bring a healthy baby to term. But with so much focus on external factors like your environment and what you put in your mouth, the time has come to add another aspect to this big equation: sleep.

All the healthy, pure food in the world and all the attention to getting your body into tip-top prenatal shape won’t cure a hormonal system gone awry from missing sleep. So if you’re thinking of having a baby, put sleep on the list. At the top. And if you’re going to worry about your environment, remember to also think about the one in the bedroom.

Article by Michael J. Breus, PhD, DABSM

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When you are trying to get pregnant, it seems everyone around you is an expert on conception. One of the most common pieces of advice given is “just relax and it will happen.”

And while the theory of relaxing and avoiding stress seems simple enough, it’s actually one of the most difficult things to achieve while trying to conceive. In fact, trying to relax can sometimes cause more stress because you’re having to work so hard to make it happen.

Fortunately, there is a fairly easy way to relax and reduce stress in your life. Just laugh. In fact in some recent studies, women exposed to laughter therapy actually had higher pregnancy rates than those who did not participate in laughter.

Apparently there are laugh yoga centers and laughter yoga sessions are most often 60 minutes in length. In the first 15 minutes, or so, participants explore the space and begin to breathe deeply, warming up the abs, lungs and vocal chords. The instructor introduces the practice, and then the exercies begin. Laugh yoga exercises train and tone all the muscles involved in smiling and laughing, including facial muscles, abdominal muscles and more, in order to transition smoothly into free-flowing laughter. The last 15 minutes is a time for release, through group sharing and meditative smiling and laughing. Sessions end in quiet meditation.

Or another option to find laughter is to watch stand-up comedy live or on tv!

Dallas Infertility & Miscarriage ExaminerMichele Kennon

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