TRYING TO CONCEIVE (TTC) AND INFERTILITY

Fertility issues can be emotionally difficult. Mind Body Psychiatry clinicians can help guide you with knowledge, skills, and increased confidence to stay emotionally balanced through this potentially challenging time. We provide psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and have developed a Mind Body Fertility Program to assist individuals experiencing these difficulties.

While on the journey to pregnancy, it is critical to maintain a balanced mindset, with self-forgiveness and bigger picture goals helping to inform the process. To assist you, Mind Body Psychiatry uses research-based methods to inform their care, such as counseling and mind body programs to improve mental wellness and the likelihood of conceiving.

Infertility is difficult in many ways. It is important to reach out for assistance if necessary when faced with fertility issues. Mind Body Psychiatry clinicians aim to tackle the stress and increase the odds of having a child. Often, headlines or neighborhood advice to “think positively” only works to add stress and fear to one’s chances. In addition, current research has challenged these claims. Historically, the inability to conceive was tied to psychological problems, while today, it is understood that 90% of infertility cases have a known biological explanation. This helps inform the treatment given to individuals experiencing infertility and lifts whatever cycle of stress or self-blame they might be experiencing. Mind Body Psychiatry physicians work to acknowledge these difficulties while also providing holistic, individualized stress management strategies to provide relief from stress and increase the chances of conceiving.

Infertility may not be purely caused by the mind, but the mind does play a role in successfully conceiving. The mind and body are so deeply connected in layers of complex links. Instead of attributing infertility issues only to psychological issues, which therefore increase one’s stress, the mind body connection can assist one in achieving the goal of pregnancy. Mind Body Psychiatry can help you in empowering your body and mind to reach this goal while maintaining emotional balance.

Further, infertility can put stress on couples experiencing this challenge. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or couples counseling have all been proven to assist couples on this journey. We are here to assist you on the path to pregnancy.

PREGNANCY

Pregnancy can be a wonderful time of happiness and growth, but this is not always the case. Pregnancy can trigger difficulties in relationships, insecurities surrounding one’s career and achievement, and challenges surrounding a life transition. While being a new mother is a huge life change, it is important to acknowledge and address the difficulties that can accompany this time, as a new identity is formed while an old identity of a childless self is shed. It is normal is grieve and try to digest the loss of an old lifestyle, an old self and an old body. This transition is experienced differently for every woman, but nonetheless it is important to address these challenges and reach out for support when necessary. Mind Body Psychiatry can assist you through issues that confront you with questions such as how this process will affect your lifestyle, social and work life, the emotions tied to being a new mother, and taking on a whole new responsibility.

Hormonal adjustments associated with pregnancy add intensity to this psychological change. Estrogen and progesterone levels can trigger an increase in irritability or mood swings, acting as increased challenges to old normalcy. Some women, however, experience an increased level of progesterone, which contributes to a decrease in anxiety, so an individualized assessment is necessary as every experience is different.

Women with a history of anxiety or depression are at an increased risk for psychiatric difficulties during their pregnancy and into early motherhood. It is therefore important to monitor these symptoms and pursue appropriate treatment early before symptoms potentially worsen. Self-care in this way is critical in order to optimize your experience in early motherhood as well as your baby’s. Avenues of treatment include nutritional supplements, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mind-body practices and lifestyle changes, as well as medication when necessary.

POST PARTUM

In addition to experiencing challenges related to pregnancy, the months following having a baby can be challenging as well as they can be wonderful. It is important to maintain self awareness regarding one’s mental health to address any excess irregularities that would best be addressed by a medical professional.

“Baby blues” can be experiened by up to 80% of new moms, ranging from occurring over a few days to a few months. These experiences can include oscillations from being overwhelmed, anxious or weepy. When these intensities persist over two weeks, it is best to consider professional medical intervention to best aid your experience as a new mom through individualized therapy, nutritional coaching or lifestyle changes. Signs of post partum depression include:

  • Feeling sad or numb more than half of the time

  • Feeling angry or irritable

  • Not feeling interested in your baby

  • Having intrusive thoughts about not wanting to live or wanting to hurt the baby

  • Lack of appetite

  • Poor concentration

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Lots of negative thoughts and feelings of guilt

  • Feeling hopeless

 Dr. Beata Lewis, MD specializes in women’s health treatment. 

To schedule a consultation please email info@beatalewismd.comcall 646.606.2663 or request an appointment.

References:[i] Vayena, E., Rowe, P. & Peterson, H. (2002). Assisted reproductive technologies in developing countries: Why should we care. Fertility and Sterility, 78, 13-15.[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). National survey of family growth. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/key_statistics/i.htm#infertility[iii] Martin, J., Bradley, H., Osterman, M., Curtis, S. & Mathews, T. (2015). Births: Final data for 2013. National Vital Statistics Reports, 64(1). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_01.pdf[iv] Domar, A. (2007). Coping with the stress of infertility. Resolve Fact Sheet Series, 15. Retrieved from http://www.resolve.org/resources/fact-sheets.html[v] Freeman, M., Toth, T. & Cohen, L. (2013). Assisted reproduction and risk of depressive relapse: Considerations for treatment. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 25(4), 283–288.[vi] Souter, V., Penney, G., Hopton, J. & Templeton, A. (1998). Patient satisfaction with the management of infertility. Human Reproduction, 13,1831–1836.[vii] Boivin, J. (2003). A review of psychosocial interventions in infertility. Social Science & Medicine, 57, 2325–2341.[viii] Hammerli, K., Znoj, H. & Barth, J. (2009). The efficacy of psychological interventions for infertile patients: A meta-analysis examining mental health and pregnancy rate. Human Reproduction Update, 15(3), 279-295. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmp002a