Self-management

Coping and support

Dealing with female infertility can be physically and emotionally exhausting. To cope with the ups and downs of infertility testing and treatment, consider these strategies:

  • Be prepared. The uncertainty of infertility testing and treatments can be difficult and stressful. Ask your doctor to explain the steps for your therapy to help you and your partner prepare. Understanding the process may help reduce your anxiety.
  • Seek support. Although infertility can be a deeply personal issue, reach out to your partner, close family members or friends, or a professional for support. Many online support groups allow you to maintain your anonymity while you discuss issues related to infertility.
  • Exercise and eat a healthy diet. Keeping up a moderate exercise routine and eating healthy foods can improve your outlook and keep you focused on living your life despite fertility problems.
  • Consider other options. Determine alternatives — adoption, donor sperm or egg, or even having no children — as early as possible in the infertility treatment process. This can reduce anxiety during treatments and disappointment if conception doesn't occur.

Prevention

If you're a woman thinking about getting pregnant soon or in the future, you may improve your chances of having normal fertility if you:

  • Maintain a normal weight. Overweight and underweight women are at increased risk of ovulation disorders. If you need to lose weight, exercise moderately. Strenuous, intense exercise of more than five hours a week has been associated with decreased ovulation.
  • Quit smoking. Tobacco has multiple negative effects on fertility, not to mention your general health and the health of a fetus. If you smoke and are considering pregnancy, quit now.
  • Avoid alcohol. Heavy alcohol use may lead to decreased fertility. And any alcohol use can affect the health of a developing fetus. If you're planning to become pregnant, avoid alcohol, and don't drink alcohol while you're pregnant.
  • Reduce stress. Some studies have shown that couples experiencing psychological stress had poorer results with infertility treatment. If you can, find a way to reduce stress in your life before trying to become pregnant.
  • Limit caffeine. Research suggests that limiting caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams a day shouldn't affect your ability to get pregnant. That's about one to two cups of 6 to 8 ounces of coffee per day.