Guest blog by Hazel Bennet, a freelance writer and blogger.
Couples and individuals can feel overwhelmed by everything that goes into trying to conceive. All the questions, advice, medical terms, and appointments seem to alter life as you once knew it. It’s stressful and at times may feel like it’s too much to handle.
Sometimes, you need to take a step back and find something to relieve stress. It may be easier than you think, and it could also boost your fertility chances. Keep reading to learn how you can use the healing power of natural environments to navigate the challenges that accompany IVF and other fertility treatments.
The Health Benefits of Nature and Your Fertility
Nature and mental health have a strong connection. Immersing yourself in nature can help lower your overall stress and relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Stepping outside for some fresh air offers relief in many ways. Feeling mentally stressed or tense? Spending time outdoors, whether you’re cooling off with a nice breeze on your balcony or taking a long walk, allows overworked brains to slow down and enjoy something simple for a while.
Using Nature Therapy
Nature is often like therapy. The sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors relieve us of our daily stressors, help us unwind, and contribute to positive thinking. Ecopsychology, or using nature as therapy, can be healing. Spending time in natural environments can awaken your senses, bring you down to earth, and help you recognize your goals again especially when things get tough.
Women who have high levels of stress and anxiety sometimes take longer to conceive and being outdoors can reduce these stress levels. It’s important to take care of yourself every step of the way to give your baby a healthy start. Some daily things you can do to benefit your reproductive and mental health and bring your mind-body connection closer together, include:
- Taking stress-busting outdoor yoga classes
- Practicing meditation outside on your porch or deck
- Going on long walks alone, with your partner, or with a companion
- Visiting the park to walk the dog or enjoy a picnic
- Going sightseeing with a friend or a family member
- Exploring some patio furniture ideas, and designing a cozy outdoor retreat
- Trying new hobbies like gardening, birdwatching, or light hiking
Remember, when going through IVF cycles, you’ll want to avoid strenuous or high-impact exercise. Men should also avoid tight-fitting clothes or exercising in extreme heat. Focus on light outdoor exercise that relieves tension, loosens tight muscles, and helps you process or let go of worries or fears.
Boosting Your Chances with Vitamin D
Increasing evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiencies have a link to PCOS-associated symptoms as well as endometriosis, the two most frequent causes of infertility in women. Adequate levels of vitamin D increase the production of hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle and improve ovulation.
As scientists produce research and gather more data, studies suggest that women who have the proper vitamin D reserves in their bodies before conception may have a higher chance of getting pregnant while undergoing IVF. Supplementation might also assist women going through other fertility treatments.
Sunlight and Reproductive Health
You can find vitamin D supplements at your pharmacy and eat nutrient-rich foods with a fertility-focused diet. However, the most effective way to get vitamin D is from the sun. Your body produces most of the vitamin D it needs by absorbing sunlight through your skin.
Researchers studied the IVF results of 6,000 women over six years. They found that in the month before starting IVF, those exposed to four hours of sunlight a day boosted their chances of conception by a third. In fact, women were 35% more likely to have successful IVF treatments if they experienced pleasant weather a month before they started the process rather than at the time of conception.
Vitamin D was likely the key in these increased odds since it can affect fertilization rates, the quality of eggs, live births, and sperm motility in infertile men. Sperm is also more active during the higher temperatures of the summer months, so taking advantage of seasonal changes is a good idea for couples combatting forms of male infertility as well.
Sounds like an excuse to take that cruise or use your saved-up vacation time, doesn’t it? This and similar studies suggest that sunshine, higher temperatures, and the absence of rain could make treatments more effective. If you can’t wait until summer, by all means, book that flight.
It’s no secret that couples often feel stressed by fertility treatment plans. Taking the opportunity to relax and experience these happy, positive vibes can provide much-needed stress relief for those undergoing IVF.
Nature, Our Mind, and Our Body
Ever since you were a child, you’ve probably heard that vitamin D gives you strong bones. Now, vitamin D plays a completely new role as you move on to becoming a parent yourself. Getting outdoors and soaking up some vitamin D is essential to our bones as well as our mental and reproductive health.
Natural environments often help us relax our bodies and our minds. While we heal from the inside, we also absorb the healing powers of sunlight and can use it to benefit our reproductive chances. And, once you are pregnant, vitamin D is a key nutrient in embryo development. Whether you want the mental, physical, or reproductive benefits, adding time outside to your daily routine is essential to your journey into parenthood.
Hazel Bennett is a freelance writer and blogger. She has a degree in communications and lives in Northeastern Ohio. Hazel loves writing about numerous topics and showcasing her expertise with words.