Assigned female at birth with black hair meditating with eyes closed in living room

Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Meditation During Fertility Treatment

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By Dr. Ken Cadesky, Medical Director

Frequently, I’m asked if there is anything patients can do on their own to boost the effects of fertility treatment. I acknowledge that all aspects of infertility and treatment are stressful and that there’s no reason to believe that the reproductive tract is immune from the effects of stress. I tell patients that while you can’t eliminate stress from your life—because we all have stress—I believe you can minimize its effects on your body through meditation.

Personally, I did meditation throughout medical school, and I believe it helped me stay grounded and focused. In fact, I found it so helpful that today I continue to do meditation. I find that I’m better able to deal with stress and think more clearly. And I believe it helps with the internal effects stress has on our bodies.

Mindfulness Meditation Apps

Learning to meditate is easy, and you can feel its benefits almost immediately. But the key to success is to commit to a practice. To start, tell yourself you will try it for 15 minutes every day for a month. Commit to it. Don’t take any days off! Do it every day, and think of it as “your” time, your 15-minute vacation from the stress in your life. When patients tell me they don’t have 15 minutes, I tell them that they need meditation more than anyone!

I’ve looked at two mindfulness-based meditation apps that are easily available to patients on their smartphones: Calm and Headspace.

Because they are slightly different, I recommend you try them both for free for a two-week trial. See which one you prefer, then pick one and commit to it. While you can practice meditation anytime, anywhere on your own, most people find that a guided meditation led by a calming voice is a great way to begin.

While you have to commit to it every day, you don’t have to do it at the same time. You can vary this. Some people prefer morning meditation before they start their day, while others find it calming to meditate at night as they are getting ready to fall asleep. This simple practice is so powerful that I have patients phoning and thanking me, telling me it has made a huge difference in their lives.

Mindfulness Meditation & Fertility

Many people wonder why it works and how it works. There is a substantial amount of literature on this, including specific studies on the positive effects of meditation for people who are undergoing fertility treatment. And even more general literature about mindfulness meditation being useful for all kinds of medical conditions (a quick search on PubMed will list a variety of studies).

In my personal experience, and from talking to my patients who have tried meditation, I believe it gives you a rest from all the noise that is in our heads most of the time. It is remarkable for stress reduction.

Mindfulness Meditation Resources

There are many meditation apps available, and quite a few free guided meditations are offered on YouTube. Here are links to Dr. Cadesky’s suggestions as you begin your meditation journey:

Calm Official Site

Headspace Official Site 

Sample Guided Meditation