Tuesday, 25 January 2011

IVF success rates double when using HypnoFertility

With permission of the group admins I've just joined the IVF group on www.babycentre.co.uk. I approached them because I love supporting women on the HypnoBirth board and asked if they felt I could be of any help to women going through the IVF process.

I posted with a little introduction to myself and have been amazed at how many women have since sent me a message saying that they would love to know more. So here I am writing a blog post that I hope not only the women on the IVF board will find useful but also anyone else planning on, or in the midst of, IVF treatment.
It is first of all useful to understand what hypnosis is.

Hypnosis (the trance like state) is actually a state we move in and out of all of the time. When we drift off to sleep at night and wake up in the morning we move through the hypnogogic state, whilst daydreaming, lost in a good book or caught up in a great film we are in a state of trance. In fact any time we have our focussed attention on something we are likely to be in the state of hypnosis.

When we are fully conscious and aware we have a critical factor of the brain that acts as a filter. This filter is based on our belief system and causes us to analyse what is the best course of action for us in any one moment. When we move into a state of trance this becomes sidetracked and we therefore become more open to suggestions. This is important to be aware of because both positive and negative suggestions can get through. There is a lot of negative hypnosis about fertility. When a woman is having IVF how those in authority talk to her about what she will experience, how her body will respond and most importantly statistical chances of success can actually have a physical effect on her body.

Your subconscious mind is the part that runs your body (ie all of the functions we don't consciously control). It does this by responding to images that we create from everything we see, hear, read, talk about, think etc (we are not consciously aware we are doing this as it would drive us mad). Those images then evoke a set of emotions that tell the body what it needs to do. The subconscious primary role is to keep us safe and this is useful to be aware of when we are looking at any type of fertility issue because our reproductive processes are not part of our survival. If we have a lot of stress caused by our current life or events from our past (causing blocks that we may not necessarily be aware of) this can be interpreted by our subconscious as a message that we are in danger. In turn it can physically change what is going on in our body and prevent a woman from becoming pregnant. Even when a woman is having IVF treatment we want to ensure that the subconscious understands that she is 'safe' and in turn work with her treatment rather than against it.
So what does it feel like? That is like asking “how long is a piece of string?” Everyone experiences hypnosis in a different way. The most important thing is not to try, the more you try the more you will engage your conscious brain and will be less likely to move into the state of trance. You should simply set the intention to allow yourself to experience trance in a way that is just right for you. Instead of judging how you feel know that it is working for you, in the way that is best for you. Some people feel very heavy, others feel light and tingly and some feel nothing at all but are just aware of my voice or their own inner thoughts as they relax more deeply.

Okay on to some useful things whilst progressing through IVF treatment.

We've seen in the above explanation that your subconscious mind will respond to what you spend time focusing on so it is important prepare yourself emotionally before you commence IVF and have techniques to support you in maintaining a healthy mental attitude throughout. I would say up front though this is not about squashing difficult feelings down and walking around with a 'Polly Anna' smile on your face. This would be completely counterproductive. It is always important to experience difficult emotions but learn ways of not being overwhelmed by then.

Setting yourself a goal

Set a goal for how you want to feel throughout the process. For example 'feeling relaxed in my body and calm in my mind'. This goal will be completely personal to you. Then plot it on a scale.
0 - the worst you could feel. Based on the above example this might be 'experiencing so much tension body it hurts and constantly anxious and on the verge of tears.
10 - the best you can feel. 'Completely relaxed in my body, positive and able to progress through my day with confidence'
Plot on the scale where you are now and what you need in order to move you up the scale and stay there. This will help you maintain focus and track progress.

Practice relaxation

The following 5,4,3,2,1 mp3 gives you both a useful technique to use throughout the day to promote relaxation in the body and also provides a lovely progressive relaxation session to listen to regularly to help de-stress your mind and body.

Maintaining a healthy attitude

I always introduce 'Worry Time' to my clients. Find a 15 mins slot each day when you are allowed to worry. Let's say it is 8pm. Throughout the day if a worry turns up treat it like someone who has turned up early for an appointment. Imagine saying to them "what are you doing here, you are far too early, go away and come back at 8pm when our meeting is planned". This may make you feel a little silly but in turn it will help take the emotion out of the worry and move you past needing to in that moment. You have also acknowledged the feelings and so it will be easier to let it go knowing you can come back to it later. When you get to worry time if you want to have a good worry then do so but ONLY for 15 minutes. Then you need to 'change your state', by which I mean go and put on a fab bit of of music and dance around your front room, or have a cuddle with your partner, or a nice bath with candles - the important thing is to make it a treat and something that will completely change your mood.

Another useful technique is the cancel technique which will help you switch negative thoughts into positive ones.

Positive Imagining

You will find a detailed explanation of what I mean by this when reading about the cancel technique but here I want to specifically introduce the idea that you can use your imagination to enhance and work with your treatment. There is no need to use text book explanations for this remember your subconscious only understands imagery and emotion. All you need to do is use the 5,4,3,2,1 relax technique that you have learnt about previously to take yourself into a nice relaxing state of trance and then imagine that you are tiny enough to be inside your body (just let your imagination bring up whatever it wants - you will be surprised how easy this is). Then imagine how you want things to be. For example when thinking about your eggs imagine the best quality eggs you can. I've had clients say that they were in the supermarket and opening a box of eggs and making sure that they were all completely perfect. Another was painting hers like easter eggs and I've even had one imagine Faberge Eggs. You can imagine your uterus as the most wonderful home possible for your baby to grow. Some imagine a beautiful nursery, others luxurious textiles and colours. I've had clients do some redecoration or carried out a good spring clean. Again just allow your imagination to find things it wants to do. Don't judge what you are doing just follow what feels right.
Prior to egg collection and embryo transfer imagine everything going exactly as you want it to be. Prepare yourself to be as relaxed as you can by using 5,4,3,2,1 or listening to an mp3 if you can when at the clinic.

The two week wait

This can be a challenging and anxious time so think about some useful and enjoyable ways of spending this time. Creative tasks are especially effective for maintaining a healthy focus of attention.
Place a coloured dot on different things - your watch, phone, bathroom mirror, etc with the intention that every time you see one of these coloured dots they will trigger a positive visualisation, for example 'your baby is safe and settling in nicely in your womb'.

Spend time imagining your body accepting the embryos. All the other cells can have a welcoming party or you can see them with arms open wide and making space for them to settle in. Another lovely visualisation is to imagine them being placed in little car seats, safe and secure.

Practice relaxation every day and utilise the Worry Time and Cancel Technique.

Further support

For those of you reading this please feel free to ask me any questions about this both on reading or as you use the techniques I will be very happy to help. You can do these either on the comments section of this blog entry or on the IVF Baby Centre board.

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My plan is to write a complete IVF Support Programme (to be ready by August 2012) that will also include 'Fear and Emotion Release', "'Ego Strengthening' and specific mp3s for the different stages of treatment but I hope for now those embarking on IVF will find this blog post useful.

If I have sparked your curiosity and you would like to know more about HypnoFertility sessions please email me at dany@tums2mums.com. Should you require I offer a free half an hour consultation so that you can meet me and ask any questions you have.

I work successfully with clients both face-to-face and using Skype.

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3 comments:

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