In a nutshell
This study looked at whether group mindfulness sessions reduced depression in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). It found women who received 8 sessions of mindfulness training had less depression afterward.
Infertility affects over 10% of couples worldwide. Infertility is emotionally challenging. There are strong social expectations to have children. Infertility can increase stress and sexual issues in marriages. Additionally, the treatments for infertility are time-intensive, invasive, and expensive. The hormones used in infertility treatments can also cause emotional changes. Given these challenges, depression is twice as common in women with infertility.
Mindfulness represents a series of practices involving focusing on the present moment. Mindfulness may involve focusing on the sensation of breathing, the taste of food, or the warmth of sunlight against the skin. Mindfulness allows people to break out of a toxic thought pattern called rumination. During rumination, people replay the same negative thoughts over and over in their heads. They may fixate on something they did wrong, or how things are not the way they should be. Rumination is one of the causes of depression. It is unclear whether mindfulness training can improve depression in women with infertility.
Methods & findings
This study involved 90 women who were undergoing IVF treatment for infertility. On average, the women had been infertile for 4.81 years and received 1.17 previous IVF cycles. 45 women received group mindfulness training. There were two 90-minute mindfulness sessions per week over four weeks. There were also 45 women who did not receive mindfulness training (controls). Both groups were given depression assessments before IVF treatments, and again shortly before embryo transfer.
The depression scores of the mindfulness group decreased significantly over the course of IVF treatment and mindfulness training (from 20.77 to 10.82). In contrast, the depression scores of the control group increased as IVF treatment went on (from 17.95 to 21.33). After mindfulness training, the depression scores were significantly lower in the mindfulness group than the control group.
The bottom line
This study found that the use of group mindfulness therapy decreased depression in women undergoing IVF.
The fine print
This study was conducted in Iran, where work and social situations may be different from in other countries. Also, this study had a small number of participants. Further, larger studies, with more diverse populations are needed.
Talk to your doctor, therapist, or another health practitioner about using mindfulness techniques to cope with the stress of infertility.
Published By :
International journal of fertility & sterility
Apr 01, 2020