HEALTH CARE VISITS
COMMUNICATING WITH HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
An essential component of the mind-body connection is clear
communication with your health care professionals, the doctors
and nurses chosen to accompany your journey to enhanced
fertility. Clear communication about your physical and emotional
responses during treatment will create a partnership to
empower you and aid the professionals in providing appropriate
treatment. Inquire about procedures, time frame anticipated,
success rates, and alternatives. Most doctors and nurses
intend to be helpful and want to hear how you really feel
about choices in the process of fertility enhancement.
Receiving accurate information helps reduce anxiety, a common
feeling among women seeking help with fertility issues. Before
arriving for your appointment, write down your questions, so the
doctor and nurse can clarify options and you can express your
own preferences. Should you find your questions not answered satisfactorily,
inform the clinicians about your concerns; if the situation is
not improved, you may wish to interview and select a different
professional group. A doctor/patient relationship based on mutual
trust and collaboration is associated with a more positive outcome.
Several books, especially those by Alice Domar, M.D. and Christiane
Northrup, M.D., provide helpful information about the mind-body
connection in relation to fertility. In Dr. Domar's most recent
book, Conquering Infertility, several excellent suggestions
for communicating with health care professionals are found in
the chapter entitled "The Nitty-Gritty of Infertility Treatment:
Financial and Medical Issues:"
- Be proactive and educate yourself through reading and
interacting with other women who have similar issues, so you will
be your own best informed advocate.
- Ask for an annual copy of medical records and request
a clear explanation of them from your physician. Be familiar with
your insurance coverage.
- Keep an infertility journal, noting all procedures,
information from your health care team, and emotional ups and
downs. Note the most stressful times and anticipate when you will
most need nurturing.
- Practice relaxation techniques prior to a significant
doctor appointment; continue to do them en route to the office
and while in the waiting room.
- Bring a family member or good friend to your appointment
to take notes as you discuss options with your doctor if you're
anxious. Request a referral to a support group or therapist who
specializes in working with women with infertility issues.
Sally St. Clair, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice.
You may reach her at 214.373.6370.