Going through infertility is ridiculously stressful. You’re up, you’re down, you’re waiting for results or appointments and each month, ‘Aunt Flo’ reminds you-you’re not pregnant yet and your calendar reminds you that time is ticking. It’s one of the biggest recipes for stress!!!
On the other hand, you’re fully aware that stress isn’t good for you – it sure doesn’t feel good either. Somewhere inside of you, you also worry that your stress is actually affecting your ability to get pregnant.
So does being highly-stressed affect your fertility?
If you look at the research in the area, it’s inconclusive. There are studies that show the effect of anxiety and depression on fertility and there are no surprises that suffering from these does reduce your chances of getting pregnant, but stress is harder to define.
Infertility is most often caused by a combination of factors and most often resolved by a combination of strategies. Reducing stress is one of these important strategies that is not given enough air time. I’ve seen dramatic results with my fertility coaching clients when we’ve worked on stress and mindset and is one of the major objectives behind Your Fertility Hub – to help people with the emotional side of fertility.
Stress and your fertility
Let’s think about stress from your body’s point of view – when we are stressed we are telling our bodies to be in a heightened state, alert for danger. It’s a primal thing, we can’t control it. When we’re running on adrenaline and cortisol (our stress hormones), we’re actively blocking out our happy hormones and our bodies are in ‘basic functioning mode’.
In this mode, your body focuses on what is necessary for survival and unfortunately, reproduction is not. In fact, if we’re stressed (or as our body thinks, we’re in danger), it’s not a good time to conceive. In studies on both people and animals, when subjected to stress, the pregnancy rate declines.
Of course, there are plenty of cases where highly-stressed people have got pregnant so it isn’t a blanket, definitive cause of infertility, but it is one factor we can control and change.
“You can’t change your situation, but you can change how you react, think and feel about it.”
It’s hard to change how you feel about a situation, don’t get me wrong, and there will be some times where it’s not possible to completely reduce your stress (e.g. 2WW). It’s also a very individual thing about how much stress you feel, how stress reacts in your body and how you approach your fertility journey generally.
Reducing stress is always a positive. If you can find ways to reduce your feelings of stress, it will generally make you feel happier and more positive about where you are right now. It could also be the catalyst for change, enhancing your natural fertility, allowing your body to heal and giving you a break from the stress roller coaster.
This isn’t just about being told to ‘relax’ (Yes we all want to punch the next person that says that to us!), it’s about practical strategies and tools to help you reduce your stress and distress and help you gradually move to a happier, calmer and more positive mindset.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Check out our free relaxation meditations and resources in ‘Your Fertility Toolbox’. Join and access your personal dashboard of downloads and video guides to help you reduce stress and feel good again! You can also join our lovely supportive Toolbox community on Facebook.
To get deeper into this and find out specific ways you can reduce your stress, try our revolutionary online guide – Your Fertility Stress
Reducing stress could be the missing link in your fertility journey and of course, also helps improve your everyday experiences too!
Fertility Coach, Founder of Your Fertility Hub
Karenna Wood is an international fertility coach, founder of Your Fertility Hub and passionate advocate for more emotional support and information for women trying to get pregnant. She’s an expert in mind-body tools and when not blogging, podcasting, coaching or speaking is...fast asleep!