Infertility Increases Stress And Anxiety

It is all lollipops and rainbows until a couple decides to have a child, and fails. When the depressing thoughts are voiced out, what you hear is the worry. Infertility and infertility treatments like IVF put couples under a tremendous amount of pressure. Infertility causes anxiety. Anxiety further depresses the chances for conception. It's a vicious cycle.

Lucy had a plateful of anxiety. Pregnancy made her anxious. Thoughts about how pregnancy would change her life troubled her. The fact that tracking her fertile days did not improve her luck with pregnancy further energized her stress and anxiety. Not to mention, her history of alcoholism and an eating disorder, made for a tornado of distress.

“I went through phases of impatiently assuming that because I hadn’t immediately conceived, there must be something wrong with me,” Lucy told Stylist.

Thoughts about infertility and the stigma are hard to let go of. Many people will throw the words “relax” at you, but it is easier said than done. It was through exercise and opening up that Lucy found her reprieve. When I stopped thinking about it regularly, stopped checking my period tracker app every day, and gave myself up to it, I got pregnant almost immediately,” Lucy recounts. (And this is true for a lot of women.)

When women get stressed about failed pregnancy, they are very likely to turn to relieve stress through means like alcohol or smoking. This further lowers their chances of conception.

Do Stress And Anxiety Lead To Difficulties Conceiving?

A study by the National Institute of Health and Oxford University found that 25% of women under stress during their fertile days are 12% less likely to conceive. There are several possible reasons for this.

Chronic Stress May Affect Ovulation

You might have already noticed that during long stressful periods, your periods may delay or become irregular. This is because stress affects the hypothalamus, which in turn fails to stimulate the pituitary glands appropriately. The pituitary glands control the release of ovarian hormones responsible for ovulation. It causes irregular ovulation which lowers your chances of conception.

Another culprit in pituitary action disruption is cortisol. A 2006 study found that the stress hormone cortisol may delay the activity of the pituitary glands in ovulation.

Men are not exempt. Physical and emotional stress also reduces the sperm count, which lowers the chances of conception. This is similar to how female athletes have irregular menstruation due to rigorous exercise.

Stress May Cause Insomnia Which Reduces Chances Of Conception

Sleep deprivation compromises your health in many ways, including your fertility. When insomnia increases your stress levels, it may impact your fertility negatively.

One study found that women who have insomnia are 4 times more likely to develop infertility.

It is perfectly okay to feel stressed out and anxious about pregnancy. Rather than worry about how you worry, focus on lowering your stress levels.

Relaxation Improves Your Odds Of Conception

Even as researchers are yet to establish a clear cause-and-effect relationship between stress and conception, alleviating stress seems to improve the chances for conception.

Chaimovitz struggled to get pregnant until she stopped struggling. After four lost pregnancies, she was devastated. “I wanted a baby so badly I would have hung upside down… or drunk gallons of green juice if I thought it helped.” She recounts to WebMD. It was not until months after practicing relaxation techniques taught at Domar Center for Mind/Body Health that she had a full-term pregnancy. She delivered her beautiful daughter, Rami.

As Chaimovitz and other women struggling with infertility would agree, it is annoying when everyone keeps saying you should relax. Yet, relaxing is definitely a big factor.

Rather than advice on why she should relax, Chaimovitz needed to be shown just how to engage in relaxation.

What To Do When Stressed Out About Infertility

In alleviated stress lies the solution to anxiety-induced infertility. Do these things to reduce stress:

Moderate Exercise like Walking 5 Hours A Week Or Yoga

Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters. This directly alleviates stress, at least for the moment.

Join A Support Group, Online Or Physically

Meeting others who share in your suffering help you not feel alone. You also get to learn firsthand how others overcame their challenges. When you communicate openly with your partner about your fertility, you might find that all you need during the tough times is your partner.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness will help you love your body again by connecting with your body. When you fail to trust your body, it may interpret that now's not the time for reproduction, but when your body fails to give you a baby, worry seems inevitable.

Meditation and practicing mindfulness brings peace and calm that you never thought possible.

Professional Help

Gone are the days when therapy sessions are seen as a sign of weakness. Therapists dedicate their lives to helping people deal with psychosocial and personal difficulties. A therapist can guide you to discover the beauty that you are. To accept your body and learn to trust it, consider professional guidance and counseling.