Stress and Infertility Research

Are you trying to conceive and keep getting told to “relax and it will happen”? How frustrating is that? If only it were that easy we would all be pregnant at the drop of a hat. Sadly stress and infertility research says there is a definite link between struggling to conceive and being stressed.

On the other hand there are women who become pregnant in countries where war and famine make for a very stressful situation to conceive in. I’m not going to say you should count your blessings because I know the frustration of trying to conceive in itself can be extremely stressful. It isn’t a straight forward subject.

Let’s Look at Stress and Infertility Research

If you’ve ever wondered if you’ll never conceive, take heart that the percentage of women who will never get pregnant is actually very low. Stress plays some role in this, but not in the same way as a condition like endometriosis would.

More likely is that stress will play a part by lowering you or your partners sex drive or sperm production. Your egg production can be stopped or delayed in response to stress, but this is usually temporary and resolves once the stressful situation resolves.(1)

stress and infertility researchSpecialists in fertility studies know for sure that stress can affect hormone levels too. That coupled with a healthy sperm and egg production are crucial for conception to occur.

So whilst there isn’t currently a direct link between stress and infertility, there is some link.

One piece of a stress and infertility research saw that by reducing stress women can help enhance proteins within the uterus lining that is involved in implantation. (2)

We also know that if you undergo a lot of stress you can stop menstruating. In a way, stress can reduce your chances of conception and it would be worthwhile trying to reduce you stress levels in order to improve your chances of conception.

How to Reduce Stress to Improve Fertility

You probably know what you should be doing to reduce your stress levels. Yoga and meditation can help generally decrease your stress levels. Doctors believe that by reducing the amount of caffeine and other stimulants as well as increasing your levels of exercise regularly you can relieve both physical and emotional tension. (3)

If you have been trying to conceive for some time, that in itself can be stressful. Being able to communicate effectively with your partner about your frustrations can help.  Sometimes the basic stress reduction techniques aren’t enough and you will have to seek help from sources such as counseling, support groups, online forums and self help books.

Stress can be overcome although it can present a significant challenge for couples struggling to conceive.

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(1) Fertility and Sterility: Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation

(2) University of California Berkley: Stress Puts Double Whammy on Reproductive System

(3) American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Stress and Infertility