Stress and Infertility: How Stress Affects Your Fertility

Stress and Infertility: How Stress Affects Your Fertility

While no one can say yet that stress is definitely a cause of infertility, researchers have shown that it can actually be a problem for couples trying to conceive. Opinions are divided because there are some who argue, that women can conceive under far more stressful situations than what we understand by everyday stresses, generated by modern life’s chaotic rhythm or the desperate efforts some couple make in order to conceive. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

It is true that women in countries affected by famine and social disputes have no troubles conceiving because of stress, but it is also true that high stress levels affects a woman’s ovulation, often delaying it or making women anovulatory.

So, even if it is not 100% sure that stress is what is keeping you from getting pregnant, there are strong possibilities that stress has something to do with your infertility, especially if you do not suffer from any biological condition that causes infertility.

Stress can delay ovulation

High levels of stress affect the functioning of your hypothalamus, the area of the brain responsible with sending and receiving signals from your reproductive system. Since your menstrual cycle is a complex system of communications between your ovaries and your brain, stressors on your brain can affect your fertility cycle. This is how stress can delay your ovulation or in severe cases, prevent you from ovulating at all.

Stress can cause fewer mature eggs available

Some studies point out the fact that women who were constantly stressed and anxious about their in-vitro fertilization had 20% fewer eggs that they could fertilize. Furthermore, the same studies showed that women who were highly concerned about missing work had 30% fewer eggs available to be fertilized.

Stress affects each woman differently

Stress is managed differently by each woman, so the set of reactions that stress generates in one woman may not be the same with the set of reactions it generates in another. Think about gaining or losing weight because of stress. While some persons gain a lot of weight in stressful periods of time, others lose weight significantly when faced with the same circumstances. One thing is for sure: stress is not healthy, especially for a future mom.

How to reduce stress

Figuring out when you ovulate might help you deal with stress and might increase your chances of getting pregnant, as it will give you back some control of your fertility cycle. Sometimes you have to try for several months in a row before getting pregnant.

Keep in mind that you only have a few fertile days during a cycle, so there is no need to stress out the whole month. If your fertile window has passed and you were unable to conceive, wait for it to come again the next month. Meanwhile, try some relaxation techniques instead of staying awake at night wondering what is wrong with you. You never know what a powerful mind can do.

Stay calm, cool & collected. And remember that 90% of couples with no underlying infertility issues will successfully fall pregnant within 18 months of trying. So let that reassuring statistic tame the stress demon.

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Dr. Prabha Sahgal, MD
Dr. Prabha Sahgal, MD | ConceiveEasy
Dr. Prabha Sahgal MD, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and subspecialty board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Sahgal holds a B.S. degree from MIT in molecular biology and currently serves on the ConceiveEasy board of directors.