The Link Between Stress And Getting Pregnant
Infertility can be an emotional journey. Studies have found that women who struggle with fertility experience the same psychological toll as women who have been diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or are recovering from a heart attack. However, there is a link between excess stress and the ability to get pregnant. Here are 4 tips for reducing anxiety to improve fertility.
1. Talk things out
Expressing emotions can go a long way in reducing stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that a healthy social support system has positive effects on stress reduction. Additionally, couples dealing with infertility may want to consider talk therapy. Speaking with a therapist can help with reframing negative thought patterns, such as using always or never statements or placing blame on each other.
2. Exercise the right amount
Most people know that getting enough exercise is essential for good health. Exercise boosts endorphins, helps with weight maintenance, and, for many people, is a stress reliever. Women struggling with getting pregnant, however, should be aware of not overdoing exercise.
In regards to fertility, there is such a thing as too much exercise. Over-exercising can place undue stress on the body, making pregnancy more difficult. Experts recommend that women who are trying to get pregnant exercise at moderate intensity.
3. Treat food as medicine
During times of stress, people can feel tempted to reach for overly processed, sugary foods. However, feeding the body unhealthy foods can perpetuate the cycle of stress. Relaxing with a favorite comfort food every once in a while isn’t always bad, but people should have other coping mechanisms to fall back on besides eating.
Additionally, cut back on caffeine and other stimulants. People who struggle with anxiety will know that too much caffeine adds to a jittery stress state in the body. Sensitivity to caffeine can vary. In general, most people should keep caffeine intake under 400 milligrams (mg) per day.
4. Find the mind/body connection
Researchers don’t know exactly how yoga and meditation work to reduce stress, but anecdotal evidence has shown positive results. Yoga and meditation both aim to bring an awareness of the mind/body connection. In some cases, studies have shown that yoga can be as beneficial for depression and anxiety as antidepressant medications.
There is hope
1 in 8 couples in the US struggles with infertility. Though fertility challenges can be stressful, couples can employ some practical strategies to reduce stress and improve chances of getting pregnant. Couples struggling with infertility can speak with a healthcare provider about treatment options for improving fertility.