Periconception tip #7 of of the 10 periconception tips that will help you improve your pregnancy chances and have a healthy baby:
Relax, relax, relax
People used to believe that stress increases the risk of infertility, but the advances in infertility treatments especially IVF in-vitro fertilization seemed to have done away with that idea.
More recently, however, doctors are once more looking to the idea that stress may actually play a role in up to 1 in 3 cases of all infertility problems.
Obviously, if the cause of your infertility are your fallopian tubes which are affected and prevent the sperm and the egg from joining, stress has nothing to do with this.
But more recent studies show that stress, especially when it comes to ovulation issues or “unexplained infertility” may play a larger role in conception than previously thought.
When stress-reduction techniques are employed, something happens in some women that allows them to get pregnant when they couldn't get pregnant before.
Hormones like cortisol or epinephrine which rise and often remain high during times of chronic stress may play a key role.
Different women may respond to stress in different ways and may impact fertility in different ways.
While doctors may not know the exact links between stress and fertility, a series of studies shows the impact is hard to ignore.
In one study doctors compared pregnancy rates in couples that reported being stressed and those who were not and they found Pregnancy was much more likely to occur during months when couples reported feeling happy and relaxed and it was less likely to occur during the months they reported feeling tense or anxious.
The effects of stress are more likely to be observed in the up to nearly 40-50% of couples with “unexplained infertility, when there is no clear reason for infertility can be found.
Moreover, doctors say often the stress of actually undergoing infertility treatments can be so great it can stop even the most successful procedures from working.
Overcoming stress when you cannot get pregnant
It seems to be true that stress affects infertility though we are not sure exactly how.
In a German study infertile women had acupuncture treatments just prior to and just after an embryo transfer into the uterus and compared to women who did not have the acupuncture treatment, those who did had a significantly higher rate of pregnancy 42.5% compared with 26.3% in the group not having acupuncture.
Other studies have found that massage may reduce infertility stress. In research published in the International Journal of Neuroscience in 2004, doctors found that massage therapy worked to decrease the body's physical signals of stress, including heart rate and brain waves.
Some infertility centers refer women for foot reflexology to reduce stress.
Stress may impact your body by interfering with normal ovulation and may reduce sperm production in men. Lower stress levels may mean better female and male natural fertility. If you are under a lot of stress, try alternative methods to decrease stress such as:
- stress management programs
- other relaxation techniques