If you have been trying to conceive for a while, you’ve likely had at least one well-meaning friend telling you to relax and not stress, as it will happen when the time is right. Although they always mean well, comments like this do pretty much the opposite and leave us feeling infuriated! So are there any ways to reduce stress levels when trying to conceive that actually work?
Well, Yes, there are. But before we get into that, we must also acknowledge that feeling stressed and anxious is completely normal when trying to conceive. When we can recognise this, we can take action and do something to help reduce stress levels and claim back some calm in our lives.
The impact of stress on fertility
Anyone struggling with infertility knows the monthly emotional rollercoaster that goes with trying for a baby. Every month and cycle comes a range of emotions, from anxiety and expectation to disappointment. Anyone on a long fertility journey has likely experienced experiencing more than their fair share of hope and fear. It’s understandably hard for anyone to endure.
If you’ve been feeling stressed and anxious for a long time, it can affect your chances of getting pregnant. Stress affects the part of your brain responsible for hormone regulation (including your menstrual cycle). This can cause you to ovulate later than expected or even not at all. Also, feelings of stress and anxiety can reduce your libido, taking away any joy left in trying to conceive. Not to mention further reducing your chances of getting pregnant if you are having sex less often as a result!
More seriously, extended infertility can lead to depression, anxiety, and sadness. Some studies have shown that these may adversely affect your overall health and fertility. Whilst we aim to give you some stress-reducing pointers below. We encourage anyone feeling their mental health is negatively affected by their struggle to conceive to connect with fertility support groups, like the Hoopsy fertility community or a healthcare professional.
How to reduce stress
So, here are our top five tips on reducing stress when trying for a baby:
- Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of calm. Setting aside a few minutes each day to practice these techniques can have a positive impact on your overall well-being and may even improve your chances of conceiving.
- Focus on self-care: Taking care of yourself is essential, especially when trying to conceive. Make time for activities that you enjoy, such as reading a book, taking a relaxing bath, or going for a walk and light exercise. Engaging in these activities can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being.
- Talk to your partner: Trying to conceive can be challenging for both halves of the couple. Communicating openly and honestly with your partner about your feelings, concerns, and fears is so important. Although it can be a hard conversation to have, it can promote a sense of closeness and support as well as lower stress levels.
- Seek support: Having a support system during this time is important. This can include family, friends, or a support group for couples trying to conceive. Talking to others going through a similar experience can help reduce stress and provide you with a sense of community.
- Take a break: Sometimes, taking a break can be helpful in reducing stress. This could mean taking a break from trying to conceive for a few months or taking a break from thinking about it altogether. Focusing on other aspects of your life, such as work or hobbies, can also help and promote a sense of balance.
Infertility is one of the most difficult issues an individual or a couple can face.
A small amount of stress is expected when dealing with fertility issues. However, when that stress turns chronic, it can damage your health and happiness and contribute to underlying causes of infertility.
There are many ways to reduce stress, and we hope you found our suggestions helpful. Finding a stress-reducing activity that is right for you will help you through the most difficult days.
People coping with stress whilst trying to conceive should not hesitate to discuss their feelings with their healthcare provider. Don’t forget, the new Hoopsy fertility community is also live and full of helpful advice and support.