A relationship between stress and fertility really does exist. About 40 percent of women with fertility problems were clinically diagnosed as being anxious or depressed while trying to conceive naturally over a prolonged period of time.
Stress and Fertility
Stress-related factors were in place for these women even before they began undergoing medical treatment for infertility. Dr. Laurence A. Jacobs – Medical Director of Fertility Center of Illinois – is of the professional opinion that a woman’s inability to become pregnant naturally is an enormous reason she becomes stressed, anxious, and depressed before even beginning infertility treatment. A high level of stress plays a significant role in reducing a woman’s chances of conceiving even when the physical cause of her infertility has been diagnosed and medically treated.
Research continues to confirm a direct link between infertility and stress, anxiety, and depression. When a woman is stressed out, she may adopt unhealthy lifestyle options as coping mechanisms.
- Binge drinking
- Avoidance of sex
- Avoidance of intimacy
Chronic Stress and Ovulation
Chronic stress adversely affects a woman’s natural ovulation by altering signals to the hypothalamus. This is the center of the brain regulating hormones that trigger the ovaries to release eggs each month.
Women who are subjected to consistent stress will ovulate less regularly. This makes it difficult to pinpoint their fertility window. Stress may also affect testosterone levels in men. Some research has shown that a man’s sperm production can be adversely affected.
Stress has also been linked to an egg’s ability to be fertilized and an embryo’s ability to implant in a woman’s uterine lining. Compared to women who were not in a stressed state, studies have shown that women undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with anxiety had fewer eggs retrieved and fewer embryos implanted successfully.
Reducing Stress to Enhance Fertility
- Massage therapy
- Acupuncture therapy
- Get more quality sleep
- Experience intimacy without sex
- Have sex for fun and not just baby making
- Journal your feelings
- Seek help from a therapist or joint a support group
More Helpful Fertility Resources
Discover more helpful fertility resources by contacting the experts at Fertility Center of Illinois. Click the icon below to schedule your consultation with Dr. Laurence Jacobs – or – call 888.325.7389.