Different women react to stress differently, so it can be very challenging to know how and why it impacts fertility. Studies show that there’s a significant link that the two is somehow related. Doctors conducted a series of comparisons between stressed women who could not conceive between women who easily fall pregnant.
Here are the findings from the Human Reproduction Journal: ‘Pregnancy was much more likely to occur during months when couples reported feeling “good”, happy and relaxed. It was less likely to occur during the months they reported feeling tense or anxious. Also, of those who were able to ovulate, those who were most stressed were 20% less likely to achieve fertilisation success.’
Is Stress Affecting Your Fertility?
Two decades ago, infertility rates were approximately only 15%, today the rates are between 30-40%. Our bodies aren’t any different, but our stress levels are extremely high. Women today are more stressed than they were 20 years ago!
If you’re trying to conceive and you’re under a lot of stress, the cervical fluid might be sending you a warning that there’s something wrong. Rather than noticing increased cervical fluid (discharge) as you approach ovulation, you might find patches of wetness interspersed with dry days. It’s as if your body is trying to ovulate, but the stress continues to delay it from happening.
So while stress may impact near the time you ovulate, it won’t necessarily mess with your chances of a successful pregnancy, as long as you know how to identify when ovulation is about to occur by charting your cervical fluid.
Acupuncture to reduce stress from affecting your fertility
While it may take some time before the route between stress and infertility is well defined, right now it helps in reducing stress levels which has a big impact on infertility. A couple of studies in this area show that, for many women, acupuncture is the answer.
There was a study conducted in Germany and published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility, where women who enrolled in an infertility program underwent acupuncture treatments before and after an embryo transfer.
The result: 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.
“I don’t think we know if acupuncture actually reduces stress but it may help counterbalance some of the effects of stress on the reproductive system,” says Grifo, who indicates that at least three acupuncture studies thus far have proven its benefits on fertility.
Other ways of reducing Stress:
- Take a much needed break or holiday. This can give us the much needed stress relief we are looking for, even if temporarily.
- Try meditation. This has been shown to dramatically decrease stress levels. 10-20 minutes a day can make a huge impact.
- Try getting to bed at a reasonable hour. When we get adequate good quality sleep, it can help us stay relaxed at work.
- Try yoga, walking or swimming. Light exercises can help our breathing and reduce anxiety.
- Make sure you drink at least 2-2.5L of water a day. This keeps our cells and brains hydrated and keep us from feeling anxious and stressed. (Our brain and body is 70% water)