How many times have those who are trying to conceive heard these phrases?
“You’re trying too hard.” or “Relax and let things take their course”.
While these are often the last things we want to hear when struggling with fertility, a recent study has proven that we might want to heed this advice a little bit more. Evidence of stress negatively impacting fertility has long been observed, but in a study conducted by the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, the data is clear: women who experienced more stress during their ovulatory window were about 40% less likely to conceive than in months when they experienced less stress. Furthermore, women who reported feeling consistently stressed in their lives were about 45% less likely to conceive than women who experienced less overall stress.
This particular study involved a group of 400 women, all of reproductive age and sexually active (women over age 40 were excluded). They all kept daily journals, indicating on a scale of 1-4 just how much stress they were experiencing. Also included in their entries was information about menstruation, contraception, sexual activity, and caffeine and alcohol intake. This data was collected throughout the duration of the study, or until subjects became pregnant.
After adjusting for confounding variables such as age, body weight, frequency of intercourse, and alcohol intake, the researchers found overwhelming evidence that stress has a negative effect on conception and fertility.
So with this knowledge, what can you do if you’re experiencing a lot of stress while trying to conceive? It is probably best to look toward relaxation and self-care strategies. Find a creative outlet, try meditation, develop a daily self-care ritual, speak to a counselor, or try receiving relaxing treatments such as acupuncture, massage, or bodywork.