By Dr. Stefanie Trowell, ND
Stress doesn’t cause infertility, but it sure doesn’t make conceiving any easier. Having someone tell you to “reduce your stress” isn’t helpful because it doesn’t provide you with any practical solutions or tell why it’s important to make those changes. So how does stress impact your chances of conceiving? I’m so glad you asked! Let me break it down for you:
🧨Stress stimulates cortisol to be release into bloodstream telling the body to prepare for “fight or flight.”
👉🏻Hormonal signals from brain tell ovaries “now is not the time to make babies”
👉🏼Ovaries produce less estrogen
👉🏽Less follicles / eggs are stimulated for maturation
👉🏾Ovulation may or may not happen (depending on how nutritional status, age and other factors)
👉🏿 Reduced progesterone produced by follicle remaining after ovulation (combined with low estrogen means that the uterine lining is often poorer quality)
Now what do we do with this information? I’ve got you covered there too!
❗️Put your mind at ease. Feeling stress is normal. The first step in minimizing its effects on your hormones is in how you interpret that “stressor” or stressed feeling. We want you to feel capable and that you can beat anything that life puts in front of you. One of my favourite methods is by taking some slow, deep breaths. This helps you shift out of the “fight or flight” reaction and into a more balanced, clear-thinking space.
❗️Work stress out. We don’t want the downstream metabolites from cortisol to have on-going influence on our hormones and state of mind, so gentle exercise like walking can help us work these out of our muscles and clear them from our bodies. If you find you’re at the end of the day and have no time or energy to exercise, progressive muscle contraction and relaxation can also help your body reset.
❗️Take steps toward your goal. While the big goal is obviously “to have a healthy baby,” we want to focus on things that are within your control. Are you eating nutritious foods? Do you get at least 8hrs of rest? These are smaller goals which help create a strong foundation for conception and the big goal to occur. The best part about these smaller goals is that you can check them off each day and feel that you are successfully taking actions. Your belief in your own capabilities are vital for combatting the stress of making a baby.
If you found this information helpful and would like to learn more, click the link below to speak to our very own @dr_trowell. She has nearly a decade’s worth of experience in reproductive health and is passionate about helping women with practical and evidence-based solutions to achieve their fertility goals.