Is stress linked to infertility?
Having trouble getting pregnant? Stress may be to blame, according to a new study that found stress, particularly around the time of ovulation, lowers a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
In fact, the researchers concluded that women who were dealing with extra stress while ovulating were forty percent less likely to get pregnant during that particular month, even after factoring in other variables like age and lifestyle.
“It is of course possible for a woman to conceive a child while under stress,” says Dr. Melissa Dennis, an obstetrician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “But it’s also possible that a great deal of stress can negatively affect ovulation, making it harder for a woman to become pregnant.”
The researchers speculated that stress could potentially influence the hypothalamus, part of the brain that releases hormones, which may prevent or disrupt signals to the ovaries to release eggs.
Not surprisingly, the study also found that women who did get pregnant had much higher stress levels at the end of their cycle.
“Stress can be common when trying to conceive a child and after finding out you’re expecting,” says Dr. Dennis. “Especially if you are having or have had trouble getting pregnant. Having a child is a big responsibility, and many parents have concerns about the baby’s health, their health, the birthing process and more.”
- Spend time with your partner: Talking to them about how you’re feeling is very important, and it’s just as beneficial to stay connected by planning fun activities you enjoy doing together.
- Take time to relax: Go to yoga, meditate or listen to music. Take time for yourself to do what you love.
- Stay in the moment: Waiting for pregnancy test results or for that big due date to arrive can be overwhelming. Make sure you’re appreciating what’s happening now as well as planning for the future.
- Exercise: Exercise is a natural stress reliever and great for your health.
- Reach out: Talk with a friend or family member who has experienced a similar situation or join a support group.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.