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Q&A: Can stress worsen fertility problems?

I'm having trouble getting pregnant, and it's starting to really stress me out. Is this going to make it even harder to conceive? How can I get the stress under control?

Re: I'm having trouble getting pregnant, and it's starting to really stress me out. Is this going to make it even harder to conceive? How can I get the stress under control?

The Bump Expert

Some fast facts about stress and infertility:

Infertility causes stress.

Stress is associated with lower pregnancy rates.

Stressed patients are more likely to drop out of therapy.

Interventions to decrease stress may increase pregnancy rates.

In other words, you're not alone. In general, women experiencing infertility report high levels of distress. In one study, 40% of women evaluated for distress prior to their first infertility clinic visit met the psychiatric criteria for anxiety, depression or both. And, in another study, women reporting high levels of anxiety and depression prior to starting infertility therapy were less likely to conceive than women who were calmer and happier at the beginning of their cycle.

Experimental intervention studies of mind/body programs including biofeedback, counseling, yoga, mild exercise and acupuncture suggest that pregnancy rates may be increased through amelioration of anxiety and depression. In severe cases, medications may also be necessary to treat anxiety and depression.

- Dr. Hill

TB Editors Note:

August 2010: As The New York Times recently reported, a new study published in the journal of Fertility and Sterility linked stress and infertility for the first time. In the study, women who stopped taking birth control and took longer to get pregnant actually showed high levels of the enzyme alpha-amalyse in their saliva, which is a known indicator of elevated stress. Read more about the study now.

Dr. Joseph Hill

Q&A: Can stress worsen fertility problems?

is hard not to think of it every month but i will tell u a litter study the happen to me.I been in this relationship for 5year and seen last year we decited it was time to have our baby and we star it every month i would take pregnancy test because of the stress of thinking i was my period will be late and that happen for the next 9 to 10 month.the stress got to me i star it getting mad at anything and everybody that make me and boyfriend went our separate ways.And we were separate for 3month and after the 3month we got back 2gether and i decide we were going to give the pregnancy a break and give eachother some more time not one month past by and we find out we were expecting now i'm 6month and we can't be more happy.Get something u like and star doing it put ur head into something else and u will get prego,good luck

yasunay |

Q&A: Can stress worsen fertility problems?

Here's the good and the bad, the bad is that stress can create problems, by upsetting your hprmone control centres HPA, HPT and HPG axes and is linked with Functional Hypothalamic Amenorhea (FHA) lack of periods but I guess it isn't that extreme in your case. The good news is that something as simple as a home self-hypnosis relaxation CD and aromatherapy massage (especially rose oil, which you can use in a home burner) can help. Emotional freedom techniques EFT and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are very useful if the first 2 don't ease the problem and remember it takes 2 of you and stress can affect both the quality and quantity of sperm, so I suggest he joins you in some relaxation therapies. Make sure you are getting your timing absolutely right before you start worrying too much. Your most fertile days are the 2 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation itself. His sperm can survive for up to 5-6 days but they need to be linked to ovulation, since your chances of getting pregnant on the day after ovulation are thought to be very poor. Get yourself a persona clearplan easy fertility monitor and combine it with cervical mucus monitoring (there is a site called beautifulcervix which will show you exactly what changes to look for) and you should be able to pinpoint your fertile phase/window very accurately. The main thing is not to worry too much and don't eat any foods containing soy/a. since as little as 100grams a day may be the equivalent to taking one contraceptive pill a day (check your diet) and you should be fine

richardv |

Q&A: Can stress worsen fertility problems?

My husband and I went through the initial baseline fertility testing. It was found that his count was low. He had just returned from a work trip when he was tested. He worked late, didn't get enough sleep or exercise, drank, didn't eat well and was stressed at making sure the project went of without a hitch. Two weeks later he was retested and everything was fine. In fact his count was great. We were amazed at the change in lifestyle impacted his his health incredibly. We began the injections and several IUI procedures later, we still had not conceived. The stress of making sure the injections were done the same time every day, the 2-3 visits to the IVF office for blood testing and exams, and the scheduling of intercourse took its toll. My mom was also diagnosed with colon cancer during this time. At my last visit to the IVF office, the doctor said I should think about using donor eggs. This was very upsetting to me as it was so casually said. That was my last visit. We decided to take a break and see if we could conceive naturally after the holidays and also discussed the possibility of adoption. If God wanted us to be parents, it would happen. I began to pray about it. We tried to eat right, get lots of sleep, exercise, cut out alcohol and coffee and had non-scheduled love making. Mom got a clean bill of health as well. We are expecting our 1st baby and our families 1st grandchild at the end of January 2010. The little one is kicking up a storm right now. Science could not give us what God intended, so do not give up hope. Just relax and enjoy the process. Sometimes the timing is not right for conception at the time we want. Focus on your spouse and love eachother. It will bring you closer and this will help in the future.

schnubby13 |

Q&A: Can stress worsen fertility problems?

I noticed one comment about watching your soy intake. I was a little concerned, as my husband and I are TTC, and we live in China. Our soy intake is, needless to say, pretty high. Then, I realized that everyone around me eats at least as much, if not more soy than me, and the Chinese women seem to be reproducing pretty well. :)

sarahboo50 |

Q&A: Can stress worsen fertility problems?

I'm not sure if it's stress thats my problem or what! My husband and I have been trying for over two years now... I've been tested and put on gluocaphe 2000mg a day. My husband has been tested and nothing wrong with him. My doctor told me to try and lose 15-20% of my body weight, which sounds so simple, but being beyond stressed that we still are having no luck, plus I just got promoted to a management position which is extremely stressful... (not to mention I work with 12 girls and 4 of them are pregnant which is frustrating that people who don't want them in the first place can have a million!) So of course I'm extremely emotional, depressed and just aggravated. I dont even know where to being to get my stress under control... when I'm upset all I want to do is sit in bed, cry and eat. It's a vicous cycle that I cant seem to stop! Someone help me! Any advice? Am I the only one that feels this way?

bri1074 |

Q&A: Can stress worsen fertility problems?

Normally I find that I am a stressed out person to begin with. I like to blame it on work, and my Italian/PR family lifestyle. I am the first born of 4 children and I am the one that everyone seems to count on when push comes to shove. Recently my mother had a stroke after an operation and to say the least it has been an emotional rollercoaster. Thank God she has recovered since , however she cannot drive yet. My Husband and I just bought our first home and we are in the last stages of prepping to move in, while we are waiting, we have lived with my family in the basement apartment. I come home and the first question is when are you getting food ready or can you run out to the store to get food... By the time I get to sit and relax it is time to sleep. My Husband and I have been TTC since June and with no luck. We are 25 and we have just been married this past March. For the past couple of months I have been trying to de-stress myself and try to eat a bit healthier as well as started taking my vitamins again. Hopefully trying to change my attitude and breathing a little more :) will benefit us in the end. I feel that once we move into the house and get settled it will happen for us. Keep faith my fellow Bumpies <3 xoxo

mrscheese15 |

Q&A: Can stress worsen fertility problems?

It's very stressful TTC. My husband and I have been trying for 10 months. I really didn't think this was so hard. To make matters worse, everyone around me is getting pregnant which adds to our frustration. My husband makes comments all the time about when am I going to give him a baby; he has two children from a previous marraige and I don't have any of my own. I'm 32 years old and the pressure is on. We both have been checked out and we're good. I've been taking pre-natal vitamins for 10 months and i'm eating super healthy...but I'm still not pregnant. The way I look at it is that it's not my time just yet. God has a plan and he will bless us w/ a child when he knows we can handle it. Stay positive and never give up!

gem23pr |

Q&A: Can stress worsen fertility problems?

I noticed one comment about watching your soy intake. I was a little concerned, as my husband and I are TTC, and we live in China. Our soy intake is, needless to say, pretty high. Then, I realized that everyone around me eats at least as much, if not more soy than me, and the Chinese women seem to be reproducing pretty well Pakar Seo

jr3074 |