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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?

Hi all! Stress certainly can be linked to infertility! When you are stressed, your body has to borrow hormones from other places to be able to cope with stress (create cortisol). Most often, the reproductive hormones are affected first. When your body is in this state, it is not thinking "now would be a good time to make a baby," it is thinking "gee, I better do what I can to deal with the stress!" Luckily, there are things that you can do to naturally to get your hormones back in balance... because our bodies want to be able to procreate - they were designed to procreate, and if given the right tools and care, they will do just that. As a Holistic Health Counselor, I have helped women to achieve this balance and get pregnant. If you are interested, visit www.getbalancedwellness.com.

JaclynDowns |