Fertility and Stress
on Dec 16, 2012
by Regina Ledoux, RN, CNM
Stress can indeed cause infertility. Find out all the ways how, and what you can do to become more stress-free.
Despite the popular belief that stress and infertility are not linked, I am here to set the story straight. Unfortunately, they do. How many of you have heard such things as…
“Stop worrying about it and it will happen!”
“Do not stress it, things will come together.”
“Stop trying so hard. You are causing yourself stress. Just let it happen.”
These seem to be the popular and more beat around the bush way of informing you that you are making it harder on yourself by adding the stress. No one wants to tell the couple that is having fertility problems that they are bringing them on themselves. It is just rude and usually sparks an argument. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here
However, studies have shown that they are right. Let it just happen, remove the stress in the situation and allow time for things to happen on their own. A study performed on mice showed that those that were put under prenatal stress had lower conception rates, weighed less, and had less “young.” The stress caused hormone imbalances during a critical stage of development causing fertility dysfunctions. Since mice seem to have almost identical reproductive systems as a human female, this science is used to make the calls that are made in science for you or I.
Based off another study, up to 30% of infertilities are due to stress in the female. One of the ways that this can be affected by stress is through ovulation. Some women stress to the point of hormonal imbalances which pushes off your menstrual cycle, thus throwing off your ovulation. We have all been late before and chopped it up to “I’m so stressed” but then want to turn around and say stress has no impact on fertility, but if you really think about it, stress affects your cycle, without your cycle you cannot get pregnant.
Another study performed at the University of California San Diego states that women who were having In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) that were stressed upon coming in to have the eggs removed from them had less viable eggs removed compared to those that came in calm and relaxed who had more success with eggs and conception.
There is no logical reason, or scientific one for that matter, that directly links stress and fertility, but studies can prove it is linked. Stress has different effects on different people, but most females who stress excessively have a harder time getting pregnant, or carrying a full term healthy pregnancy.
I speak from experience, and believe me, many times after I began full time college and full time work in my early 20’s I would attribute that skipped period to lack of sleep, cramming for finals, and busting my tail at work. It was so stressful it became unreal. But within 2 months of going part time at work and a month into a new semester with one less class, I was pregnant with my first child. I was in denial due to the previous stress pushing off my period that I could not believe it until 2 months into the pregnancy I still had not had a period. I was stress free and pregnant. I loved every minute of my stress free pregnancy.
So that crazy friend that does not have kids that tells you to “Relax honey, it will happen,” maybe she isn’t all wrong. Take some time to let things calm down and then try again.
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Ms. Ledoux began her career as an ObGyn nurse practitioner prior to becoming a practicing midwife in the Santa Cruz community. Working together with ObGyn physicians in her own practice, she has over 20 years experience in women's health, pregnancy and childbirth.