No woman who has been trying to get pregnant for over a year wants to be told to “just relax, and it will happen”. Infertility is usually caused by specific medical reasons, and attending a yoga class sure won’t cure blocked fallopian tubes or make your husband’s sperm count! But does a relaxed attitude increase your chances of getting pregnant when you’re trying for a baby the natural way, or with the help of fertility treatments?
Relaxation and pregnancy – what do studies show?
Most scientific studies examining conceiving and stress specifically look at the affect of stress on fertility treatments. Most of those studies concluded there is no link between high stress levels and the chances of fertility treatment succeeding, though some research did find that there are women who actually stop having IVF because the stress of it was too much for them. One Israeli study did find that women undergoing invitro fertilization were more likely to get pregnant if they had a medical clown entertain them right after the embryo transfer. Does the very thought of that sound creepy to anyone else, too?
Women with no fertility problems may see changes in their menstrual cycles if they are under a lot of stress. Those who lead a high-stress lifestyle may adapt, but sudden stressful events could delay ovulation. This is true regardless of whether the pressure a woman experiences is positive or negative. In some cases, a woman may even be really stressed because she is stressing about how to get pregnant! All of these examples could decrease a woman’s chances of getting pregnant in the short term.
Link between stress and chances of getting pregnant
Long-term links between high stress levels and the chances of getting pregnant are less clear. One thing is certain, though — feeling stressed all the time is not good for anyone. Stress can give you hypertension, tense muscles, stomach upsets, sleep problems… and it can kill your libido, too. Anyone who is under a lot of stress and feeling the consequences deserves to take action that will them feel better. A person’s mental and physical health will improve when stress levels drop. There’s a small chance that feeling happier will increase your chances of conceiving. When you do get pregnant, your baby will be grateful to have a relaxed mom!
Olivia writes about fertility, pregnancy and beyond at Trying To Conceive. Whether you are stressed or not, you will benefit from their free ovulation calendar if you are hoping for a baby.
Picture: Thomas Leth-Olsen