Stress and conception

Attempting to get pregnant comes with many challenges. Around 1 in 7 couples report having difficulty in conceiving and only around 84% of couples actually get pregnant within a year of having regular unprotected sex.

There are a number of different reasons why you might not be able to conceive after actively trying which can range from age, alcohol intake and weight. But did you know that stress and conception are also linked?

Here we look at how your stress levels can affect conception, and look at some ways to overcome stress for a successful pregnancy.

The Role of Stress

Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain in which the body responds both emotionally and physically. When the body is exposed to a threat or is exposed to excess pressure the body thinks it is under attack and therefore switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode.

This leads to a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine being released which help to prepare the body for physical action.

How Are Stress and Conception Linked?

The menstrual cycle is controlled by hormone signals in the brain and each month the ovaries release an egg after it has matured – this is known as ovulation. The egg enters into the fallopian tube and down to the uterus where it will be ready for fertilisation.

However, stress can interfere with these monthly hormonal shifts and can cause regular patterns and signalling to go off track. This can lead to abnormal cycles and therefore difficulty in conceiving.

In 2018 a study revealed that women who reported feeling more stressed during their ovulatory window were approximately 40% less likely to conceive compared to other less stressful months.

Natural Ways To Beat Stress

Although reducing stress levels isn’t an overarching cure for infertility, there are a number of things that could help. Meditation is one way to reduce stress levels. But also consider taking more regular exercise, or perhaps try holistic therapies like acupuncture, massage therapy or foot reflexology.

All of these methods aim to counterbalance some of the negative effects of stress on the body, in particular, the reproductive system without depending on pharmaceutical interventions.

Fertility Health Checks

If you are concerned about stress and conception, SureScan offers fertility health checks for individuals or couples struggling to get pregnant. One of our dedicated consultant gynaecologists will give you the opportunity to discuss any questions you or your partner might have in a calm and relaxing environment.

If you would like more information then don’t hesitate to get in touch and book a consultation.