Stress and Infertility: How To Break The Cycle


How Do Stress and Infertility Affect You

It is no secret that trying to have a baby can be stressful. Not being able to conceive causes tons of anxiety on both parties involved. But there has been recent talk about how infertility might be a result of stress in your life. The talk continues and one can’t help but wonder, which causes which?
There have been times in my life when I have tried almost everything to break away from stress and feel better when trying to have a baby. I have gone from healthy meals, such as including sunflower flax in my diet, to yoga and exercise, but sometimes it isn’t enough to tone down the frustration of not being able to conceive.
Let’s talk about infertility and stress, but most importantly, what you need to know about each and how to break the inevitable cycle.

Stress and Effect on Fertility

When you feel the most worried, perhaps there is a lot going on in your life, you will most likely not be able to conceive. During these times, our bodies release adrenaline, and it is this hormone that signals our bodies to know it is not the right time to get pregnant.
Too much adrenaline prevents our bodies to make enough of the progesterone hormone, which is essential for fertility. Stress also affects the pituitary gland, making it release higher levels of prolactin, furthering infertility even more.

But… Does Stress Release Cause Infertility?

Well, yes and no. While you being stressed doesn’t advance your search to conceive, it is likely that your own desire to become a parent is causing you more stress.
So, here is how it works: when you become stressed out, you release higher than normal levels of adrenaline, catecholamines, and cortisol, and these prevent you from releasing the main hormone in fertility, gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH).
This is the case for both men and women. While women may not ovulate properly, men will end up with a reduced sperm count. As you can imagine, if both parties are worried, their libido and sex drive will not be the same.
The thing most people tend to ignore is that the environment where babies are conceived matters for the health of the mother and the fetus. If you are lucky enough to get pregnant even while stressed, if you continue to do be so, the pregnancy can be risky.

Which Causes Which?

There is no real answer to which causes which, but it is a fact that stress and infertility are correlated. Here’s usually how the cycle works:
• You want to have a baby, but the idea of not being able to get pregnant makes you worried.
• Once you decide to try, having sex becomes more of a duty and less of a fulfilling activity with your partner.
• As time goes by, you both become more and more worried about not being successful, this worry causes tension and will likely reduce your desire to be with one another.
• In order to seek relief, you are more likely to binge eat, or drink, while both lower your sex drive and fertility.
• Stress and infertility mix together and in the end the environment won’t be conducive to having a baby.

How Can I Reduce Stress While I Keep Trying to Have a Baby?

It’s easier said than done, but there are some ways you can break the inevitable cycle of stress and infertility. Sometimes, even the smaller things can help.

#1. Find the Right Time

As with most things, timing is everything. When you are not feeling well in your life, whether it is because of something personal, professional or emotional, then you should come clean to your partner about not feeling ready to have a baby.
Keep in mind that even if you feel ready, you might not be. In the end, your body is telling you something when you feel sad, anxious, angry or frustrated. This may be an alarm to signal that it is not the right time to try and conceive. Find ways to solve your life issues first, talk to your family, your partner, your boss, or whoever can help, and give yourself a mental break to get around the idea of such a big step.

#2. Work on Your Reactions

If you are likely to stress out easily, then trying conceiving is the absolute worst scenario for you. If you want to be a mom or a dad, then you need to work on yourself first.
Make a list of triggers, whether it is something at home, or at work, that makes you feel anxious. Then make a list on the side of your emotions to it. And lastly, make a list of how you usually react to these. If you see that most times you are reacting badly, it will be a sign of much needed change.
It is not easy to change how we behave and react. Some people do yoga to treat infertility, others change their routine and exercise might work. Try finding a coping method that works better, perhaps a walk, writing, drawing, and then come back to the situation.

#3. Change Your Habits

When you want to have a baby, change is necessary. Diet is an essential part of this, eat healthy, drink less, exercise more. Try eating things that will benefit your body, without added chemicals and toxins, and that will induce fertility.
Do more exercise to clear your head and to be fit. Sleep more and get some real rest, whether by meditating, lying in bed, or relaxing by the sun.

#4. Talk to Your Partner

Always, always, always talk to each other. No matter what stage of conceiving you’re in, communication is key. If you can’t talk because both of you tend to overreact or misunderstand each other, try calming down and then writing what is going on to each other.
Also talk about the process, if something is bothering you, it may bother your partner too. This is a cooperative process and avoiding stress is a job for both of you.
I hope you find these useful, but know that these options vary for everyone The end goal is to start the process when you feel ready and calm. If you feel anxious, your body is not going to allow you to conceive.
Once you are trying, find space for each other. Alone time is essential to think and process. Talk and work together, both of you might be more stressed than you think.


About Author

Chidinma Zee

Chidinma is the founder of Fruitful Kitchen [], a blog that shares delicious recipes and lifestyle tips. Most of her recipes help women with fertility issues, especially fibroids, PCOS, and Endometriosis. Sometimes, however, you will find other interesting recipes, as well as cooking tips and tricks there.


  1. Pingback: How to Improve Fertility & Get Pregnant Naturally | GoMama 24/7

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