Stress & Pregnancy: How To Keep Stress Levels Down While Trying to Conceive

Bethany Fortune Fertility Coaching stress and pregnancy  stress and fertility

When you’re stressed out about conceiving while also trying to get pregnant, it only becomes that much more difficult to overcome infertility. It’s completely understandable to be so stressed! On your fertility journey, you want to be doing everything right⁠, and that often means you end up obsessively following every how-to tip in the book instead of relaxing into the process of conceiving. Sometimes, it’s hard not to feel sad and overwhelmed. You’re not alone: I’ve been there on my own journey towards motherhood. 


Stress and fertility are inevitably linked. What happens in the body is this: as you feel your stress levels rising, your nervous system releases hormones like cortisol, giving you rapid heart rate and shallow breathing. Stress is so damaging that it can shut down reproductive activities in our bodies, which is why it’s no surprise that 25% of women with high levels of stress hormones have a harder time conceiving. That’s alarming when it’s proven that high stress leads to less successful IVF procedures


Stress triggers fight or flight, so much so that your body can’t tell the difference between a real threat and a psychological one. Your body then responds to the scarcity you feel, making it just that much more challenging to get pregnant. It’s proven by studies into stress and fertility: during times of war and famine, reproduction rates went down because the population was so stressed that many women found it more difficult to conceive. When we don’t feel safe, the part of our brain that feels fear is triggered, thereby kicking up the survival instincts that tell our bodies not to bring children into the world. 


As dire as it all sounds, this doesn’t have to be your reality. Mindset is just as important as eating the right foods or detoxing your home. It’s completely possible to reduce your stress levels and get on the right track towards fertility. 


Read on for my best tips on how to keep stress levels down while trying to conceive.


Do daily meditations and keep a regular yoga practice.

Meditation isn’t necessarily about quieting your thoughts or ignoring your reality. It’s way more focused on cultivating peace, clearing away overwhelm, and turning towards appreciation so you can feel happier emotions and focus on what’s working in your life. In general, meditation reduces stress, helps us accept negative emotions, guides us towards self-acceptance even in the midst of infertility, and helps you sleep better (which is super important when you’re trying to conceive!). But it’s also a life-changing practice for women struggling with infertility. 


When going through infertility, it’s not uncommon to blame yourself and feel profound guilt as you struggle to conceive your child. You’re not alone. I felt this way as I conceived my children, too. Meditation and mindfulness was a huge help along this journey.


Circle & Bloom has a great (and free!) meditation program that’s specifically focused on fertility, as well as a comprehensive library of programs to help you through IVF and guide you towards conceiving naturally. I spent a lot of time with these meditations and personally recommend them if you’re struggling through infertility, too.


Yoga can also serve as a life-changing, impactful practice that’s excellent for guiding you through the unique challenges of conceiving through infertility. Child’s pose, happy baby, and legs up the wall are great yoga poses to incorporate into your practice. Another way to reduce stress and stay connected to your partner through the process is doing yoga and meditation together, which can bring you both more peace through this process.


Give yourself plenty of self-care without apology.

Infertility can be one of the most difficult life challenges a couple ever faces. A key part of reducing your stress is not only in supporting one another but also by indulging in self-care and doing activities you enjoy. When you’re together, take time to do some of the things you enjoy together as a couple, even if it’s something as simple as making dinner together or going out to do something fun and spontaneous. 


When you take some much-needed you time, give yourself plenty of space to do things like take a relaxing bath, or simply taking a pause from the doctors appointments & IVF prep to simply be present today. Acupuncture is also a great self-care activity that can reduce your stress during your fertility journey, and it also serves as a great supplement to yoga and meditation.


I did acupuncture during & after all my successful IVF cycles and found that it greatly reduced my stress level. Studies definitely support acupuncture as a solid way to boost your chances of success at IVF. Some research even indicates that acupuncture done on the day of your procedure can seriously boost your chances of getting pregnant. To find a board-certified acupuncturist in your area, check out A.B.O.R.M. for more info.


Journaling is also a great way to give yourself love and kindness during your fertility journey. Each day, write out the things you are grateful for as part of a gratitude list. But feel free to also use this time to take an honest assessment of your life so that you can ease the pressure wherever possible by saying no to opportunities, people, or situations that cause you stress or take you away from inner peace. 


The key is to turn your focus towards other things outside of fertility so that you can not only have a balanced life but also reduce the stress that’s prolonging your infertility.


Work with a Fertility Coach.

If you find that even after all the Googling, doctor visits, and negative pregnancy tests that you’re in information overload (and still stressed about conceiving), working with a fertility coach may be the right path for you! I offer fertility coaching to women ready to move past the blocks that are keeping them from getting pregnant so they can have a smoother and more successful journey. From guidance on your diet, habits, and home products to curated coaching that helps you focus on what’s truly important on your fertility journey, I’m here to help! Read more about my fertility services here and schedule a discovery call here to learn more about what it’s like to work together.

Are you trying to get pregnant this year? Having a fertility coach’s expertise can provide physical, mental, and emotional support as you navigate infertility.

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