How Stress Can Affect Your Fertility

Updated: April 10, 2023 | Published:

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for some time now, you’re going to be stressed about it, to say the least. While some people experience severe stress levels and anxiety, others may experience stress as an infinitesimally small part of their undying hope and optimism for the future.

When you are amid several failed conceptions through your first, second, or third pregnancy, it is easier for people around you to take a second and say, ‘Just relax!’, but your anxiety and stress are understandable and need to be dealt with appropriately.

It may not be easy, but you need to deal with your stress because it can be more problematic than cathartic when it comes to your fertility. Though it’s a long-standing debate whether stress causes infertility or not, stress can lead to other health implications that may directly or indirectly affect your reproductive health. So you may find that it’s like an infinite loop – what is causing you stress is becoming worse because of your stress levels. And that’s not good.

Later in this article, you will read more about a few tips and tricks to ease the stress and break the loop to give yourself a chance at conception.

What Is Stress?

Stress is any recurring set of thoughts that can disturb the normal state of your mind. Though a little bit of stress is good to keep you motivated and work hard, undertaking unhealthy amounts of chronic stress can be dangerous, both mentally and physically.

What Causes Stress?

There could be many factors affecting your mental peace and pushing you towards chronic stress levels. Some may be external and unrelated to pregnancy, while others may be because of failed pregnancies. Factors that can cause chronic stress levels are:

  • Accident or injury
  • Life-threatening disease
  • Loss of a dear one
  • Inability to conceive
  • Relationship issues
  • Financial issues
  • Miscarriage
  • Health issues
  • Loss of sexual intimacy with a partner
  • Failed IVF cycles

And many more. These are some of the predominant ones that most people who are undergoing stress in some form or the other can probably relate to. 

What Happens When You’re Under Stress?

Being under stress can push individuals towards developing unhealthy habits and other related health disorders, including:

  1. Fatigue And Oversleeping Or Sleep Deprivation

When you’re under mental stress, you always feel tired and drained out. Your mind is not fresh and is unable to rejuvenate the other parts of your body. Hence you feel at a loss of energy at all times. You may also experience erratic sleep cycles, where you either sleep too much or too little. In both cases, your body is being pushed towards disruption and can make getting pregnant very difficult.

  1. Overeating or Not Eating Enough

Each person’s way of handling stress differs. While some people may indulge in eating more than they should or eating junk food for comfort, others may feel a partial or complete loss of appetite altogether. When you start overeating, your body produces more androgens than it can handle. This puts a lot of load on the ovaries, and they may not ovulate. When you’re malnourished or undereating, it leads to hormonal imbalances in your body, which can cause severe ovulatory disruptions.

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  1. Consume Alcohol or Start Smoking

Alcohol and smoking work like extremely dangerous crutches for most people under stress. Consuming alcohol and smoking lead to problems in the ovulation process and can lead to infertility in women. The nicotine in cigarettes and other vaping devices can also affect your fertility.

  1. Hormonal Imbalances

Stress causes disruptions in an individual’s normal state of mind. It can also damage or disturb the part of the brain that is responsible for releasing essential reproductive hormones. For example, high-stress levels lead to an increase in cortisol levels. Any change in your cortisol levels due to stress can disrupt your menstrual cycle and lead to infertility.

Increasing stress levels also drive the secretion of a specific enzyme, called alpha-amylase, in your saliva. Women with higher levels of this enzyme may take 29 percent longer to get pregnant than those with lower alpha-amylase levels.

  1. Low Sex Drive

When you’re under constant stress, your mind is preoccupied with thoughts all the time. You cannot garner the energy or the interest to indulge in any sexual activity or intercourse with your partner. Your mood swings and irritability may also create tension between your spouse and you. Since you do not have sex, your chances of getting pregnant are automatically lower.

How Can You Work On Your Stress?

To work positively towards improving your mental and fertility health, you can start with practicing the below exercises.

  • Stay Positive

Teach your mind to harbor positive and happy thoughts and to not give negative thoughts too much space in your mind. Let go of the thoughts that disrupt the tranquility of your mind.

  • Eat A Healthy Meal

A healthy body and a healthy mind are interconnected. If you eat a well-balanced meal, you will not only feel fit physically but mentally too. Your body weight and metabolism will be in check, which will make you feel happier and lower your stress levels.

  • Sleep Well

Sleep may not be a direct cause of stress, but it can worsen your stress levels by disturbing your mind. Therefore, sleeping well can make you feel physically and mentally fresh and ready to take on life’s challenges.

  • Meditate

Not many people understand the true power and influence of meditation on your mind. Meditating helps your mind become calmer and stronger. It can be a beneficial exercise for stress reduction and positivity.

  • Journal Your Thoughts

Sometimes keeping your mind filled with negative or disturbing thoughts can be painful and difficult to deal with. Journaling often helps in releasing those thoughts and shifting them to another space that is not your brain. It works like a vent, and you can later revisit those thoughts with a better frame of mind.

Your fertility health may be at a risk because of several commonly known and lesser-known factors. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, it’s not necessary that your blood reports may always reflect the underlying reasons.

Visiting a fertility center, like Archish IVF, can help you identify the factors that are possibly prolonging your chances of getting pregnant. The fertility specialists at Archish IVF will try to get an in-depth understanding of you and your partner before they can conclude the appropriate treatment for you. Take one step towards understanding your body and see how it gives back in more ways than one.


About Amy T. Smith

Amy is a mother, writer, and your go-to expert for real-life insights into parenting, health, and lifestyle. Amy holds a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University and prides herself on finding actionable tips and relatable tales.

Through her blog, AmyandRose, she supports you from pregnancy to the teenage years, offering assurance that your experiences are shared.

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