How does stress affect fertility?
What is stress?
Stress is not inherently bad. Just some monsters in our happy palace attacking the good people in it, named happiness.
In simple terms, stress refers to emotional or physical tension. It is the inability to cope up with emotional or mental pressure and the feeling of being overwhelmed due to these.
Worldwide, 33% people report suffering from extreme stress that affects their wellbeing & health. Among these are:
- 77% people are those who experience stress that affects their physical health.
- In 73% people, stress impacts their mental health.
- 48% people have trouble sleeping due to stress.
Causes of stress:
- Work life
- Family responsibilities
- Relationship issues
- Job stability
- Personal health issues
- Personal safety
Though medical researchers are yet to confirm how stress makes pregnancy difficult, but it is also true that stress can cause complications in pregnancy and fertility.
Major impacts of stress on fertility
Often, women who face problems like infertility are reported with higher levels of stress.
Yet, it has been seen that women suffering from infertility never really discuss this issue and are later reported with problems like anxiety, depression, isolation, mood swings and loss of self-control. Despite the high prevalence of infertility (1 in every 8 couples deal with infertility), couples do not share their problems and stories of sufferings with any of their peer mates or even experts at times. This largely affects their mindset which leads to the increment in their psychological vulnerability leading to immense emotional turmoil.
Science behind stress and infertility
Studies have found that stress directly impacts a woman’s ability to get pregnant. Moreover, women dealing with infertility tend to be less involved with their partners during sex. Finding escape through smoking, drinking alcohol, consuming caffeine hardly helps- rather it adds more to their already existing troubles of infertility.
In the initial time period, it is the ovulation problem, low sperm count or blockage in the fallopian tubes behind infertility. But as the days proceed and conception does not happen, stress makes the entry into the picture.
In a large Danish study of 42,000 women who underwent ART treatment and were
screened for depression before treatment, 35% screened positive. In another recent study of 174 women undergoing infertility treatment, 39% met the criteria for major depressive disorder.
Impacts of stress on pregnancy outcomes
Infertility specialists worldwide believe that stress-related factors can highly alter the success rate of pregnancy. The more distressed a woman is during her treatment, the lower is her pregnancy success. High levels of stress during pregnancy can lead to higher blood pressure and heart diseases as well. Stress may also result in higher chances of having a premature baby (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy), a low birth-weight baby (weighing less than 5 pounds) or a baby with birth defects. With its adverse effects on one’s eating habits; you may either eat too much or too little. These habits can thereafter cause gestational diabetes and preterm labour. Stress can also affect a woman’s self-control and how she s to certain situations. Many women choose to smoke and take drugs that can have serious health implications for them as well as their babies. And if the stress happens at an uncontrollable level, then it can result in miscarriage as well.
Dealing with stress during pregnancy
Now, this has to be understood that pregnancy may cause certain discomfort but that does not last forever. The best way to begin the process of stress management during the reproductive journey is by seeking guidance from an experienced obstetrician & gynecologist.
Few easy ways of dealing with stress are as follows:
- Stay healthy
- Be physically fit
- Eat well
- Stay hydrated
- Get plenty of sleep
- Practice exercise and yoga
- Try relaxing activities like meditation
- Get childbirth education from experts
- Get involved with like-minded people and discuss productive things
- Have a supportive friend circle
- Don’t feel depressed and anxious
- Seek help from experts
A woman’s fertile health will only be good when the stress is minimal. Ways should be searched for by the to-be-mother and her family to keep the stress at the minimum and seeking medical help should be the key in the whole process. Mentioned below are some of the stress-reducing activities that pregnant women and infertility patients should look for:
- Collaboration with stress management experts
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Self-help books
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Listening to music
Dealing with stress becomes a tough situation at times, and hence, it is important to seek professional help. The best and real remedy is to get connected with an experienced obstetrician & gynecologist who can treat stress well. At Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad we provide you with the best obstetricians & gynecologists in Delhi NCR deal with your stress issues during pregnancy. Dr. Shashi Arora, HOD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dr. Jyotsana Agarwal, Senior Consultant & Dr. Aparna Arya Tyagi, Consultant, will be there at each step of your pregnancy to help and aid you.
For women facing infertility issues, meet India’s one of the best IVF & Infertility Experts, Dr. Gauri Agarwal. With a high success rate of 78% and 12,000+ childless couples becoming parents through her guidance and treatment, she is the best expert for your infertility issues.