Trying to have a baby can be an amazing time in a couple's life. There's so much excitement on the horizon that it's sometimes all you can think about.
Yet trying to actually conceive can be surprisingly difficult, and one of the issues that may be holding you back from conception is anxiety. Anxiety has a real, tangible effect on fertility, and it's something you need to focus on if you want to improve your chances of having a baby.
How Severe is Your Anxiety?
Are you trying to conceive? Find out how severe your anxiety is with my free 7 minute anxiety test. Take the test now to find out more about how to control your anxiety.
Start With Your Doctor
For obvious reasons, fertility is not something you should leave up to chance. You should talk to your doctor, and try to find out what - if anything - is affecting your fertility. You should also take my anxiety test now to find out if you're experiencing severe anxiety.
Yet as amazing as the human body is, it does have its weaknesses, and one of those weaknesses is the way the body responds to stress. The body does not handle stress well, and researchers have found that when a couple is under stress, fertility tends to decrease.
Why Does Anxiety Affect Fertility?
Researchers are currently unclear why anxiety seems to have this much of an effect on fertility. It may be an evolutionary issue, where men and women that were unable to conceive while living lives of stress and anxiety ultimately had better outcomes.
It's also possible that stress simply alters hormones too much and makes it much harder for the body to effectively operate. We know that stress can cause women to stop having periods, and stress can lower sperm count in men. Perhaps hormones and the way they're altered by anxiety plays a significant role.
No matter the cause, it's clear that anxiety really is trouble for your fertility, and if you're constantly under stress and pressure, it's possible that's affecting your ability to conceive.
Stress Over Having a Child
Millions of men and women struggle with anxiety, stress, and anxiety disorders every day. It's actually a statistic that is on the rise, indicating that more and more couples may be finding that anxiety is affecting their ability to have a child.
But what's amazing, and also unfortunate, is that you may be causing that anxiety on yourself by trying too hard to conceive. Both men and women experience a great deal of pressure believing that if they can't conceive there is something wrong with them, and that pressure can actually lead to their own fertility problems.
How to Decrease Anxiety and Improve the Chance of Conception
There's no magic formula for improving anxiety and fertility. Unfortunately, if you continue to put pressure on yourself (which is natural), or you still deal with profound anxiety in the rest of your life, you may find that it affects your overall fertility levels.
But there are some strategies that can be helpful. These include:
- Seeing a Doctor Make sure that you're at least seeing a doctor. The truth is that as much as people want to avoid finding out that they're infertile, the anxiety of thinking that you are can be just as problematic, if not more so. It's best to see a doctor, find out if everything's okay, and then do what the doctor recommends.
- Relaxation Months While you can always plan to continue to try to conceive, try taking a one month on, one month off approach to conception. Consider the month off a chance to relax, where you're not watching a calendar and you go in with no expectations. Obviously this can be easier said than done, so consider other relaxation strategies like massage, yoga, etc. so that your "months off" are as relaxing as possible. Consider adding exercise as well, which is known to improve anxiety - but moderate a bit since it may have an effect on fertility in extreme cases.
- Making Lovemaking Fun It's also important that conception never feels like a chore. That means that you should have fun with it. You and your partner should find trying to conceive something you look forward to even if conception doesn't occur. That will reduce some of the stress of the entire situation.
The reality is that you're still going to need to combat your anxiety altogether if you want to decrease the chances of these issues affecting you in the long run.
I've helped many people with severe anxiety conquer their issues. Start with my free 7 minute anxiety test now. It's the best way to learn how to control and prevent your anxiety.
Alice D. Domar, Kristin L. Rooney, Benjamin Wiegand, E. John Orav, Michael M. Alper, Brian M. Berger, Janeta Nikolovski, Impact of a group mind/body intervention on pregnancy rates in IVF patients, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 95, Issue 7, June 2011, Pages 2269-2273, ISSN 0015-0282, 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.03.046.
McGrady, A. V. Effects of psychological stress on male reproduction: a review. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine 13.1 (1984): 1-7.
Sheiner, Einat K., et al. Potential association between male infertility and occupational psychological stress. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 44.12 (2002): 1093-1099.
Anderheim, L., et al. Does psychological stress affect the outcome of in vitro fertilization? Human Reproduction 20.10 (2005): 2969-2975.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.