I have always felt that one of the most important decisions that a woman ever makes in her life is having a baby. Not only this is a big decision in terms of having a starting a family but also a life altering one. Therefore, it bounds to bring along with it a lot of stress. Stress is a part of our everyday lives, in the form of work-related stress or personal stress. Now, couple this to the stress associated with trying to get pregnant can sometimes be just too overwhelming!
As most of you are aware that stress can have affect our body and mind in various ways. Some may have difficulty concentrating at work, some may lose their sleep whereas others might start eating less (or more). But not many women I come across every day knows that stress can also affect your chances of getting pregnant. Our body and mind adjust well to the stress over time. However, the sudden increased stress like a trauma associated with an injury, loss of a close family member or the pressure associated with getting pregnant can be too much to cope with. This sudden increase in stress levels can have an effect on your ovulation and fertility.
Now to understand better how stress can hamper our chances of getting pregnant, we need to know how ovulation occurs. Ovulation happens when the ovaries release an egg into the fallopian tubes about once each month. There is a small gland in the lower part of our brain called pituitary gland. When that time of the month comes, it sends a signal to the ovaries by releasing a hormone in the blood stream. The pituitary gland is regulated by a part of the brain called hypothalamus. When we are under stress, it affects various parts of the brain including the hypothalamus. This prohibits hypothalamus in sending out correct signals to the pituitary gland to trigger the ovaries to ovulate. Thus, under stress, the ovulation cycles occur irregularly.
Studies have also shown that stress also affects men’s sperm count and sperm production. Stress is even greater in these this holiday season. Therefore, it is of paramount important to recognize stress and find out ways to deal with it.
How can we manage stress?
The first important step is to recognize that you are under stress. The next part is to manage it effectively. There are various ways in which we can do that-
- Try yoga. Meditation and yoga are not only helpful with reducing stress but also helps you prepare your body for pregnancy
- Massage therapy- Just a 30-minute massage therapy can help you relieve your stress and feel energetic. Acupressure also helps in relieving stress.
- Sleep well. When we are under stress, our sleep cycles get disturbed. Having a good night’s sleep is a great stress buster.
- Make notes of things that stress you out. It’s a better way of identifying the underlying causes of your stress. It helps you to deal with them better.
- See a specialist. If you are having trouble dealing with stress on your own, it’s always advisable to visit a specialist or psychiatrist.
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