Emotional factors can play a role in fertility and may impact one’s ability to conceive. Stress, depression, and anxiety can affect the hormonal balance in the body, which can impact ovulation and implantation of a fertilized egg. Additionally, emotional issues can affect a person’s overall physical and mental health, which can further impact fertility.
Science shows that catecholamines, prolactin, adrenal steroids, endorphins, and serotonin hormones are all negatively affected by stress and impact a woman’s ovulation cycle. Hormone imbalances, caused by high levels of stress, can result in infertility or habitual abortion.
Studies have also shown that those experiencing high stress levels tend to take longer to get pregnant. A study which took samples of women’s saliva who were trying to conceive, measured the levels of alpha-amylase in their system. The ones with high levels of the enzyme, which illustrates high stress, took almost 30% longer to get pregnant, compared to the women who had lower levels.
A US based infertility specialist, Sarah Berga, MD, spoke to The Healthy Journal about the way in which it is now understood that the presence of stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, disrupt the proper functioning of and signaling between the brain and the ovaries, which affects ovulation.
With research and science showing how much of a role high stress plays in hindering a woman’s capacity to get pregnant, it can become somewhat of a vicious cycle to reduce stress at the time you feel it the most. Getting stuck in a catch 22 and feeling a lot of pressure to conceive, is not ideal when it comes to managing your emotions and staying calm.
It’s important to address any emotional issues that may be impacting fertility, as addressing these issues may help improve overall physical and mental well-being, and in turn increase the chances of conception.
Ways in which to do this are varied. In more recent years, holistic wellbeing approaches to health and wellness such as acupuncture, mindfulness, creative expression, meditation and yoga have become more popular. Many men and women speak of the benefits these techniques have had in their fertility and conception journey.
A study into the evidence for the use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) during fertility treatment, found that acupuncture had the best results when it came to improving ‘fertility outcomes’ for both the men and women surveyed. The survey also concluded that more research in this field is required to explore how these approaches can help more people.
Ultimately managing your emotions and stress levels is key here.
However, it’s important to note that emotional factors are not the only factors that can impact fertility. Other factors such as age, lifestyle, and underlying medical conditions also play a role.
The UK’s NHS states that most couples will fall pregnant within one year of trying, if they have regular sex without using contraception. However, this doesn’t take into account conditions that could hinder this process. For women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroid and thyroid conditions, and men with reduced sperm count or testosterone it could take longer to conceive, or could result in infertility.
It’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your fertility.
Additionally, seeking support through counseling or therapy may help improve emotional well-being and can be beneficial for couples who are trying to conceive.