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Fertility Tips Part 2 - How Your Mindset May Impact Your Fertility

If you are trying to conceive, it is very likely that you have given some consideration to your current health. You may have prioritized your physical health — getting your body “baby-ready” with a good diet and nutrition, regular exercise, or any number of vitamins and supplements. However, have you actually spent any time considering how healthy and fertile your mind is right now?

In the second installment of our three-part series, we hope to share some insight into how exactly your mindset impacts your fertility, and what you can control in order to reduce the stress along your fertility journey. Keep reading for some things to keep in mind (and some to keep out!) in order to preserve or improve your mental health while trying to conceive. 

Coping with Stress

When you're on the TTC rollercoaster, it is very easy to get bogged down with negativity. Going through the emotions of hope, anxiety, and complete devastation adds to many women’s already huge stress load. Instinctively, many of us tend to try and ignore the stress and tension that builds up in our body and just keep going regardless.

Prolonged stress is very bad for us on many levels, but what it can do to our fertility is devastating. Biologically, when we are stressed the body produces more adrenaline, which in turn causes us to release more of the hormone cortisol. When the demand for cortisol is high, the body then “borrows” other hormones and reduces the progesterone in our bloodstream. Progesterone is crucial for fertility and without the proper hormone balance, the likelihood of conceiving is dramatically reduced.

Research has long shown that psychological stress impairs fertility and that prolonged stress may reduce the efficacy of infertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). In addition, a recent study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology showed that women who have an early miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy are more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. 

Fostering Positivity

While often we can not change the pace of life and the stresses around us, what we can change is how we deal with it. One way to do this, is by turning sources of anxiety into sources of positivity along your way. Instead of letting social media be a source of loneliness, use it as an opportunity to connect with others experiencing similar challenges. Instead of letting the comments or actions of others upset you — like constantly asking when you’re going to get pregnant, or being told to “just relax” and you will get pregnant — take them with a grain of salt and focus on you. 

There are many other ways to bring small sources of positivity into your fertility journey, including keeping a fertility journal for your thoughts and honest feelings, creating a daily gratitude list, or digging a little bit deeper into your thoughts in order to move past them. You can start by asking yourself questions like:

    • What is going through your mind?
    • What could you do to help you cope on these bad days? 
    • When have you had bad days before? 
    • What did you do previously to help yourself through that day?”

Maintaining Control

Another effective way to help cope during stressful times is by taking control of your fertility where you can. There are so many unknowns when dealing with infertility – What is causing it? What can be done about it? What is the best treatment or medications to try? Where do you go from here? Thanks to tools like OvuSense, you can have access to more information about your cycle and how it is tracking, changing, and responding to various treatments. The more knowledge you have about your cycle, the better informed you are to make decisions about treatment or care in the future.

Reducing stress is not only important to your mental health and overall wellbeing, but can go a long way to improving your chances of getting pregnant. Share some of your tips for managing your mental health and fostering a fertile mind with our TTC community on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

 

In case you missed it, don’t forget to check out Part 1 of this blog series on taking care of your body, and stay tuned for Part 3 about how your relationships can impact your fertility.

About our regular contributor, Kate Davies:

Kate Davies (RN, BSc (Hons), FP Cert) is a registered Fertility Nurse Consultant and IVF coach with over 25 years of experience in fertility and women's health. She worked in the UK's National Health Service as a specialist nurse in Gynecology, Sexual and Contraceptive Health and Fertility for 20 years before founding Your Fertility Journey consultancy company. A member of the British Fertility Society and registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, she is a practitioner with Fertility UK where she receives regular training and clinical supervision. She has a special interest in both natural contraception and PCOS and has taken specialist training in the latter to enhance her knowledge and practice. She carries out consultations either using online video or at her Harley Street Clinic in London, providing both emotional support and clinical advice to her patients.  In 2017, Your Fertility Journey was awarded Best Fertility Consultancy UK by Lux Health, Beauty and Wellness Awards, and in 2019 were given the title of Best Fertility Consultancy and Best Fertility Nurse by GHP's Alternative Medicine and Holistic Health Awards. Find her on LinkedIn, follow her on Instagram at @your_fertility_journey, and listen to her on The Fertility Podcast.

Kate Davies - Independent Fertility Nurse
Your Fertility Journey

Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.