Stress and Infertility

Coming to terms with infertility can often leave people feeling alone and isolated. It can also have a huge impact on personal relationships such as partners, friends and family. Infertility is not an easy situation to deal with and many people feel inadequate and empty.

In the Blog we look at identifying stress and some ways to help you reduce stress levels and improve your mind set.

What Causes Stress?

Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. When we feel stressed, the body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to try and help us combat these feelings and to help deal with pressure or threats.

Stress levels usually return to normal once the pressure or threat has passed. However, for those who are suffering from infertility and struggling to cope, the feelings of pressure rarely pass, and instead just continue to mount. The inability to conceive naturally after many months is sadly a trigger for increased stress levels.

Recognising The Signs of Stress

Stress caused by infertility affects people in different ways. The most common signs of stress that is linked to infertility are:

  • Feeling guilty for not being pregnant
  • Feeling worthless and ashamed
  • Constant feelings of sadness
  • Feeling socially isolated & lonely
  • Being angry and frustrated
  • Trouble concentrating / memory loss
  • Struggling to sleep
  • Headaches and fatigue

Whist if may be common to experience these feelings whilst struggling to come to terms with infertility, it doesn’t mean that these feelings are inevitable for everyone.

What Can I Do To Improve My Stress Levels?

Infertility can be heart breaking, and it is normal to experience feelings of stress as time passes. However, it’s important to know that there is plenty of help available.  Here are a few suggestions to reduce stress levels:

  • Sleep. Try to achieve a good night’s sleep (7-8 hours). Lack of sleep or even oversleeping can affect hormone balances.
  • Diet. Ensure you eat a balanced, well nourished diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, organic meats, berries and oily fish, lentils, nuts and seeds.
  • Exercise. Start to incorporate moderate daily exercise into your routine. Exercise boots endorphins, improves fertility levels, reduces BMI, improves self esteem and improves egg and sperm quality.
  • Emotional Support. Seek emotional support from friends, family or a trained Fertility Counsellor. Many professionals will be able to help you which will help you to feel more positive and hopeful for the future.
  • Join a Support Group. Talking to others who are all experiencing the same feelings can often really help in a positive and encouraging way before, during and after your infertility journey.
  • Holistic Therapies. Acupuncture, Reflexology and Hypnotherapy will all help you to relax, increase levels of happiness, and have a positive effect on your mindset which are all very beneficial when struggling with infertility.

Knowing that you have options available can bring relief and really help to reduce stress levels. Having a plan and a strategy can make all the difference.