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Does Stress Really Effect Fertility Treatments?

One of the most frustrating pieces of advice a couple can receive while experiencing infertility is to “just relax and you’ll get pregnant soon enough.” Although the comment is usually well meaning and meant to help, those kinds of comments can make a person feel that the stress they may be experience while trying to conceive is just another factor to why they’re not yet pregnant. Further more, that advice is not valid, according to a study led by Professor Jacky Boivin from the Cardiff Fertility Studies Research Group. During 14 studies, researchers found that stress does not effect your odds of becoming pregnant through fertility treatments like IVF and intrauterine insemination.

Research suggests that emotional distress is not a deciding factor in whether a woman is able or not to become pregnant. Other outside factors such as sperm count, ovulation, and other fertility issues like endometriosis are legitimate factors in male and female infertility.

Despite the research that stress will not harmfully effect fertility treatments, there are methods to help handle the mental stress some patients may feel while treating infertility:

The benefits of massage have been touted for many years. Massage therapy can help patients relax both their mind and body during IVF or other infertility treatments. Whether or not stress is a factor in fertility, the positive benefits of massage for emotional wellbeing should not be dismissed.

It is believed that acupuncture (a traditional Chinese medicine) is an effective way to balance emotional, spiritual, mental and physical energy. Patients, with permission from their doctor, may benefit from receiving acupuncture to help relax them before or after a fertility treatment.

Balanced Nutrition
A well balanced diet can help ease anxiety by ensuring your body has the proper fuel to feed the body. Too much sugar, excess caffeine, and inadequate nutrition can cause undue stress.

Exercise has long been praised for its therapeutic benefits. Next time you’re feeling anxious or stressed, take a walk, go for jog, or attend a yoga class. Deep breathing and exertion can do wonders for stress.

Despite the fact that stress has not been found to effect fertility, patients who experience anxiety during infertility treatments may benefit from stress-relief methods such as massage, acupuncture, balanced nutrition, and exercise. To learn more about what fertility treatments may be right for you, schedule a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Andrew Levi at one of our two Connecticut offices. Contact our Trumball, CT fertility office at (203)-372-6700, or our Fairfield, CT reproductive medicine office at 203-254-6000.