Stress & Fertility
Every day we are coping with stress; And we do know that extreme stress can effect fertility. There was a study in the medical journal, Fertility and Sterility, that highlighted the connection between fertility and stress. But aside from extremely stressful events, we don’t really know how much day-to-day stress—the kind we all deal with in our lives—can affect efforts to get pregnant. When people feel that stress might be a problem, it is generally advised that therapy, yoga, meditation, acupuncture. . . any kind of stress management technique might help. Think of it this way: When you’re trying to conceive, it’s sometimes a lot of little things that can make getting pregnant difficult. One of these things may be stress.
Is the stress of Trying to Conceive affecting your Fertility? Fertility Stress Survey – Take the test and find out.
Stress Symptom Checklist*
Instructions: Check each item that describes a symptom you have experienced to any significant degree during the last month; then total the number of items checked.
- Headaches (migraine or tension)
- Tight Muscles
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Jaw tension
- Muscle cramp, spasms
- Nervous stomach
- Other pain
- Insomnia (sleeping poorly)
- Fatigue, lack of energy
- Cold hands and/or feet
- Tightness or pressure in the head
- High blood pressure
- Skin condition e.g., rash)
- Teeth grinding
- Digestive upsets (cramps, bloating)
- Heart beats rapidly or pounds, even at rest
- Stomach pain or ulcer
- Appetite change
- Profuse perspiration
- Weight change
- When nervous, use of alcohol, cigarettes or recreational drug
- Confusion or “spaciness”
- Irrational fears
- Compulsive behavior
- Feeling “overload” or overwhelmed”
- Hyperactivity-feeling you can’t slow down
- Mood swings
- Problems with relationships
- Dissatisfied/unhappy with work
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent irritability
- Frequent boredom
- Frequent worrying or obsessing
- Frequent guilt
- Temper flare-up
- Crying spells
- Sexual problems
Evaluate your stress level as follows:
Number of Items Checked Stress Level
0 – 7 Low
8 – 14 Moderate
15 – 21 High
22+ Very High
*Source: The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, Edmund J. Bourne, PhD, New Harginger Publishers, Inc.
If you got +15 or more and you are trying to conceive, you should know that high stress levels is one of the most frequent causes for fertility problems. Jennifer Fightlin LCSW is going to be teaching a free Stress Seminar for all those couples coping with fertility challenges during the Holidays. Learning how to deal with stressful situations that can affect your fertility might key to achieve your desired healthy pregnancy. Join us Thursday, November 14th to learn healthier ways to manage stress, specially if you are trying to conceive (TTC). Space is limited to first 5 couples. To RSVP, please call 858 381 2281 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Take Control of the Stress in your Life.
It may seem that there’s nothing you can do about stress. But you have more control than you might think. In fact, the simple realization that you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management. Managing stress is all about taking charge: of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way you deal with problems
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses. Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
Learning Healthier Ways to Manage Stress
If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.
Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors when they inevitably come.
Healthy Ways to Relax and Recharge
Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.
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