• Outi Holmes

Can stress affect your ability to conceive?


A fertility journey can sometimes be long and difficult and it can put emotional, physical and financial strain on a couple. Something so natural can suddenly turn into a struggle and anxiety and stress replace the excitement, hopes and plans from the beginning of the journey.

But is it possible that these negative emotions can make it even harder to conceive?

The answer is yes! Believe it or not, but our bodies are equipped to prevent conception from occurring during times of stress.

If we look back to when humans still lived in very primitive conditions, in times of hunting and gathering, they faced threats such as droughts and famine - life became stressful and uncertain: "What if we do run out of food? What if we can't feed our children?". Adrenaline and cortisol levels were rising, sending messages inside the body that conditions were not ideal for reproduction.

So what was happening? Inside their bodies, rising adrenaline and cortisol levels were affecting the functioning of the hypothalamus, which is a gland that regulates your hormones. This can prevent ovulation and reduce blood flow to uterus and ovaries.

Our bodies are still working in the same way as thousands of years ago, only stressors are different. Importance of relaxation cannot be underestimated when trying to conceive. Hence whether it is meditation, reading or having a massage, stress reduction should be placed as a top priority on your list.

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