That depends. There’s a clear link between stress and a difficulty in conceiving, but that doesn’t necessarily mean stress causes the difficulty. It is true that an inordinate amount of stress can lead to inhibited hormone function and a late or missed period every so often, but most researchers today believe that the main relationship between stress and infertility has to do with all of the side effects that stress can cause, so if you’re feeling stressed, it could be beneficial to address the issues individually.
Side effects of stress that could contribute to impaired fertility
It is true that an inordinate amount of stress can lead to inhibited hormone function and a late or missed period every so often, but most researchers today believe that the main relationship between stress and infertility has to do with all of the side effects that stress can cause, so if you’re feeling stressed, it could be beneficial to address the issues individually.
One of the most common side effects of stress is weight problems, of which nutrition and exercise are the two prime factors. People respond to stress differently, so while one may use exercise as relaxation while forgoing meals, another may overeat, and skip out on exercise, losing and gaining weight respectively. Having a BMI that is either too low, or too high can negatively impact fertility, so it’s important to make sure that you’re in, or moving towards a healthy BMI as you try to conceive and prepare for pregnancy.
Poor nutrition on its own can hamper fertility, as your body depends on getting plenty of nutrients like Vitamins A and C to develop healthy eggs, and regulate your hormone cycle. Over-exercise can also contribute to difficulty conceiving, as it can lead to hormonal imbalances, and cycle irregularity.
Not enough sleep
Sleep is another very important factor in your general health, which goes hand-in-hand with your fertility. A lack of sleep can negatively impact your fertility, as sleep is the time that your body recharges and prepares for the next day. One such way it does this is with the production of the hormone leptin, a hormone vital for regulating your cycle and ovulation–women who don’t get enough sleep may affect their leptin levels, which could hinder their chances of getting pregnant.
Having something that helps you relieve your stress is a good thing–for some it’s exercise, or a hobby. Many people however use alcohol or tobacco to help them relieve stress, which can have a serious impact on your fertility. A glass of wine or a beer here and there probably isn’t going to affect your fertility, but it is clear that there is some link between alcohol consumption and impaired fertility, so it’s probably best to avoid binging or consistently heavy drinking when you are trying to conceive.
Uninterested in sex
Another common effect of stress is a lack of interest in sex, and as you would imagine, it can be quite difficult to conceive if you aren’t having sex. However, sex is an excellent stress-reducer, as you release hormones that help your body relax, so while you may not be interested in sex when you’re stressed out, it can help in more ways than one when you are trying to conceive.