Will stress stop me getting pregnant?

Discover how stress can affect your chances of getting pregnant and what you can do to relax.
When all your best efforts at baby-making go unfulfilled, it's easy to become frustrated. Plus, when your friends are telling you to 'just relax' and assuring you 'it will happen when the time is right', you may find yourself getting angrier by the second. Unfortunately all this does is add to the vicious cycle of stress which can be hard to overcome.

If you are also feeling the pressure of other sources of stress in your life, such as work commitments or family relationships, you may be feeling more stressed than ever. This can be hard to overcome and can all add to a build-up of unwanted anxiety.

How can stress affect chances of conception?

Some scientific studies have shown that periods of prolonged stress can interfere with your chances of conceiving, by affecting the hypothalamus. This is a gland in your brain that, among other things, regulates the hormones required to control ovulation. When you are under stress you may therefore ovulate less often or less regularly than when you are feeling more relaxed.

Science aside, stress can be one of the contributing factors to a loss of libido. If you or your partner are feeling stressed or anxious, you are simply less likely to be in the mood to make love. Therefore your chances of getting pregnant can be less when you are stressed.

What can I do to reduce stress?

If you are trying for a baby, chances are you will get frustrated with yourself or your partner if months go by and you still aren't getting a positive reading on your pregnancy test. Instead of the fun and playfulness of making love that you experienced before trying to conceive, you may find that love-making becomes strictly about baby-making, and therefore has an added pressure it didn't used to have.

The stresses and strains of work or family commitments could also be adding to your feelings of stress. So how can you lower your stress levels when trying for a baby? Trying one or all of the following is a good start to reducing your feelings of stress and anxiety, and by doing so increase your chances of pregnancy.

Relax your mind and body
  • One of the most important things is to take time to rest. Set aside some time where you won't be disturbed, even if it's just half an hour, and do something you enjoy. Don't feel guilty about just 'doing nothing' - it's important that your mind and body are relaxed. Try having a hot bubble bath, watching a film, or reading a book.

  • Exercising is also very important when trying to fall pregnant. It will ensure your body is in tip-top condition, and will help to relax you and ease tension. Exercise routines like yoga or pilates are especially effective for lowering stress levels.

  • A balanced diet is also key. Making sure you get a good nutritional variety of proteins, vitamins and minerals is enormously helpful both for lowering your stress and ensuring you are fit and well.

  • Other therapies such as massage, meditation and reflexology will go a long way towards helping you relax. Breathing exercises may also be beneficial.
Talk about it
  • Try not to bottle up your feelings if you are experiencing stress. It will do you the world of good if you share what you are going through with those around you.

  • Talk to your partner, your best friend, or why not visit the AskBaby forums for advice and reassurance from those that are going through the same experiences as you.

  • Consider writing in a journal if you would prefer. This way you can express things you are feeling, and hopefully gain perspective - which will help to reduce stress.

  • Don't be hard on yourself. If you feel frustrated and upset with yourself, you will only increase your feelings of stress. Treat yourself when you are feeling down, and try to practise feelings of calm and patience.
Be an optimist
  • The more feelings of optimism you have while trying to get pregnant, the more likely you are to be successful - optimism is the perfect antidote to stress.

  • Try to resist comparing your own situation with those around you. It may be very disheartening to see others seemingly falling pregnant at the drop of a hat, when you have been trying for months. But remember that everyone's situation is different, and feelings of jealousy or exasperation will only put you under more pressure than is necessary.

  • Try to remain relaxed with your partner. If love-making becomes solely about baby-making, you will both feel anxious about the event instead of enjoying what comes naturally.
Keep in mind that conceiving a baby can be a great time in your lives, so approach it with a sense of fun and playfulness. If you feel your stress levels rising take a deep breath and try your best to stay calm - and let nature take its course.

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After two years of trying, including 6 months of fertility medication, I gave up. I took a couple trips, relaxed/reduced my stress, refocused, and accepted what I could not control. Within three months, I was pregnant and am now due in three weeks. As for dealing with the disappointment, all I can say is let it go and find the other joys that make life wonderful and fulfilling. Easier said than done, I know... I cried every month for two years... but I believe the peace I found when I accepted what I couldn't control and the reduction in stress played major rolls in my eventual pregnancy. Good luck!!
by NatzGeral 2nd Nov 2010, 5:42pm
I had a miscarage in june this year at ten weeks but the baby was only 8 weeks but everyone i have spoke to said it would be easy to become pregnant again both me and my partner are taking pregnacare conception and wellman conception and i am using clearblue digital ovulaton test is there anythig else i can be doing as i am 36 next birthday and my partner is 19 years older than me
by pbpaula 1st Sep 2010, 10:13am
I had the Mirena coil removed on 5/07/10 and still don't know when I will have a period or even ovulate as the ovulation tests didn't show anything and I still haven't had a period. Seeing that I haven't had a period in over 5 years due to the coil, I'm not sure how long my cycle will be? Any help?
by carlib 12th Aug 2010, 10:50am
can someone help me i now i got two lose the weight so im on a diet i am never in im all ways out 4 days a week
same times go on my gym . i dont no when i ovulating is i dont no if this right i had sex the other night with my hubby and the was white strange mucous so i dont no if i have ovulated or not and not only that i have not seen a
period now 4 10weeks 1 day i have done a test it come back that i am not pregnant what do i do next please help me thanks my name is lisa

by looselips1978 11th Jun 2010, 5:22pm
have been trying to conceive for 4yr now. i have a wonderful daughter who turn 5yr on the 28th of feb; it actually took us 3yr before we got her and during that period we had a result of a low sperm count after all mediation it still came worst but on that month of the result i got preg for my girl. my hussy still believe on the low sperm issue but i felt since the result was negative and i concern our first child. still believe will get the second one but things has not been working out. do anyone have any advice on this issue for me.
by tombramum 14th May 2010, 4:51pm
I logged on to this site this morning as I had my period AGAIN! Something I havent wanted to see for the last 10 months. I am acutually trying for a 2nd child, I had my first little boy when I was almost 33. I had a difficult labour and had to have a General Anesthetic and I am really worried that something may have been damaged! I think I may try and buy one of those monitors next month to monitor ovulation! Its really got me this month and feeling rock bottom.
by Rachel36 10th Dec 2009, 9:47am
Hi , very new to this forum been searching the net for any advise on becoming pg , askbaby.com is very helpful , have been trying with hubbie for 6 mths & i am 33 & he is 32 , no luck as yet..when i came off the pill 1st thing i did was go to doc's & had the usual blood tests & smear test , all came back clear so with that in mind i was very positive & kinda thought it would happen quickly , my hubbie wants to go get tested now we presume the doc will test his sperm count ?? can anyone advise on what exactly your partner is tested for. thanks
by cylin 6th Dec 2009, 6:14pm
10yrs ago i had an abortion due to rape, afterwards i use contraception for prevention, 2008 i got married, now 8months later i still try to conceive, i had went for medical check up but proven to be ok, i seems to be getting worried now. could my past experience had cause this delay? what can i do to be pregnant? please advice
by Shadebaby 17th Sep 2009, 9:20am
I am a mother of four daughters. I am 42 years and of recent my husband insists on us having a baby boy. I am also crazy about it. I have been trying since 2006 but without success. Previuosly I was on depo, could this be a contributing factor to my barrenness? Please help I am mad about conceiving a baby boy
by khadudu 22nd Jul 2009, 9:49am
Hello there!
I have been ttc since last August with no success.
My partner believes I am obsessing too much about it and this is why I'm not getting pregnant.
Also I have no sign of cervical mucus at ovulation time.
Can stressing about it have an effect on this?
Your views please.
by Melza 24th Jun 2009, 10:02am
I was in a job that I was unhappy in. Had been trying for a couple of months or so without any success.
Decided to Hand my notice as I got offered a new position else where and booked up a holiday, then bingo. Just before I went on holiday found out I was pregnant!
by hungrymum09 22nd May 2009, 9:26am