There is no hard evidence to suggest that stress can prevent you from becoming pregnant. However, stress can depress your immune system, raise your blood pressure and disrupt your hormonal function. Also, it can prevent you and your partner from enjoying this time of anticipation and pleasure. Without doubt, being concerned about your ability to conceive or undergoing evaluation or treatment for infertility can be stressful.
Learning how to minimize your stress is an important part of your pre-pregnancy efforts to maximize your wellness. Here are a few tips:
- Identify the causes of stress in your life and try to reduce them at least in the short-term (this may mean changing how you commute to work, creating a savings account to feel less stressed about finances, or working through difficult relationships with friends or family members).
- Simplify your life. Reduce contact with people and cut out activities that sap your energy and time.
- Clarify your priorities. Learn to say "no." Decide what is really important and what can be addressed later.
- Ask for help. Turn to family, friends, a faith leader or a therapist or counselor.
- Exercise. It helps to release tension and lift your mood. Physical activities such as nature walks or yoga can calm and relax you.
- Meditate. It triggers a relaxation response as it decreases your respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure, and relieves muscle tension. It has also been shown to cause a drop in the stress hormones in your blood. Some women feel that meditation is as restful as a nap.
- Keep a journal. The act of writing out your thoughts and concerns can help prevent you from dwelling on your worries.
- Create a calm atmosphere. Use essential oils for aromatherapy, listen to quiet music and dim the lights to help you feel more at peace.
- Get enough sleep. This will keep you from becoming tired and less able to deal with your daily responsibilities. Try to avoid turning to food or caffeine to fight fatigue. You will need your rest more than ever when you are pregnant and after the baby comes, so now is the time to develop good sleep patterns.