Monday Q&A video 6. Stress reduction

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Stress and its Effects on Your Fertility

The importance of reducing stress if you’re trying to get pregnant

Hi, I’m Sonia and I’m a fertility coach with Fertilligence.

And today is Q&A Mondays!

In these series, I am answering YOUR questions about all things fertility — everything from lifestyle hacks to boost fertility to handling things when pregnancy DOESN’T happen so fast.

If you have questions, be sure to post your questions in the comments below, and I’ll answer as many as I can in future videos.

So, onto today’s question: ​How important is it to reduce stress when trying to get pregnant?

Ok, so to answer that let’s start at the beginning: What do we call stress?

Stress is your body’s reaction to a perceived threat, challenge, or scare. When our mind perceives a danger, our body increases heart rate and blood pressure and reduces blood flow to any part of the body not absolutely essential for staying alive. This reaction is meant to protect ourselves in the face of mortal danger: the body switches to a fight-or-flight stress reaction and activates all its resources in the interest of survival.

So, ​how does stress affect fertility?

  • Having our bodies in permanent fight-or-flight mode creates a hormone imbalance. The excessive doses of adrenaline and cortisol (stress-related hormones) interfere with the production of fertility- related hormones, in both men and women.
  • For women, chronic stress can interfere with (or even stop) ovulation and menstruation.
  • For men, stress is linked to lower sperm count, lower motility, lower semen quality and a higher percentage of abnormal sperm.

So yes, chronic stress might compromise your fertility. Research shows that people who are highly stressed have lower rates of conception and higher rates of early miscarriage.

So, ​do we get stressed? What are our daily stressors?

We know that if doesn’t need to be something life-threatening: our minds also activate the emergency mode for smaller, everyday problems (deadlines, to do lists, traffic jams, discussions with people, challenges at work, etc) This year has been particularly stressful for all of us: global pandemic, lots of uncertainty, losing jobs, being away from our family and friends, and infertility can definitely also cause a lot of stress.

The good news is that reducing stress can reverse fertility problems.

There have been a lot of studies which have shown that when women learn stress-reducing skills, they have higher rates of pregnancy. In some studies, women who learned new relaxation and coping skills actually had twice the pregnancy rates of women who didn’t learn new skills.

So I invite you to use this holidays to proactively create some time for yourself to take care of yourself and ensure you can properly reduce your stress levels.

Let me show you a tip to reduce your stress levels immediately: it’s the power of deep breathing. You’ve probably heard about diaphragmatic breathing before. Let’s do it together: place your hands on your lower ribs, like a belt. When you inhale through your nose, try to push the belt out as if you wanted to break it from all directions, filling up your belly with air too, until you’re completely full with air. When you exhale, let the air come out through your mouth and let the belt get tighter and tighter. Let’s do 5 breaths together like this: inhale thought your nose, filling up your lower ribs and belly with air, pause at the top, exhale slowly through your mouth, letting all the air out. Inhale again, slowly and deeply, pause at the top, exhale slowly until you’re completely empty. 3 more: inhale all the air in, as if you’re smelling a flower, pause at the top, exhale slowly all the air out. 2 more in silence: inhale, pause, exhale. Last one, take the biggest breath you’ve ever taken in your life, pause at the top, and exhale it all out.

How do you feel? Better, right? So this is a tool you can try any time you feel your stress levels grow- you take a mini-break, 1 minute to take care of your health and reset the tone.

If you’re struggling to reduce your stress or anxiety levels, feel free to reach out to me via the Fertilligence app. You can book a 1 on 1 session with me where we can take a deep dive into your specific case.

So this is my answer to today’s question. Now I’d love to hear back from you ladies: from 1 to 10, how are your stress levels? What stresses you out the most? What helps you relax? Please share so we can all learn from each other!

I’ll see you next Monday! Remember: write your questions in the comments below and I’ll answer as many as I can.

Have a wonderful week, bye!

Be Fertilligent

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Presented By: Sonia, Fertility Coach.
Date: Dec 21, 2020

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