Q. Will stress at work or at home make it harder for me to get pregnant?
A. The role of everyday stress is controversial. But we do know that extreme stress—the death of a loved one or close friend, divorce, changing jobs, selling a house or moving—can temporarily halt ovulation. There was even a recent study in the medical journal, Fertility and Sterility, showing that those women undergoing fertility treatments who were under less stress had higher success rates. And we know that stress can affect sperm quality, too; severe stress can actually cause irregularly-shaped sperm. So there’s no question stress affects the reproductive system.
But aside from extremely stressful events, we don’t really know how much day-to-day stress—the kind we all deal with in our lives—can affect efforts to get pregnant. When patients feel that stress might be a problem, we advise yoga, meditation, acupuncture. . . any kind of stress management technique. We even provide an acupuncturist in our practice—both as stress relief, and because acupuncture is supposed to help increase blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Think of it this way: When you’re trying to conceive, it’s sometimes a lot of little things that can make getting pregnant difficult. One of these things may be stress.