The connection between stress and its effects on the body are being studied in every area of medicine. While the exact relationship is not understood, doctors do know that stress alters all facets of health. It can increase heart attacks, contribute to high blood pressure, cause weight gain, and even impair your ability to conceive.
Stress can impact many facets of reproduction:
- Decreases quality and quantity of eggs
- Reduces success rate of IVF
- Impacts rate of miscarriage
- Increases complications due to high-risk pregnancies
- Affects male fertility as well
More and more studies are being done on the effects of stress on fertility, and the ways in which stress reduction can increase the likely hood of conception. One study was conducted by Dr. Alice Domar, Ph.D, OB/GYN at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF. In her study, one hundred patients participated in a ten-week stress reduction Mind/Body program, and their group was charted against a group that received no stress reduction techniques or training. Both groups were tracked through two IVF cycles during the ten weeks. At the end of the time period, 52% of the group who completed the Mind/Body program had conceived, as compared to 20% of the control group.
One of the leading clinics in the United States is located in Southern California. The Mind Body Institute focuses on stress reduction and stress management before, during and after conception. In a ten-week program, partners learn coping skills, relaxation techniques and ways in which they can gain control of their overall health, both physical and emotional. Their statistics boast a 90% success rate for conception (2007-2009,) and a 90% decrease in complications during high-risk pregnancies (2009,) and a 97% reduction in overall stress.
If you are having difficulty conceiving, it can become a vicious cycle; you aren’t getting pregnant, so you are stressed, and that stress could be keeping you from getting pregnant. So, give yourself the best possible chance: find ways to reduce your stress on your own, or, if one is available in your area, consider a mind/body program to help.
Mind Body Institute