‘Stress makes you believe that everything has to happen right now. Faith reassures you that everything will happen in the right time.’
The pre-conception phase is ideally the time to prepare your mind and body for pregnancy. Many couples find this time stressful. They feel an added pressure to take note of dates and ovulation cycles whilst also meeting in with the time frames and expectations they have set up for themselves. What most people do not realise is that stress and anxiety play a major role in the outcome of the preconception phase. Issues based around infertility for both men and women have a strong link to the state of a couples’ mental health and emotional wellbeing.
It is important to listen to your body during this time and keep your medical practitioner up-to-date with the way you are feeling both physically and mentally.
When our bodies are in constant fight or flight mode, we produce hormones such as adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol. These stress hormones can cause numerous changes to the body and negatively affect our health. As with anything the way stress impacts fertility is very individual. It is not exactly clear how stress impacts the preconception phase and issues with delayed conception or infertility, although according to research there is a significant link between high levels of stress hormones, ovulation, libido, sperm count and the right levels of hormones present in the body for conception. Contributing stressors may include:
- General everyday stressors
- Poor diet
- Relationship issues
- Health issues
- Lack of movement and/or exercise
- Grief, loss, and trauma
It has also been shown that when stress-reduced practices are regularly applied by those struggling to conceive, a considerable increase in their chance of conception is evident. Below I have included some ‘stress reduction’ activities.
Meditation is a great way to help restore your calm and channel your inner peace. The beauty of this practice is that you only need to spend a few minutes a day in mediation to notice a significant difference.
Yoga practice has benefits for both the mind and body. It will help improve your strength, balance, stamina and flexibility as well as this amazing mental discipline. I love how it strengthens the connection between the mind and body allowing you to practice becoming more in tune and to listen to your body when it speaks.
Massage helps to relieve the physical tension in the body. It basically puts the body in the complete opposite to the ‘fight or flight’ response lowering your heart rate, slowing down your breathing and relaxing the body.
Acupuncture works in a similar way to massage in that it also elicits a sense of calm within the body by turning down the fight or flight response. It produces the ‘feel good’ hormones and opens the gateways within the body to encourage a steady flow for your feelings, emotions and physical alignments.
Mindfulness and Relaxation practice is a great way to focus and set your intentions for the day ahead as well as an excellent way to unwind at the end of a busy day. Learning how to access this mental state can serve as a very powerful tool during times of stress and anxiety.
Sleep or lack of sleep greatly contributes to your heightened stress and anxiety levels. Your body rests, heals and rejuvenates during your sleep. Experts say that the average adult needs between 7-9 hours of sleep per night! Sleep tight!
Eat a Healthy Diet full of fresh produce, low in refined sugar and junk food, minimal caffeine, alcohol and plenty of water. Fuelling the body with all the right things keeps us happy and energises the mind.
Taking care of your health and wellbeing is just as important through the preconception phase as it is during pregnancy. It sets the foundation and building blocks to begin with the right energy and confidence for a healthy, happy pregnancy and introduction to motherhood.