Calendars, temperatures, ovulation tests… trying to conceive can be overwhelming. But, it doesn't always have to be. Getting pregnant comes more easily to some women than others. Fertility issues are emotionally draining; nothing is more stressful than wanting to conceive but not being able to. The good news is, with the exception of medical infertility, not all methods of baby-making need to induce stress. Conceiving stress-free is the best route because it legitimately increases your chances of conception when you can relax. Some research even shows that lowering stress levels, along with a healthy diet and exercise has been shown to boost fertility by up to 80%.
It is certain that, when it comes to conception, it is important to take the pressure off, but how and why do we do that?
Stop Thinking About It
The mind-body connection is of vital importance. Surely you've heard the old, "relax and it'll happen," phrase. The important thing to note is that there is some truth in it. The more tension you add to your body, the higher the chances it will affect your cycle. Doctors aren't sure all the reasons why less stress helps fertility, but it could be because stressful situations reduce blood flow, thereby delaying ovulation. Stress can also affect the healthy functioning of the hypothalamus, which is the brain gland responsible for regulating your appetite, emotions, and the hormones that tell your ovaries to release eggs.
Opt for Casual
Be comfortable. The health of your body matters, especially when you are trying to grow a life inside you. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes; don't add physical stress to your hair and skin. If you don't practice meditation or relaxation techniques, consider trying it for your overall peace of mind. The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed your body will be.
Take a Vacation
Pregnancy can be nerve-wracking, but try not to agonize yourself. If you find that your anxiety is increasing, take a break. Whether that just means carving out some extra downtime or getting away for a while; do what you need to do in order to take the focus and pressure off. If you feel yourself becoming fixated on the two-week waiting period between ovulation and your period, shift gears. Call a friend, catch a movie, pick a project, and turn your attention away. As hard as it may be, worrying really won't make anything better.
Make Healthy Choices
You don't have to be a health nut in order to get pregnant, but eating right and moderate exercise will make your body, and the environment you hope to grow a little one in, much happier. Make a habit of low-stress regular exercise, such as swimming or walking. Poor nutrition can often play a role in fertility issues, as well as exposure to toxins. Do your best to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with natural, whole foods that have fewer additives and toxins, so you have the physical and emotional energy you need. Drink plenty of water; hydration improves the quality of your cervical mucus and promotes good health. Don't drink alcohol or smoke, even as a stress-reliever, because these can dramatically decrease your fertility. Rest matters, also. Go to bed early, because getting into a healthy sleep cycle may be able to help regulate your body's other systems, including reproduction.
Take Vitamins or Seek Herbal Remedies
Not in addition to any fertility medications, but some women find aid in natural herbs and vitamins. Red raspberry leaf, for example, is known as a fertility herb with a high nutrient profile, as well as red clover, which contains many vitamins and trace minerals and has been known to help balance hormones and restore fertility. Vitamin deficiency can absolutely affect the way our bodies respond and absorb what they need. Vitamin D, C, B, as well as Folic Acid and Zinc, are all common and vital while trying to conceive, as well as during pregnancy.
Don't Obsess About Ovulation
Don't let the calendar rule you, because conception can happen outside the rule book for cycle patterns. It doesn't hurt to know when you ovulate. But when you start crunching the numbers for how long sperm can survive (3-6 days in your body) and how long your egg is available (about a day), it's very easy to let the calendar consume when you conceive, and unintentionally add unneeded stress to the situation. Typically, you are most fertile anywhere from four days before ovulation through the day of ovulation.
Say No to the Chore
Charting works for a lot of couples, but never let it turn sex into a chore. Conceiving the relaxed way means keeping the focus on the intimate connection and passion that this time brings. Getting pregnant may be the goal, but your relationship bonds your emotional and physical health and helps your body be in its most relaxed, pleasurable state. This does not mean that you have to be relaxed or happy in order to conceive, but it certainly won't hurt.
"But the Books All Say…"
Try your best to avoid "information overload." Pregnancy and conception books can be very helpful, as well as getting advice from friends. But there is certainly a limit to how much information you take in before it starts to stress you out. Everything from the internet to the in-laws, it's easy to drown in the "do's" and "don'ts" about getting pregnant and having children. Spare yourself the stress from delving into all the what-ifs, need-to-knows, or scary things that might happen if you can't conceive, or even during your pregnancy.
Seek Help if You Need it
Infertility can be caused by a huge number of factors, including hormone imbalance, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, endometriosis, high levels of prolactin, or any other number of issues. While it is valuable not to stress about whether you will conceive or not, trust your instincts. If you have concerns or feel it is taking too long, it doesn't hurt to seek help from your doctor or a fertility specialist. Trust your body, listen to its cues, and above all, remember that stress never solves anything.