Improve your chance of falling pregnant by reducing stress

falling pregnant

No one tells you how stressful falling pregnant can be.  Trying to conceive is supposed to be a joyful happy time, but for those of us who have tried month after month without success – it can become an incredibly painful and all-consuming experience.

Infertility often takes over your entire life.  You start planning everything around ovulation dates and the possibility that you might be pregnant by then.  Every waking thought becomes about how you can improve your chance of falling pregnant and whether you’ve ruined your chances this month because you … (insert any number of everyday things that are said to affect your fertility – alcohol, crappy diet, forgetting multivitamins, too little sleep, etc). 

Before you know it, trying to conceive feels incredibly stressful – the very thing you don’t want to be feeling because stress itself is linked to infertility.

Suddenly you’re in the catch 22 of wanting something so badly that your entire being aches for it and you feel so anxious about the fact that it’s not happening  – which ironically is probably making falling pregnant even harder for you.

Everyone around tells you to ‘just relax – it will happen’ and this just silently enrages you even more.

‘How can I relax?’ You think, ‘What if I never fall pregnant?’

Stop… and breathe.

See if you can stop your mind racing through all the worst case scenarios just for a minute and take a long slow deep breath.

If you’re in the grips of full blown anxiety and obsession around infertility you might not be able to reduce your stress just yet.  Often when we’re in the thick of it we dismiss even the need to destress. It’s almost like we’re blind to our own struggle and we can’t see the way out, even if it is right in front of us.

I was definitely there.

After our first loss and throughout the next two I was so so stressed and anxious and yet I kept doing the same things over and over.

Kept trying to fall pregnant.

Kept anxiously mulling over how I would ever survive if I lost another baby. (aka imagining all the worst case scenarios)

Kept adding up the dates in my head of how many weeks pregnant I might be by this date in the future and then not making plans… just in case.

Kept frantically looking for answers everywhere.

Kept stressing that it was something I was doing wrong to cause this.

After our third loss, I finally woke up and realised we needed to stop.

I had lost all hope and decided I didn’t want to live like this anymore.

Little by little, I started to unpack my own anxiety and stress and it wasn’t until I looked back that I shook my head and wondered how it was possible that I didn’t realise exactly how stressed I was.

It took me many months and lots of work, but eventually I found a way down from the stress of trying to conceive and taught myself how to stay down from it when we decided it was time to start trying again, and then throughout the anxious journey of our last pregnancy after three losses.

How to reduce stress when you’re trying to conceive

1. Keep living your life not just trying to conceive.

This sounds simple but it’s so easy to get caught in the trap of planning everything around trying to fall pregnant, the possibility that you might be pregnant and when you’ll have your baby, that you forget to keep living your life.  Unfortunately this often means we put off holidays, promotions, basically moving forward in any way because we feel like we have to put it all on hold until we fall pregnant.

But if falling pregnant ends up taking months, or even years, you’ll probably find yourself becoming increasingly stressed because the one thing you’re so focused on isn’t working.

Instead keep focused on living your happy life. I ended up writing myself a ‘happy list’ to help me stay focused on enjoying my life and not putting off things that I would otherwise have avoided because I was trying to conceive.

2. Move it on out

Movement really is one of the best ways to relieve stress. It helps us get out of our heads and into our body and physically moves the effects of stress as well.

It really doesn’t matter what type of movement you do.  Pick something you actually enjoy doing and it won’t just help you shift the stress but will help make you feel happier as well.

3. Breathe

Deep belly breathing has been proven to be one of the best ways to calm your nervous system down when it gets on high alert (aka feeling stressed).

The best part – it’s simple, portable and you can do it whenever you feel you need to calm down.  Simply breathe deeply into your belly as slowly as you can. Hold your breath for a moment and slowly release. Repeat until you start to feel your body relax.

4 Meditation and visualisation

If you’ve never meditated before try starting with a guided meditation. You can find these everywhere these days – my favourite is the insight app. 

Visualisation is similar to meditation, except that instead of trying to quieten the mind you direct it to visualise what it is that you want to create. The best part about visualisation is your body can’t tell the difference between you actually experiencing something and just visualising it. So by creating positive images in your head of what you want to experience, your body actually gets to feel all of these good feelings (and therefore reduces your feelings of stress).

Be careful though because the reverse is also true, so if you’re unconsciously imagining all of the worst case scenarios, your body is experiencing all of those negative emotions.  Visualisation is one of the main things I focused on when we started trying again, and throughout the pregnancy to manage the stress and anxiety.

So they’re my top four tips for reducing your stress to help improve your chance of falling pregnant. Have you experienced the stress of trying to conceive? How did you manage to reduce the stress – I’d love to hear how below.

If you yourself are stressed out and ttc, start with these few steps and then check out my 28 Day Online Fertility Yoga Course for everything I used to destress and prepare for my pregnancy with Luca and get in touch if you have any questions. Good luck!

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