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Can Anxiety Affect Your Fertility?

February 26, 2018
Katie Visco

The answer may surprise you

There isn't a clear, linear answer to this question.

  • For women who experienced high levels of anxiety and stress before undergoing IVF, their chances of successfully conceiving were equal to those who were reportedly less stressed before their IVF treatment.
  • Stress can cause missed periods. As a result, women attempting to become pregnant through sexual intercourse may have their chances of conception negatively affected by stress.
  • Taking care of your mental health is important when trying to conceive.


The impact of stress on IVF success

Experts weigh in

Attempting to conceive can be extremely stressful. It can even take a toll on a woman's mental health. So, it makes sense that researchers in 2011 examined whether emotional distress in women attempting to conceive is associated with their failure or success to become pregnant. Luckily, the study found that high levels of anxiety experienced by women before undergoing IVF treatment did not affect their results negatively. The research study's conclusion stated that, "The findings of this meta-analysis should reassure women and doctors that emotional distress caused by fertility problems or other life events co-occurring with treatment will not compromise the chance of becoming pregnant."

Answers pertaining to conception without treatment are still murky

Researchers are still unsure how, and if, mental health affects fertility

According to Dr. Alyssa Dweck, you can miss you period due to stress. Dr. Dweck went on to explain to Women's Health that "this particular area of the brain, the hypothalamus, is where a lot of the hormones for your period are regulated," and that the hypothalamus is affected by stress. So, stress may have some impact on the process of attempting to conceive. However, researchers still do not have a definite answer as to whether one's mental health has a negative impact on their ability to become pregnant. Even then, common side effects of stress such as fatigue or a change in one's sex drive can affect low long it takes a woman to conceive.  

Remember to take care of yourself

Looking after your mental health should be a top priority

While there is no confirmation as to whether stress can lower one's chances of becoming pregnant, it is widely known that infertility can have a grave effect on one's mental health. Side effects include depression and anxiety. To manage your stress, it is important to reach out to loved ones and even mental health care workers during this stressful time. Journaling may also help. Practicing self-care habits to nurture your mental health will help in the long run, such as for when you do become pregnant. The overall message is to take care of your mental health. Doing so will benefit both you and your future child in the long run.


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