Stress can affect your ability to get pregnant on multiple levels. Hormones are one of the areas which are hugely impacted via a part of the brain called the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus controls the pituitary and adrenal responses, which produce and regulate the level of stress hormones in your body. The pituitary regulates both how much of a hormone is made and how much is released in the body. Changes to it’s response can have dramatic affect on the cocktail of hormones including FSH and LH. These are key for conception, necessary for ovulation, fertilisation, fallopian tube functioning and implantation of the egg.
Women who participated in a mind/body program such as self hypnosis or meditation for stress reduction while undergoing IVF treatment had a significantly higher pregnancy rate than those who do not. 52% versus 20%.
American Society of Reproductive Medicine publication.
Stress and Fertility
A study by the University of California in 2005 showed women who were stressed produced 20% less eggs during a cycle than women who were not experiencing symptoms of stress.
With each of the cycles, the fertilisation rates dropped by more than 20% with the same women who were experiencing stress in their lives.
Adrenalin and Fertility
A study in 2011 by Oxford University looked into how couple trying to get pregnant would benefit from using relaxation techniques while trying to get pregnant.
In the study, 274 women took part in the program where their salvia was tested throughout their cycles. Cortisol and adrenalin levels were tested. It was found that the top 25% of women with higher levels of adrenalin had a 12% reduction in their chances of conceiving. There was no difference with higher rates of cortisol.
Stress and Stopping IVF
In 2004 Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden carried out a study looking at the reasons why couples stop fertility treatment. The number one reason to stop fertility treatment, 26%, was the psychological stress of infertility and the IVF process. The other reasons were a poor prognosis, 25%, spontaneous pregnancy in 19%, physical burden in 6%, serious disease in 2%, and other reasons in 7%.
In this study the IVF treatment was subsidised so this does not account for the financial burden often experienced in the UK.
Anxiety and Depression and Fertility
A 1993 study, led by one of the worlds leading experts on women’s health and how our thoughts and emotions can impact our health, Alice D. Domar PhD, revealed just how distressing infertility can be.
The study demonstrated that the levels of anxiety and depression in women with infertility equaled those of women with conditions such as cancer, hypertension and heart disease - an no-one tells them just to relax! The results for women with infertility were only slightly lower than those of women with AIDS and Chronic Pain.
If you are interested in reducing your stress or in talking further about hypnofertility please contact me.