Is stress impacting my fertility?
You may have heard that stress can make it harder to conceive, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself why that is?
I like explaining this in a simple, not overly technical way. Let’s get into it.
When you experience stress it means that your body is in "fight or flight mode" (which I'm sure is a term you have heard of). When there is a predator nearby (in the old days it might have been a tiger - today our predators are things like work and technology) your body senses it's not safe and sends out signals to your internal organs so that you can quickly escape your predator and run towards safety. Wouldn't it be lovely if we could all just get up and away from work?
Okay but all jokes aside, the most important takeaway from this example is: stress = your body doesn't feel safe.
With that in mind, does it make sense for your body to allow conception to occur is an unsafe environment (ie. your body)? NO!
So when you are stressed your body will prevent you from becoming pregnant as a protection mechanism! Isn’t that wild?
So, how do you recognize if you are stressed?
(very often we become so functional while experiencing chronic stress that we don't even realize we're stressed! )
First of all, if you've ever thought to yourself: "I wonder if I'm stressed?" then chances are you ARE! These thoughts, or your internal voice, is actually your subconscious mind screaming at you (to show you a red flag your body has been waving but you just haven't noticed yet).
Other signs your body may be feeling stressed are:
One of the best ways I have found to help determine if you are stressed is to observe your breathing patterns (this is where my East meets West approach to the body and wellness comes in).
Your inhalation triggers the sympathetic branch of your autonomic nervous system (ANS) while your exhalation triggers the parasympathetic branch. When your inhalations and exhalations are not balanced throughout your day, this leads to a dysregulation of your nervous system, which is precisely what stress is (did you know I used to be a neuroscientist? I could go on and on about this 😁).
The other way to tell if your breathing is triggering your body's stress response is to notice WHERE in your body you are breathing. Many of us are chest breathers, and when you breathe mainly in your chest you are not fully utilizing your diaphragm which is the main muscle that regulates the breath and therefore the nervous system.
This is why breath work (in yoga we call this pranayama) is such a great way to balance your nervous system and regulate your stress!
Breath work is a big part of my 21 days to INNER CALM on your Fertility Journey program.
Over 21 days, I will teach you to become aware of your natural breath patterns, and when you notice, you will gain a greater sense of the state of your nervous system throughout your day (which will help you move out of stress and into calm).
I am so excited for this!
ps. Registration closes today (August 31)!!!
I spent over half my life studying the sciences, specifically physiology and neuroscience. Then, while teaching science to high school students, I developed an interest in yoga. It was the only activity I found that was able to help my migraines and debilitating anxiety. I have devoted the last decade of my life to 1) becoming a mom and 2) immersing myself in the study of yoga and Eastern medicine. Today, I am passionate about bridging together Western and Eastern sciences to better understand the reasons why many women have difficulty becoming and staying pregnant.