The Link Between Stress and Fertility: How Can Nutrition Help?
Published: 05:27AM 20 January 2023
Stress and other mental health issues can frequently arise while you are dealing with infertility and are difficult to manage.
It's not well known if stress can actually prevent conception. Stress can make it more difficult to conceive, however, and that much is certain.
We'll also go over some potential strategies for dealing with stress and minimizing its negative effects on conception.
Stress and Ovarian Function
High levels of stress and decreased fertility rates have been linked in a number of studies. Having a baby during times of stress is not recommended.
The signaling between the ovaries and the brain is disrupted by stress hormones like cortisol, which causes ovulation to malfunction.
Women who are infertile are found to be under more stress than women who are fertile. The couple may experience additional stress due to the fertility treatment itself.
Additionally, stressed-out people engage in romantic relations less frequently.
Additionally, they develop alcohol or tobacco addictions, which again have a negative effect on fertility.
An individual's stress levels may also have an impact on the effectiveness of assisted reproductive technologies like IVF.
Couples are therefore more likely to become parents when they are content and at ease.
Has stress been linked to infertility?
Stress hinders a woman's ability to become pregnant, even though it's unlikely that stress can cause infertility on its own. According to research, women who have a history of depression are twice as likely to struggle with infertility. Additionally, anxiety can increase the amount of time needed to become pregnant.
Stress lowers the pregnancy rate, according to studies on women undergoing in vitro fertilization.
Does stress management enhance ovarian function?
In short, stress management may enhance fertility. However, little research has been done on how stress management affects fertility rates.
The majority of the available research points to a beneficial effect. Programs for mind-body infertility have been shown to increase the likelihood of pregnancy among infertile women.
There are five activities that can be used to lessen stress:
1.Dietary changes - While there is no one-size-fits-all remedy, there are some foods and nutrients, such as dark chocolate, chamomile tea, and lavender, that can help promote relaxation and reduce stress. Additionally, it's crucial to limit or stay away from foods like processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine that are known to raise stress levels. You can lessen stress and encourage relaxation by making easy dietary changes.
2.Set sleep as a top priority - One of the many advantages of getting a good night's sleep is that stress levels are reduced. Your body can handle stressors, both physical and mental, better when you are well-rested. For this reason, it's crucial to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Your body will be better equipped to deal with whatever comes your way, in addition to making you feel more rested and awake. Therefore, be sure to get enough sound sleep each night to lower stress and enhance your general health and well-being.
3.Walking - Nothing helps stress levels lower like a calm outdoor stroll. People of all ages and fitness levels can benefit from walking, which has been shown to be an effective form of exercise for reducing stress. Walking is great exercise and a great way to get some sunshine and fresh air. It can be done almost anywhere. A wonderful way to catch up and spend some quality time with friends or family is to go for a walk together.
4.Meditation - Practices like meditation and controlled breathing can help our hearts beat more slowly and relax our muscles. By encouraging mindfulness, meditation also lowers stress. Being in the present and paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without passing judgment is the practice of mindfulness. We can learn to control our stress response and lessen the detrimental effects that stress has on our lives by practicing mindfulness.
5.Yoga - Yoga can lower stress by encouraging relaxation and mindfulness. Increasing feelings of happiness and acceptance of oneself can also be aided by it. If you're looking for a way to lessen stress, yoga might be a good option for you.
A key strategy for managing stress is healthy eating. Stress has a more detrimental effect on our health when our bodies are not properly nourished. Stress and nutrition are related. Here are some recommendations for eating well:
- Make a point of consuming a variety of fresh, minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein sources.
- Avoid juices, sugared soda, and other alcoholic beverages that are sweetened.
- Choosing fatty fish twice a week for a total of eight to twelve ounces will provide you with the health benefits of omega-3 fats. These include salmon, sardines, herring, etc. For a plant-based source of omega-3s, consume one tablespoon of ground flaxseed each day.
- Regularly eat protein; aim for 50-60 grams per day. Proteins can be found in soy products like tofu, dals and lentils, and milk and milk products.
- Every three to five hours, eat a small meal or snack that contains a small serving of lean protein, such as one tablespoon of nuts, one ounce of low-fat cheese or skinless chicken, one cup of soy milk, one container of light yogurt, or one ounce of cottage cheese.
- Almost all grain options should be whole grains, such as whole-grain corn, cracked wheat, barley, oatmeal, brown rice, low-fat popcorn, and products made entirely of whole wheat.
- No more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day. Utilize products with no salt added, low sodium content, or no salt at all. Limit eating out and processed foods in cans and boxes. Lemon, garlic, onion, flavored vinegar, herbs, spices, and other unsalted seasonings can all be used to season food.
- Avoid trans and hydrogenated fats because they raise cholesterol. Seek them out in the food packaging's ingredient list.
- Consume at least 25 grams of fiber daily from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Follow the Food Pyramid: 6-10 one-ounce servings of grains, 2-4 servings of fruits, and 3-5 half-cup servings of vegetables per day.
One of the most challenging and delicate issues a person or couple can experience is infertility. Recognizing the emotional complexities of the circumstance and accepting that dealing with fertility issues entails some level of stress are both beneficial. Chronic stress, however, can actually worsen the underlying causes of infertility and has a negative impact on a person's happiness and health.
It is best to experiment with a variety of stress-reduction techniques, including yoga, meditation, light to moderate exercise, walking, and a healthy diet. They can also seek professional counseling and a variety of other activities. To increase their chances of conception, people who are under stress should not be afraid to talk to their doctor about their feelings.
Jayti Shah is a Clinical Nutritionist with a master's degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA). Over the last 9 years, she has helped 400 clients in their clinical and weight loss journeys. She works with SocialBoat as a nutrition consultant.
At SocialBoat, we offer custom diet plans and guided workouts to help you achieve your goals in a 360-degree approach. Our gamified experience ensures that you don’t find workouts boring and we reward you for being consistent with your efforts.