Could This Be The Real Reason You're Not Getting Pregnant?
One of the most frequent questions women ask when trying to conceive is “Why am I not getting pregnant?”
You might be monitoring all the right things, tracking your ovulation, and avoiding alcohol and coffee. Your doctor might say that everything is healthy, and your sleeping schedule, weight and stress levels are all under control. You’ve created the perfect environment for conception, and yet, nothing.
You might have been trying for several months, maybe even years, with no results, so you might start to wonder: “Is there something wrong?”
The reality is, planning for Project Baby could be more stressful than you probably think.
You could be so caught up with the planning, that you might not even realise the potential stress in your life, whether you feel like you have it or not. The planner in you might want to make sure the environment is right, that you’re all set up financially, and that you have sex enough and eat healthy enough. You’ve probably concentrated so much on the perfect scenario, that you’ve created an overwhelming environment for conception, unable to let go because you might like that could be letting go of the only bit of control you have over the situation.
All the planning and monitoring could actually be the one thing getting in the way.
Once you let go, your chances of conceiving will soar. It is definitely harder said than done, but letting go of the sense of control, the desire to monitor every single bodily change, or what you do or no not eat, is going to be the most important change you’ll make. It’s easy to be in charge of many things, from our nutrition to our health, but it’s sub coming to mother nature is the most difficult, but important part.
You might argue that letting go can be even more stressful, that you’re not relaxed unless you’re planning. But ask yourself: are you really? You might feel at the end of the day you have done something because you have this super pretty “Project Baby” spreadsheet, however, when everything seems perfect and nothing is happening this can cause further stress, anxiety and frustration whether you like to admit it or not.
How Does Stress Contribute To Problems With Conceiving?
When we are stressed the body releases the hormone, cortisol, from the adrenal glands at the top of our kidneys. Cortisol is important in the body for multiple reasons, such as to regulate stress, blood sugar, metabolism, immune responses, blood pressure, to name a few. When we are stressed the body goes into Fight or Flight mode and needs to make a decision to fight the tiger or flee. When faced with stress other systems like digestion and reproduction shut down. Its unfortunate that the reproductive system is the one system in the body we can live without. And when the cortisol gets too high or is released very frequently we can also over work our adrenal glands.
Some of our female sex hormones are also stored in the adrenal glands so you can imagine what happens to these if our adrenals are over worked, they become imbalanced too.
Here’s where it get’s tricky – when one hormone is imbalanced this can have a knock on effect to the rest of our hormones. Cortisol triggers the release of glucose for energy. This triggers the release of the hormone insulin and can cause blood sugar imbalances when it lurches from high to low very quickly. This in itself can also trigger a stress response, more cortisol is released, our adrenals are overworked and our sex hormones impacted. Imbalanced insulin, cortisol and sex hormones can make baby making a difficult process.
Numerous studies regarding couples conceiving children suggests that chronic stress can lead to reproductive dysfunction. Various stress factors, including infection, malnutrition, anxiety and depression, trigger a rise in glucocorticoids that suppress reproductive functions.
Here’s How To Boost Fertility Naturally:
1. Implement Some Relaxation Techniques:
This can help to reduce the level of cortisol in the body in turn have a knock on effect in balancing your sex hormones once the adrenals are supported. Try implementing one a day, or even one per week depending on how stressed you are. You may not even feel “stressed” in its usual form but you may feel anxious, afraid or worried to plan or let go of planning. These are all emotions that can trigger a stress response.
2. Add Some Stress Relieving Foods To Your Diet
Foods such as whole grains, salmon, green leafy vegetables, avocados, dark chocolate and nuts and seeds all contain nutrients such as omega 3, zinc, folate, B vitamins, vitamin C, amino acids and antioxidants that can support the impact of stress on the body.
3. Balance Your Blood Sugar To Help Balance Hormones:
You can do this really simply by having protein with your carbohydrates, eating 5-6 small meals per day, reducing your intake of stimulants and refined foods.
4. Consider Your Real Needs To Plan
Sometimes letting go of control can be a difficult thing to do. It may even increase your stress for a period of time but by doing this in conjunction with some relaxation techniques (above) in the long run it may benefit you wholly. You may become less uptight about things needing to be perfect and in turn balance your hormones to help boost your moods and fertility.
If you’re curious and want to learn more about how to get pregnant, our podcast “5 Tips To Get Pregnant” is available now.
Trying to conceive or thinking about it? Get full access to Elysia’s The Broody Foody course now!
Elysia Doody is a Functional Nutritionist & Exercise Coach specialising in female health and wellness.
She’s embraced Functional Medicine to address her health concerns, and is now helping as many women as possible in a similar position. Taking everything she’s learned through education, her own health, and working with clients, she’s keen to share it all through online programmes.
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