The way your body deals with stress is to send out chemical markers that increase inflammation, in the hope that the inflammation will attract other things in our blood that will heal the stress. However, our body perceives all stress the same, whether it is a cut or burn, or psychological stress like a bad day at work, or worry about not falling pregnant when you have been trying for some time.
Just relax and you will fall pregnant
How many times have you heard “Stop trying so hard and it will happen”, or “Just relax and you will fall”. These annoying little comments tend to frustrate people who are having trouble falling pregnant, but there is a ring of truth to them.
Let’s look at what stress does to the cells in your body. Imagine every cell has a layer of fat around them, this layer of fat is a protective mechanism, it allows good messages in and out of the cell, and blocks bad ones. Stress responses in the body permit this fat layer to “oxidise”. What does that mean? Think about when you have got a good quality extra virgin olive oil and kept it in the light and heat for too long, it gets “stressed”, and “oxidises”, and it will turn rancid. It won’t taste as good, but what matters most, is the properties of the oil have changed from being a healthy fat, to a dangerous one. This is what happens to the fat layer in our cells when exposed to stress, they essentially “go off”. Once they have oxidised, they don’t do their job as protectors anymore, their DNA structure has been changed, and they are set on a path of destruction. For fertility issues this means deformed sperm, poor eggs, weak endometrial linings, high NK cells that attack the foetus, and inflamed pathways for the sperm and the egg to manoeuvre.
How to relax to become pregnant
So knowing this scary scenario, what can we do about it?
- Practice mind-fullness techniques as part of your stress management during pregnancy. Be in the moment and accept what is happening around you with grace and gratitude.
- Avoid physically stressing your body by doing gentle exercise like yoga or swimming and avoiding high impact activity.
- Eat foods that are full of antioxidants, as they will fight against oxidation occurring.
- Take time to relax. Schedule yourself time to just be yourself and enjoy simple things, like reading a book, having a massage or watching the sunset.
- Seek help if you need it. Stress can get the better of any of us, so talking to a professional psychologist /counsellor or taking herbal tea and tonics that help the body adapt to stress will reduce your load and help you look at things in a different light.
You don’t have to stop trying so hard, but please try to stop beating yourself up if things don’t go to plan.
Treat yourself and your partner with love, kindness and respect.