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How to Keep Stress From Harming Your Fertility

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Updated May 21, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Can Stress Keep You From Getting Pregnant?
Stressed woman pulls at her hair

Infertility is stressful, but stress does not cause infertility.

Marijus Auruskevicius / Shutterstock

Whether stress itself can make getting pregnant difficult is a matter of debate. The current thinking is that stress alone does not cause infertility. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine states in their stress and infertility pamphlet, "Even though infertility is very stressful, there isn't any proof that stress causes infertility."

Extreme stress may affect fertility, but rarely in ways that would lead to long term trouble with getting pregnant.

For example, you may have experienced a late period during an unusually stressful time. But that was just one period.

So if you've been told to "just relax, and it will happen," you should know that a vacation alone is not going to cure your infertility.

(However, a vacation may lower your stress levels from dealing with the infertility itself! A mighty fine plan, if you ask me.)

When Stress Can Lead to Trouble Getting Pregnant

While stress alone does not seem to cause infertility, stress can push us toward unhealthy behaviors and un-baby-making-friendly lifestyles. These unhealthy behaviors can affect our fertility.

For example, when you're stressed out, you may....

  • Sleep too much or sleep too little.
  • Give into emotional eating or not allow enough time to eat right.
  • Not find enough time for exercise, or push yourself exercise too hard.
  • Drink one too many alcoholic drinks.
  • Smoke, or, if you quit smoking, start smoking again.
  • Drink too much coffee, especially if you're sleep deprived.
  • Lose interest in having sex.

All of these are habits that can affect your fertility.

How? Let's talk about that...

First up, let's look at sleep and fertility...
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