If you’re suffering with infertility, you already know that stress is related to fertility treatments. However, many women believe being stressed contributes to their fertility problems and think the best way to solve it is to leave their high powered or demanding job immediately.
BUT, research finds infertility certainly causes stress - not vice versa.
In fact, even when physical stress or emotional stress does interfere with your menstrual cycle, stress-induced hormonal changes are usually self-correcting and self-limiting. That means when there is a persistent fertility problem that follows stress, the stress was most likely a trigger for a pre-existing medical condition or predisposition.
Think about it. Women can conceive under the most stressful circumstances if there is no physiological problem - even traumatized women and war prisoners often get pregnant. If reproductive systems are as vulnerable to stress as many believe, the human species would have perished long ago. And that means Aunt Fannie’s advice to, “just relax and then you’ll get pregnant” is a myth.
This means - don't leave your job to reduce stress levels while going through fertility treatment, unless you wanted to leave anyway! Quitting your job is often counter-productive since any drastic change in daily life usually increases stress levels. Even good change. That’s because stress levels go up when predictability goes down, so familiar routines are usually more stress-reducing than unstructured free-time.
Besides, a job that requires a regular wake-up schedule will help to reset your biological clock each day, a good thing for energy and for mood. And here’s the best benefit of all - work relationships can offer both distraction and support. Even if you choose not to tell your work-friends about your treatment, you can still get support when you don’t feel well – for example, jokes when you feel down, and referrals and resources to make the rest of your life easier.
But since reducing stress is always a good idea, especially during fertility treatment, here are some suggestions that do not include quitting your job:
Bottom line, give yourself a break and remind yourself, again and again, that infertility usually causes stress, but stress does not usually cause infertility.
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