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  • Writer's pictureGrace Killpack

Stress: the fertility killer

Let's face it, we are ALL BUSY! All the time. Everyday. Schedules are packed with one thing after the other, specially now that the world seems to have finally opened again, We are catching up on lost time.

We all felt the dark days (years) of the pandemic and how isolating it was not to see friends, family, and loved ones. We were scared of getting sick, or getting other people sick. Most of us lived in fear, but yet still tried to live a life not knowing when the end date of this new life would be.

I often wonder how this type of stress has impacted women who are trying to conceive. Stress is the ultimate fertility killer. Stress affects our hormonal production, our periods, our cycles, our egg quality, and our ability to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy. It is almost always the first thing I address with the women I treat in my office who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to have a baby. When your mind is stressed, your whole body is stressed! Your body does not know the difference whether you are being chased by a sabertooth tiger or are trying to meet a work deadline! The body's stress response is the same: everything else apart from your heart pumping blood, gets downregulated so as to keep you alive (I.e. reproductive hormones). Forget about carrying a child, you just need to survive. This is how the body has evolved, and still continues to do so to preserve itself.

Outside of acupuncture and herbal medicine, here are some tips I love to share with my patients about what they can do to manage stress in their bodies:

  1. Breathe. 5 minutes a day, in the morning or before bedtime: inhale to the count of 4, hold your breath for 4 counts, exhale slowly 8 counts.

  2. As soon as you rise up in the morning, say ONE AFFIRMATION to yourself: "I am good enough" or "Today is a new day and it will be a fantastic one!" or " I deserve love and happiness."

  3. Drink water. We are so busy that we have forgotten the thirst signal our bodies give us. Remember this: if you feel thirsty - you are already DEHYDRATED! Try drinking 10-20 ounces of water upon rising in the morning, and spread out 60-80 ounces throughout the day. It is helpful to have a big container filled with water so it is ready to drink anytime!

  4. Sleep. Lights out by 11pm (unless you are a shift worker, aim for 7hrs minimum)

  5. Go for a walk (in nature, ideally). Connecting to the Earth and its abundance and beauty is so deeply satisfying to our souls!

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