Here are 8 ways to stay sane and manage stress that comes with trying to conceive in this highly connected (and opinionated) world.
Trying to conceive tends to come across as a happy period of time where you wait in anticipation for the two lines on your pregnancy test kit when you miss your period. It is also a time when you get to do the deed with a new goal in mind — to have a child together. However, for some couples, conceiving might be harder than originally expected.
From your own expectations, to pressure from your family and friends, there are numerous sources that could put unnecessary stress on this supposedly joyous journey.
How stress affects your fertility
A study found that amongst the women evaluated, those with the highest alpha-amylase levels (an indicator of stress) in their saliva, were 29% less likely to conceive and would take longer to get pregnant .
Stress also has a knock-on effect. It could lead to you wanting to have sex less often, increasing your intake of caffeine or alcohol, having bad sleep, or developing unhealthy eating habits .
Knowing that stress levels have a negative impact on your fertility, it’s only prudent to ensure that you remain as stress-free as possible on this baby-making journey.
Here are 8 ways to help you keep your mental health in check while trying to conceive (TTC).
Ways to reduce stress while trying to conceive
To help reduce stress, you can take actionable steps to improve your fertility health. This way, you have something else to focus on, besides simply having sex during your fertile window.
One way to improve your fertility health is to exercise regularly, which is also a direct way to reduce stress. However, it’s important not to overdo it on strenuous workouts, especially if you were not physically active before. This means opting for low to moderate workouts that are also pregnancy friendly, such as jogging, yoga, walking or swimming .
It’s also key to make sure that you take vitamins that can help to boost your fertility, such as folic acid, vitamin C, iron, and more .
#2 Build a strong support system
You are not alone.
Having a strong support system matters not only when you’re pregnant, but also when you’re trying to conceive. You are going to want to have positive, encouraging and empathic friends, family and even colleagues around.
Having people around you that see the glass half-full, can help you to think positively and provide you with helpful advice, as well as a good listening ear. Major plus points if they can make you laugh (a major reliever of stress)!
#3 Learn to block out the noise
“You’re still not pregnant yet?”
“Haven’t you guys been trying for the past half a year already?”
You don’t need more reminders that you aren’t pregnant yet.
Besides having positive people around you, you should also try to block out the negative passing comments, to ensure that it does not affect your mental well-being. While some comments might have good intentions, coming from a place of care and concern, it could be demoralising for someone that’s been trying hard to get pregnant, unsuccessfully.
This can also be done by employing positive thinking, such as reframing or filtering for the positive aspects of the conversation, rather than feeling bad about yourself .
While you might let some closer friends in on the fact that you are trying for a baby, not everyone needs to know. You can always share the happy news when you’re expecting!
#4 Go big on self care
No one else is more important on this journey but yourself.
You can practice self-care by:
- Getting some me time
- Reading a book
- Relaxing at a massage or spa
- Picking up a new hobby
- Going on a social media cleanse
This can help you to take your mind off conceiving, while also helping to reduce your stress levels.
Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and help one find their zen.
You can also practice mindfulness, which is to be mindful – to be aware of your thoughts, emotions and senses. This can help you to better understand yourself, what’s going on in your mind, while reducing anxiety and stress .
To learn how to meditate and become mindful, you can look for resources such as Mindful, Headspace or Calm.
#6 Go for therapy
If you’re struggling to manage your stress and get in the right headspace, could seek the support of a therapist. Therapies that can help you to cope with stress include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to spot negative thinking habits, music therapy to help relax and positive psychology to be more optimistic .
Speaking to a therapist or counsellor could help you to offload your bottled-up thoughts, as well as better understand how you can cope with the changes in your emotions and stress levels.
#7 Communicate with your partner
Being the one that will ultimately carry the baby, you could feel that the pressure weighs heavier on your shoulders.
However, it takes both hands to clap when trying to conceive. Hence, it’s important to share your feelings and thoughts with your partner. This helps to ensure that you are both on the same page when it comes to expectations.
Communication is also key to help ensure that conversations surrounding your conceiving, be it around friends or family, are comfortable.
#8 Don’t compare
Here’s a reminder that comparison is the thief of joy.
Yes, there are couples that seem to conceive at first try, and you might be wondering why you aren’t quite as successful (and that’s completely normal!). However, it is possible that it could take more than a couple of months, or even years to successfully conceive.
That is why it’s crucial that you take it easy on yourself and set realistic expectations. Afterall, each couple’s fertility differs, and could be affected by multiple factors, including age, lifestyle, weight, hormone levels etc .
Enjoy the process and consider additional help
The arrival of Aunt Flo each month could come with a hint of disappointment, knowing that you were unsuccessful in conceiving, yet again. However, don’t be disheartened. Each couple’s conception journey is different, and maybe that’s just the universe’s way of telling you it’s not time just yet.
The journey to conceiving should be one that comes with joy — not just when you successfully conceive, but between you and your partner as you enjoy the process of baby-making (orgasms included). Finding the fun in this journey of trying for a child could help you to feel happier, especially when you take the ‘setbacks’ of your period arriving in your stride.
To help you along your conception journey, you can consider using TTC products, such as the twoplus Sperm Guide. This unique tool helps to increase the odds of natural conception, by helping more sperms reach the egg — think of it as a fertility product for men and women.
Alternatively, you can also opt for the twoplus Applicator, a handy product that allows you to directly deposit sperm right where it matters in the vagina, thereby optimising the chances of fertilisation.