Alcohol Drugs And Mental Health
Alcohol and non-medical drug use can be bad for your mental health, making feelings of depression and anxiety worse if you have them. Sometimes people may also use alcohol or drugs as a way of trying to cope with mental health problems. When you are planning a pregnancy it is best to stop drinking alcohol and taking drugs.
Talk to your GP if you have worries about not being able to stop alcohol or drug use. They will be able to refer you to specialist services. As well as the NHS, there are a number of charities and support groups across the UK that can support you.
How To Relax While Trying To Get Pregnant
I hesitated in writing a post about how to relax while trying to get pregnant because I am probably the least qualified to discuss this.
Learning how to stop obsessing over getting pregnant is something that has not come naturally to me. The truth is, however, that stress can affect your fertility.
There is evidence that too much stress can affect:
- Egg Quality
- Male Fertility
But lets face it, these are stressful times. Its hard to focus on anything other than the breaking news and the next big announcement.
Add in dealing with stress and fertility worries and you have a disaster waiting to happen.
Most of us are in a state of stress right now even if we dont realize it.
Stress is such a constant in our lives that it has become the norm.
We dont even realize how much stress can effect out ability to do anything, including conceive a healthy baby.
The good news is that there are ways to not stress about getting pregnant.
Keeping reading for ways to control your anxiety over not conceiving.
This post contains affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure for more information.
Your Relationship With Your Partner
Planning a family with your partner can be a very exciting time. For some, trying to conceive can even improve your relationship.
For others, trying to conceive can cause some stress and sex may become routine or even feel like a chore. This can cause problems between partners, and in some cases may make you unsure about starting a family.
Its important for you and your partner to try to keep sex enjoyable by focusing on each other and your relationship, rather than worrying about conceiving. Try to also spend time together doing other things that are important to you as a couple.
If you or your partner is feeling worried about conceiving, try to give each other time to talk about it.
It may help to get professional support. Relate can offer you space for you to talk about your worries together in a safe and confidential place with a trained counsellor.
It may be helpful to deal with any problems in the relationship before you get pregnant or have the baby. But remember its never too late to get support.
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Maintain A Positive Attitude
Having a positive attitude is very important for your fertility.
Can anxiety stop you from getting pregnant? Maybe not, but stress definitely doesnt help your fertility.
Focus on becoming the healthiest, best you that you can be and feel confident that you are doing everything in your power to get pregnant.
You might find that fertility affirmation cards help you to stay positive.
Positive thinking is important throughout your fertility journey.
It can keep you energized and is an important component to your mental health and, of course, your relationship with your spouse.
It can be tough when you run into problems, but you must have faith that everything will work out the way its meant to be.
You might also get inspiration from other peoples stories of dealing with the disappointment of not conceiving.
Eat Carefully At Dinner
If youre prone to getting heartburn when pregnant, try to avoid any kind of food at dinner time that will trigger heartburn. In a few hours youll be heading to bed, and laying down will only make the heartburn worse. Stay away from spicy foods, especially since those are most likely the culprit to causing heartburn. If you do end up having heartburn at night, prop yourself up with more pillows so youre not lying flat on your back. It will help to alleviate the heartburn if youre in more of a sitting up position.
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The Science Behind Stress And Fertility
Several recent studies have found links between the womens levels of day-to-day stress and lowered chances of pregnancy. For example, women whose saliva had high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that marks stress, took 29% longer to get pregnant compared to those who had less.
Your body is smart, it knows that arent good times to have a baby, says Domar, a longtime infertility researcher who also is director of mind/body services at Boston IVF.
At the same time, stressed women probably also have sex less often, Domar says. And they may be more likely to smoke or drink too much alcohol or caffeine — behaviors that can hardly improve their odds.
Domar faced skepticism when she published a small study in 1990 showing that lowering stress with group therapy, individual cognitive behavior therapy, and relaxation techniques like guided imagery helped some infertile women get pregnant.
The medical community said I was stupid to believe that the mind had any control over the ovaries, Domar recalls.
Domar followed that with a much bigger study a decade later to report that among women who had trouble conceiving, those who received cognitive behavioral therapy were almost twice as likely to end up pregnant as those who didnt.
Today, researchers widely accept that stress and fertility are connected.
Set Boundaries For Yourself
“There are situations that are going to be very, very difficult. I have patients who say, ‘I can’t go to Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law is pregnant and I’m gonna cry through the whole dinner.’ Or, ‘Oh my God, I have this baby shower and I don’t want to go, but I feel I should go.’ I tell them that this is no time to ‘should’ on yourself. It’s as much their time as someone else’s time,” says Dr. Witkin.
Text and email are her recommended platforms to gently let friends, colleagues, or relatives know you’re not able to join an event that involves babies. If they know you’re trying to get pregnant, send them a note explaining your situation. “You don’t have to say it’s psychological. You can blame it on aches and pains. You don’t have to tell the truth,” says Dr. Witkin. And if there’s something you really can’t get out of? Email everyone ahead of time to let them know you may struggle at the event. “If someone doesn’t get it, don’t think that you can explain it to them. Just back off. Accept that you love this person but this area is their blind spot,” she says.
And remember: “You don’t have to be there for everybody. That’s what I meant when I said you have to be your own best friend.”
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Concentrate On Your Breathing
Stress can have a major effect on your breathing. It can cause you to take shorter, shallower breaths which decrease the oxygen in your body. This shallow breathing, in turn, can cause your stress levels to rise as your body reacts to the lack of oxygen. Yes, its a vicious cycle, but you can take control by focusing on your breathing and meditating.When you feel yourself getting stressed, sit or lie down, close your eyes, and take at least five deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth while paying attention to the rise and fall of your chest. As you breathe, try to relax and let your stress slip away.
What I Wish I Knew While Trying To Get Pregnant
Everyones fertility journey is different. From the outside, mine was 100% normal and healthy. But from the inside, it didnt feel normal.
From the moment we threw away my birth control to the moment the pregnancy test read positive, 5 months had past. In the fertility world, 5 months is totally healthy and average! But even though this was a healthy amount of time, it totally didnt feel that way. With each passing month, I got more and more nervous that my body wasnt capable of creating life. In these 5 months, I got a tiny taste of what many women deal with while struggling with infertility.
There are some things I wish I knew while I was trying to get pregnant to make my journey a happier one. There were so many anxieties that I faced that I totally didnt need to, and I am sharing a couple of thoughts out there to help out other mamas-to-be. Here are a few things I wish I knew while trying to get pregnant.
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Get A Preconception Checkup
Before you officially start trying, get a checkup. Ask your doctor aboutprenatal vitaminsthat havefolic acid, which helps protect against some birth defects, such asspina bifida. Folic acid works during the early stages of pregnancy, so that’s why it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough folic acid even before you get pregnant.
“Do this the cycle before you start trying,” says Paula Hillard, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University. “If you have any underlying medical problems, they need to be under control before you can safely become pregnant.”
Are You Trying Too Hard To Get Pregnant
Trying to conceive is supposed to be a natural process that is easy at least, that is what people would lead you to think. Yet, if you have been trying to conceive for many months or even years, you may realize that having children does not come easily for everyone. In fact, each month, a woman has only a twenty to thirty percent chance of conceiving. Most women will conceive within a year of trying, but a small percentage of women will still not conceive even after a year of diligently trying.
If you have been trying to conceive for any length of time, you have probably been given advice from well-meaning friends or family. You have likely heard the suggestion that you need to relax and stop trying so hard. Maybe you were told something like this I knew this couple that tried for years to get pregnant, and as soon as they stopped trying, they got pregnant. Another common statement you might hear is a story about someone who finally decided to adopt and then they turned up pregnant.
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What Happens When You Fall Pregnant
For a woman to get pregnant, a mans sperm must fertilise her egg. A woman releases an egg from her ovary once every month. This usually happens about 14 days before the first day of her next period.
Most women ovulate each month. Occasionally, more than one egg is released, usually within 24 hours of the first egg. At the same time, the lining of the uterus begins to thicken and the mucus in the cervix becomes thinner so that sperm can swim through it more easily. The egg begins to travel slowly down the Fallopian tube, a tube that stretches from the ovary to the uterus.
If there has been recent sexual intercourse with ejaculation by the man, the egg is most likely to be fertilised in the Fallopian tube. The lining of the uterus is now thick enough for the egg to be implanted in it after fertilisation.
The level of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone changes in a womans body during pregnancy. As soon as she has conceived, the amount of oestrogen and progesterone in her blood increases. This causes the uterus lining to build up, the blood supply to the uterus and breasts to increase and the muscles of the uterus to relax to make room for the growing baby.
If the egg is not fertilised, it passes out of the body during the woman’s monthly period, along with the lining of the uterus, which is also shed. The egg is so small that it cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Give Yourself A Break From Self
When things don’t go according to plan, Dr. Witkin says many of her patients spiral. “They ask, ‘How did I not know? Why did I have that abortion? I should have had the child on my owneveryone else is having children on their own. I should have married that guy instead of waiting for a better situation.'” But obsessing over the shoulda, woulda, couldas is fruitless. “They did what was right at the time. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you have when going through fertility treatments. Be your own best friend.” Keep your head up and looking forward.
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Ways To Sleep Better While Pregnant
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People always tell you to stock up on your sleep when youre pregnant because once the baby comes youll never sleep again. If only it were this easy. Being pregnant, especially during the second half, can wreak havoc on your sleep. It can be incredibly difficult to get comfortable, youre getting up a few times in the middle of the night to pee, insomnia hits, youre hotI could keep going, but I think you get the picture. Im currently 21 weeks pregnant and recently I have been having the hardest time falling asleep and staying asleep through the night. I have started doing some research on how to sleep better when pregnant because Im getting pretty desperate and here are 9 ways that Ive found to help you get a better nights sleep when youre expecting.
Stress Is Sabotaging You
Not shockingly, the more you try and the more you dont get pregnant, the more youre likely to be stressed out and start feeling majorly negative vibes. You may ask yourself, whats wrong with me? and feel like literally everyone around is getting pregnant in a snap while youre a year in with no baby. A lot of fertility doctors are now recommending acupuncture, yoga, and meditation for women trying to get pregnant, since a crazy-high stress level is totally linked to an inability to conceive. Some people truly have medical issues keeping them from getting pregnant,’ says Shahin Ghadir, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and founding partner of Southern California Reproductive Center for The Bump. But for others, when they relax and feel confident that theyre in good hands , things change. You cant prove it, but Ive seen miracles happen when peoples stress levels change.’ So do that meditation class. Go out for a walk. Book a 90-minute massage. Relaxing and trusting that youre doing everything you need to do and taking care of yourself can work wonders.
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Take Vitamins And Folic Acid
Take a vitamin and mineral supplement that includes at least 0.4 milligrams of folic acid.
- Folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects, especially problems with the baby’s spine.
- Start taking a vitamin with folic acid before you want to get pregnant.
- Avoid high doses of any vitamin, especially vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins can cause birth defects if you take more than the normal recommended daily amounts. Regular pregnancy prenatal vitamins do not have excessively high doses of any vitamin.
Put Down All Electronic Devices 30 Minutes Before Bed
Any kind of device that has a screen like a phone, TV, tablet, computer, etc. is actually stimulating to your mind. As a result, if you are on one up until the minute you lay your head down for bed, chances are your mind and body will not be able to relax because its delaying the production of melatonin, and you wont be able to sleep well. Try separating yourself from those devices at least 15 minutes before you go to bed, and if you can do 30 minutes before. Try reading a book to occupy your time or take a bath. It will help your mind relax before bedtime, allowing you to fall asleep easier and to get a better nights sleep.
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Stress Conception Rates And Time To Pregnancy
Some researchers found a relationship, while others didn’t:
- A 2010 study conducted by Oxford University and the National Institutes of Health found that the 25% of women with the highest levels of alpha-amylase, a substance that’s secreted into the saliva and has been linked to stress response, had more trouble conceiving than women with lower alpha-amylase.
- In October 2018, a study from Boston University’s School of Public Health found that women who experienced higher levels of stress had lower rates of conception. However, the study also found that couples were less likely to conceive when the woman reported experiencing a high level of stress if only the man reported experiencing a high level of stress, conception wasnt affected.
- But not every study points to a sturdy link between stress and fertility challenges:A of 111 women who kept journals reporting their stress levels found no difference in conception rates. Ultimately, this new study suggests that moderate levels of stress in relatively healthy women doesn’t adversely impact getting pregnant.
- In yet another 2019 study of 140 women trying to conceive, researchers found that daily perceived stress didn’t negatively impact time to pregnancy if the woman already had proven fertility.