Stress And Preconception Care
As a woman, stress is just one of many factors you need to consider when preparing your body for pregnancy. What's more, it's not just your stress levels that matter - if your man is stressed out, he may have more difficulty helping you to conceive.
Why Is Stress Bad?
Stress can trigger hormonal changes in both men and women. In females, this can cause irregular or even skipped menstrual periods. Irregular menstruation makes it more difficult for a woman in the pregnancy preparation stage to track her ovulation, which may lead to a reduction in fertility later on, all be it temporary. In men, studies have shown that stress can lower the sperm count or even reduce the quality of sperm, not to mention the fact that a stressed-out couple might find it hard to make time for sex. So, if you're about to begin trying to conceive and you've already made the necessary lifestyle and diet changes, and spoken to your medical provider about any drugs you're taking or pre-existing medical conditions, then one of your remaining tasks is to eliminate or at least reduce the stress in your life.
What Are You Stressing About?
Many things cause us to worry and lead to emotional pressure and stress. Planning to have a baby can magnify these issues. It might help to sit down with a notebook and pen and make a list of the things both you and your partner are worried about in your lives. Have you been coping with illness or death in the family? Have you moved house or changed jobs recently? Are you happy at work; are you working too hard? Do you have problems or doubts regarding your relationship? What about financial concerns? Some of your problems might have practical solutions, for example, reducing the amount of overtime you do at work, or seeing a financial adviser to help to alleviate your money worries. (Often a very sensitive subject for a man who is worried about providing for a new baby!) Other issues could influence your very decision to have a baby at all. For example, if you are having serious doubts or fears about your relationship, you need to address these before becoming pregnant. Seeing a professional relationship counselor before you conceive may be a very good idea.
What you do to take down those stress levels depends on your own personality and interests. You might want to consider talk therapy, or pursue yoga and meditation classes. Maybe all you need to do is get back in touch with yourself and things you enjoy. Try to strike a balance between work and play, physical and non-physical activities. Don't be afraid to ask your medical provider for help if you feel you need it.
Stressing About Getting Pregnant
Many, many couples fall into this trap. Even if things in their lives outside the bedroom are going well, they become disheartened and frustrated if they don't get pregnant right away. Conception sex may become routine and passionless and pretty soon leads to a poor-quality romantic life. Men in particular may feel that sex has become about conception only and is no longer about the two of you. You need to take it easy. You might feel like each round of ovulation is your only chance, but realistically, some couples take up to year to conceive, so you have time. Don't forget the things you like and try to maintain variety and excitement in your sex life. Go away for the weekend; alternate between sex positions good for conception and those you just enjoy, it's up to you. Don't stress about always having sex in exactly the right way or at exactly the right minute of the day, week or month. Good quality, regular sex three or four times a week will take you a lot further than less or perhaps even no sex due to stress!
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