'Just Relax': Good Fertility Advice After All?

Sasha Brown-Worsham
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Anyone who has ever gone through the hell of infertility knows there are two little words no one wants to hear:

"Just relax."

In infertility circles, countless blog posts and essays are devoted to the "misinformed" notion that all people have to do to make a baby is chill the hell out. But now, it seems those annoying givers of "assvice," may have had the right idea.

A new study gives credence to the notion that chronic stress can impede conception. According to Time:

Among 274 English women, all trying to get pregnant, those with the highest levels of alpha-amylase -- a salivary biomarker for stress -- had an estimated 12% reduction in their chance of getting pregnant each menstrual cycle, compared to women with the lowest levels.

It seems like a bit of a catch-22. You want to get pregnant and you don't, so you get stressed, but stress makes it less likely that you will get pregnant. And round and round.

It's enough to make you scream.

But at the risk of sounding like one of the jerks, I offer the following tips:

  • Wine: Just one glass each night will help slightly lower chronic stress. Don't get wasted, but take the edge off each night with a single glass.
  • Coffee: Cut back or cut it out altogether. Caffeine does raise blood pressure and can make an already tense situation worse.
  • Meditation: Yes, I know. It's hard. But for people like me who cannot clear their minds, a guided meditation on CD is a nice way to take it down a notch.
  • Yoga: I like to take strenuous yoga, but no matter how hard I work, I still walk out of class feeling more relaxed.
  • Massage: My favorite. Treat yourself to a weekly (or monthly massage). If not a massage, try acupuncture or a facial or anything that gets your skin stimulated and your senses dulled.

What are some of your favorite ways to relax?

 

Image via rick/Flickr

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