Stress & Infertility
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Karen Botha MAR reflexologist at Essential Feeling Gidea Park, Romford who specialises in fertility

Stress & Infertility when trying to Conceive

Stress and infertility in women when trying to conceive is a massive issue. Many people don’t even think to wonder ‘does stress affect conception.’ But, here’s the big, and yes, scary, truth about trying to get pregnant.

Stress can make you infertile.

And this goes for men and women. But as women have so many more moving parts, and their parts take so much longer to rebuild, the effect of stress on conception for women, is greater than for men. In our experience. We’ve written about stress and health effects in our blog.

Karen Botha MAR

Your Association of Reflexologist’s Therapist


Questions & Answers


Understanding the Link Between Stress and Infertility

Recent studies and expert opinions have underscored the complex relationship between stress and infertility, a topic that deserves attention in any comprehensive discussion on fertility challenges. Stress, whether psychological or physical, can significantly impact an individual’s ability to conceive. Research indicates that stress can interfere with hormonal balance, ovulation, and sperm production, potentially prolonging the time it takes to achieve pregnancy. Moreover, the emotional toll of infertility can further exacerbate stress levels, creating a vicious cycle that affects both mental and physical health.

To address this, incorporating stress management techniques and seeking professional support can be beneficial. Techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, and meditation have been shown to reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being. Additionally, joining support groups or engaging in counseling can provide emotional relief and a sense of community during this challenging journey.

Understanding that stress and infertility are interlinked emphasizes the importance of holistic approaches to fertility challenges. By addressing both the physical and emotional aspects of infertility, individuals and couples can improve their chances of conceiving and maintain their mental health throughout the process.


Here’s the deal.

Your body only has 100% energy. It can’t have any more. Expert research shows that the average usage for our body for a mildly active woman or man splits as follows:

*60% of the body’s daily energy is spent maintaining our resting metabolism. This means, digesting our food, processing our blood and nutrients around our body, that kind of thing.

*32% is spent on the physical activity. This can be moving around, but also don’t forget, when you sit at your keyboard, your hands are moving. This all falls under this category.

*8% is on thermic effects, so keeping you warm.



That’s already at 100%. Now, as we’ve said, built into that is a ‘normal’ level of stress. Running for the bus, that type of thing. But. When we start to deal with the chronic effects of stress causing prolonged levels of cortisol this:

*raise our heart rate

*increase our minds activity

*make us jumpy

*stop us from sleeping

These examples mean there isn’t enough resource, we’re already running at 100%. And don’t forget, we can cause stress too. So we generally think of stress happening to us such as heavy work schedule etc, but taking drugs and other lifestyle factors we make by choice also increase the stress load on our system.

So now our system has to pull energy from other resources.

That’s when it doesn’t matter how often you have sex, how many fertility testing kits you buy or what your temperature is. You are going to have problems conceiving and struggle to carry a baby full term because there isn’t the energy to create another life.


Here's why

Infertility isn’t life threatening. And when our fight-or-flight hormones are triggered like it is when we suffer with stress levels, our body considers this to be a threat to life. It needs energy to prepare us to flee. It needs energy to help our body break down food that we’ve often over consumed because we can’t ‘think’ about eating properly. We don’t have the headspace.

This all means that the energy that would keep our fertility firing away at full speed is compromised. Our body, smart as it is, pulls from this resource to feed the areas that need extra support. It’s fire fighting with everything it has open to it to deal with levels of stress. This may mean if your situation remains the same, the harsh fact is, you are less likely to conceive. Or carry your baby full term. And so, this is how we our fertility is affected by stress when trying to conceive.


Fertility reflexology helps relieve stress symptoms

This is why we do bang on about how you can reduce stress at Essential Feeling. Don’t worry, we’re not about to emotionally beat you up and give you unrealistic stress reduction goals. But, what we are going to do is work with you on a practical level to make sure that women trying to conceive have the best possible chances of that. Because, let’s face it. When we leave a job, we manage to get replaced.

Getting pregnant, having a baby and creating your own family unit is the most important decision you will ever make. Are you really happy to let an organisation stop that because they keep piling on the levels of stress for you, when they’ll just replace you as soon as you’re out of the door anyway?

Sure, we need to keep our jobs for our maternity leave. But, we will show you ways to manage stress and infertility together so the whole idea of trying for a baby becomes conceivable. We don’t believe couples trying to conceive should be penalised because they want what is natural to them. That’s where we come in.

We know and understand what you’re going through.

And let’s not forget, that Essential Feeling was born from a couple of people who have lived through incredibly high stress levels. Both from their work for other people, starting up their own business and living a normal life as a couple.

If you need support and tips on ways to reduce stress, before you even start with the high level of professional training they have received, then you’re onto a winner with Essential Feeling.

We mentioned above that we have experience of stress and anxiety on a personal perspective. It isn’t just stress in the workplace that can cause you trouble trying to conceive.

In itself trying to conceive can be stressful especially when you’ve spent a year of trying — or more. Fertility reflexology and fertility massage both help you with your personal ability to conceive. They do this by dealing with some physical factors.

For example:

*improving blood flow which in turn thickens your womb

*breaking down the effects of endometriosis

*managing stress while trying to conceive

We also deal with emotional factors that make you stressed and cut down your opportunity to relax and enjoy a pregnancy.

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The Role of Professional Support in Managing Infertility Stress

Seeking professional support can play a pivotal role in managing the stress associated with infertility. Mental health professionals, such as psychologists and counselors specializing in infertility, can offer coping strategies that help mitigate the psychological impact of infertility. These strategies may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps individuals change negative thought patterns, and counseling sessions that provide a safe space to express and work through emotions.

Moreover, fertility clinics often offer mind-body programs that focus on stress reduction and emotional well-being. These programs, supported by research, have shown promising results in improving pregnancy rates among participants. By teaching relaxation techniques, stress management skills, and coping mechanisms, these programs help individuals navigate the emotional landscape of infertility with greater resilience.

Incorporating professional support into one’s fertility journey can significantly reduce the burden of stress and improve overall mental health. It acknowledges the profound emotional challenges of infertility and provides tools and resources to face them more effectively.

Engaging in infertility counseling can provide couples with the tools they need to navigate the emotional challenges of trying to conceive. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective method for managing the stress and negative thought patterns associated with infertility, whilst participating in mind-body programs that focus on stress reduction can improve pregnancy rates and support emotional well-being during fertility treatments. Adopting holistic approaches to fertility that address both physical and emotional health can enhance an individual’s ability to conceive.


The Impact of Infertility on Relationships and Mental Health

Infertility can profoundly affect relationships and mental health, impacting not only the individuals directly involved but also their relationships with partners, family, and friends. The stress and emotional strain of infertility can lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety, putting additional pressure on already strained relationships. It’s crucial for couples to communicate openly about their feelings, seek mutual support, and consider counseling to navigate these challenges together.

The societal pressure and stigma associated with infertility can exacerbate these feelings, making it essential to foster a supportive community that understands and respects the complexities of fertility issues. By acknowledging the emotional toll of infertility and advocating for greater awareness and support, we can help reduce the stigma and encourage a more compassionate and understanding approach to fertility challenges.

Emotional toll of infertility: Acknowledging the emotional toll of infertility is crucial in providing the necessary support and understanding to those affected by Fertility challenges. Open discussions about fertility challenges can help reduce the stigma and isolation many couples experience and the psychological impact of infertility: The psychological impact of infertility can be profound, necessitating a compassionate and comprehensive approach to care.


We'll help you cope with well meaning families.

And then families. Aren’t they glorious?

They’re full of the best of intentions. But their constant goodwill, questions and advice from a lady down the road who had success with xyz, all contribute to loading up your stress and infertility.

What’s worse, you often can’t say anything. You can’t scream at them to stop because their intentions are the best and their comments come from a place of love. So, we need to find other ways to reduce stress and infertility for women trying to get pregnant.


No emotion, no words are taboo. You won't be judged

This is where our counselling comes in. You can offload to us, give yourself some headspace in a calm environment, filled with peace and healing. You have an hour or more to yourself where you can say whatever comes into your head in the full knowledge that it is confidential. Don’t underestimate the power of talking things out.

You’ll be without shame with us, and un-burden. This reduces emotional stress and infertility related issues calm down so you can concentrate on what’s important while trying to conceive.

We’ve heard it all before, we won’t judge you, in fact, we’ll probably tell you about examples of how you’re feelings are completely normal. And understandable.

If you’ve suffered miscarriages, it can lead to feelings of jealousy or bitterness that you don’t like in yourself. This doesn’t mean that these feelings aren’t valid. This is your safe place for you to understand how chronic stress may cause infertility so you can accept it, park it to one side, and move forward.

Foot map showing some of the main reflexology points in different colours
reflexology romford

So, here’s how we’re going to help you.

Firstly, you need to commit to weekly reflexology sessions for infertility. Certainly at the start until we get on top of the issues you’re facing. Then once you’re feeling better, and you’ll know this yourself, we can knock back the frequency if you choose to.

During your infertility reflexology sessions we may spend a lot of time talking things out. Working out what your key issues are and understanding easy fixes. This will always fit into your lifestyle and your relationship with your partner and family.

When you make these small adapts, you’ll already feel more healthy.

At the same time as we’re doing all of this, Karen your certified MAR reflexologist, who is also trained and experienced in fertility will be working with acupressure points on your feet. These help your body to physically realign back to the ideal percentage breakdown.

This is how we support you in dealing with the physiological effects of a great deal of stress on conception.

It’s not a magical wonder cure, but it is effective for stress, improving sleep, re-balancing your hormonal system. And therefore allowing your body to do what it wants to naturally do, which is have the energy to get pregnant.




Chat With An Expert

To book, or have a chat with us, please text us first on 07757 946023 and we’ll happily chat through what you need as soon as we’re free. Otherwise please book online with the system you’ll find at the bottom of this page.


I'm having infertility treatment (IVF, IUI, Clomid etc) but I am under psychological stress. Can you still help?

Yes, there is still the same link between stress and infertility and the last thing you want to be doing is going through a finite number of IVF treatments knowing the relationship between stress and infertility. We work with your fertility doctors to adapt your treatment to give you the best possible outcome. We can even help you in understanding your infertility report as well as reducing stress.

Our clients find that this works well. Not only do you know that you are doing everything you can, but, within the infertility counselling which is included. You also have a safe place to talk through all the confused and volatile emotions you may experience during your IVF treatment. We’re all told, ‘relax and it will happen’ from well meaning people. But, do they understand? The effectiveness of being able to speak frankly and privately to someone who understands, before we even start with the massive benefits of fertility massage and fertility reflexology is not to be underestimated. Particularly now we understand that high levels of stress impacts fertility prospects.


I'm over 40 can you help?

Yes, our fertility reflexology and fertility massage combined clients report an improvement in their egg quality. This is when they come for weekly sessions over a sustained period. We also help you with your mindset, you can read more about that here. The important thing here is to throw everything at it because time is limited. So, while we understand that there is a stress related risk of infertility, at this age, we’re looking at the dreaded internal clock ticking. We can also help you with any associated anxiety and depression.

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