Did you know that between 1 in 6 and 1 in 4 couples may be dealing with infertility?

It took me over a year to get pregnant. It was grim. Every month counting down to my period hoping nothing would come then taking 5 pregnancy tests each day I was late because I thought (hoped!) I may have seen a faint line. Looking back I was probably stressed, I was working 12hr days, travelling at least once a week also trying to squeeze in 5 workouts to balance out the shit food and lack of sleep you get when travelling so much.  

Well I never want to go through that monthly cycle of waiting, hope and disappointment for so long again so I asked the girls at FoodFitnessFertility for some advice on how to spot the signs of stress and how to manage stress when trying to get preggo. Here’s what the Siobhan and Emer the co-founders of FoodFitnessFertility have to say…

Our stress response has not evolved much from paleolithic (stoneage) humans. In order to help them cope with possible attacks from animals and the ability to drop everything and run (our fight or flight mode), the body was and is able to shut down any system that isn’t necessary for survival shuts down, including your reproductive system. 

Instead your body focuses on getting away from said animal, causing increased heart rate, shallow breathing, and high blood pressure(this is why your period can be late when you’re experiencing high levels of stress.) The problem these days is that while there’s no lion chasing us stress can come every hour of every day through emails, queues, traffic, work, weight etc.

The first thing you need to do when trying to ‘Manage Stress’ is to identify where your stress is coming from. There are two sources of stress, external stress and internal stress. 

  1. External Stress includes your physical environment, job, relationships with others, over-exercising, and all the other challenges and expectations you are faced with daily. 
  2. Internal Stress may come from your nutritional status, bodily functions, inflammation, fitness levels, emotional well-being, that can help you to manage and respond to external stressors.

Your body is constantly giving us clues and signals as to what’s going on. The following are some signs that your body is stressed.

  1. Lack of period (amenhoerra) is one way our body responds to over exercising and under nutrition. This can also lead to low libido (sex drive).
  2. Frequent sickness can be a response to chronic inflammation from poor diet and lifestyle decisions.
  3. Insomnia and/or poor energy has been time and time again related to levels of high stress.
  4. Depression and anxiety have been shown to be caused by chronic inflammation in the body which is a huge internal stressor.
  5. Digestive issues like constipation, IBS, malabsorption can also be signs that our body is constantly under stress or perceived external stress.

There are many more symptoms that can be signs of stress such as headaches, pain, changes in appetite, acne and more but fortunately there are many ways to reduce and even get rid of your stress.

Mindfulness, exercise, diet changes, CBT counselling among others have all been shown to be hugely beneficial when tackling stress. The trick is to try them all until you find something that suits you the best!

Delighted to announce that the ladies from FoodFitnessFertility will be joining us at BeingFest – www.beingfest.com and they’ll be taken questions on all things fertility! Check out the full Speaker List & Timed Agenda.