Are Your Emotions Stopping You Getting Pregnant?


by Mita Mistry, Holistic Therapist

Deciding to try for a baby can be one of the most exciting and daunting times in your life. For some women it’s a natural evolution on their path, a craving, a need to bear her own children to nourish and watch them grow, to love unconditionally and be loved back. For some women it’s not as romantic. It may be social or age pressure that sways them to try for a baby. Whatever motivates you to decide to have a baby surely once you decide a happy sex life is all you need to get pregnant?

Sure, having sex and lots of it throughout your cycle is the top tip any fertility expert will give you. In fact many experts suggest that although understanding your menstrual cycle can be helpful, it is not necessary to time sex rigidly around it, simply enjoy it frequently. Having sex every two or three days throughout the month will give you the best chance. Having said that there is a lot more to getting pregnant than what happens between the bed sheets.

There are so many resources out there offering advice on diet, lifestyle, exercise, supplements and similar to maximize your chances of getting pregnant. One of the things that can often get overlooked when trying to get pregnant is how much of a roller coaster it can be mentally and emotionally. What happens when you have been trying to get pregnant and it’s not going to plan?

If you are trying to conceive and thought it would take a few months to get pregnant but 6 to 18 months later you are still trying even though you are doing everything you should be physically what do you do? The cycle of getting excited it’s going to happen this month, getting your hopes up then falling flat into disappointment month after month can start to take its toll on your emotional wellbeing.

You see the moment your emotions start to take over and stress creeps up, your energy stops flowing freely and your body is focused on dealing with clearing blocked energy first rather than creating a nourishing environment for your baby. The continual stress and obsession of getting pregnant actually makes it harder to conceive which is why it is so important to take a step back and look after your emotional and mental wellbeing.

It helps to understand some of the emotions you may be feeling and why. You may feel angry and frustrated that things are not going to plan. It’s natural to feel this especially when you feel you have no control over the outcome or timing. Its often easy to take out anger and frustration in our relationships but that will not help the baby making process. A healthy way to deal with anger and frustration is to try and let go of any fixed plans or ideas and bring your awareness to the present moment. Let go of the fear that it will never happen and try and comfort yourself in the here and now, remain positive that it will happen when you and your body are ready for it. In Chinese Medicine anger, frustration and fear affects the Wood and Water Elements respectively and the smooth flow of blood and energy to vital functions involved in fertility such as the Kidneys and Liver. The more emotionally balanced you are, the better these will function.

Another emotion that you may feel is envy or jealousy. It’s one of those ironic things, you are trying so hard to get pregnant it is the focus of your life but it’s happening for all your friends and colleagues. You want to feel happy for them but deep down inside you are crying wishing you were in their shoes. This is a very difficult and sensitive time emotionally and it can be very hard to be around pregnant women and other people’s children. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge the emotions without judging yourself. Try and avoid situations that can bring up these feelings and have a good support network of friends and family who can help you by understanding and looking out for you.

Lying awake at night worrying with thoughts going round and round in your head about getting pregnant and why it is not happening is natural but can be very draining on your energy leaving you feeling tired and stressed. In Chinese Medicine, worry blocks energy flowing freely to the Earth Element the one responsible for our ability to nurture others and ourselves. Your body needs a healthy Earth Element as it is the heart of fertility to grow a baby just like mother Earth in nature her fertile soil is the womb from which life springs. Try and ease worry by calming your thoughts before bedtime and making a conscious effort to switch off. Meditation or mindfulness exercises are great for this and you can even download apps on smartphones to help get you started.

You may feel quite sad or a lack of joy in your relationship. This is understandable as trying to conceive can put a huge amount of pressure on a relationship. Often feelings of blame, resentment and not wanting to communicate can leave you flat and alone which takes all the fun out of having sex and really connecting with each other. Try and re-kindle the passion with your partner by taking time to relax together. Remember how you used to have fun and laugh before you started the baby-making journey? Going on holiday, going out for meals, the long walks, socializing with friends? Well do those things again and start living normally and enjoying each other without thinking about conceiving.

In Chinese Medicine sadness and lack of joy block energy flowing freely to and from the Fire Element which also plays an essential role in the fertility process as it governs our ability to love and be loved unconditionally with openness and honesty which is needed for bringing a child into this world. I have seen so many couples trying to get pregnant, the minute they stop trying and actually start living and loving each other again, it just happens.

Facts About Fertility

Fertility problems can lead to stress, which may further decrease chances of conception (Eugster & Vingerhoets, 1999).

A couple is regarded as infertile if, after regular sexual intercourse, they have not conceived in two years. (HFEA, 2006). One in seven couples in the UK have problems conceiving.

Identifiable causes of infertility include: ovulatory disorders in 27% of couples; tubal damage in 14% of couples; low sperm count or low sperm quality in 19% of couples. In 30% of couples the cause of infertility remains unexplained (NCCWCH, 2004).

Female fertility declines with age, but the effect of age on male fertility is less clear (NICE, 2004).

Sperm can live for up to seven days inside your body, which means an egg is often fertilised by sperm that entered the body before the egg was released. Keep calm and have sex often.

Nine out of 10 couples in which the woman is under 35 will conceive naturally after one year of having regular unprotected sex.

If you’ve been trying for a year or more and have not become pregnant, see your GP. Your GP can do tests to help identify possible fertility problems, and provide advice on the next steps.

How Acupuncture Can Help Fertility

Acupuncture has been shown to affect hormone levels by promoting the release of beta-endorphin in the brain, which affects the release of gonadotrophin releasing hormone by the hypothalamus, follicle stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland, and oestrogen and progesterone levels from the ovary (Ng 2008, Huang 2008, Lim 2010, Stener-Victorin 2010).

Stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes constriction of ovarian arteries. Acupuncture inhibits this sympathetic activity, improving blood flow to the ovaries (Stener-Victorin 2006, Lim 2010), enhancing the environment in which ovarian follicles develop.

It also increases blood flow to the uterus (Stener-Victorin 1996, Huang 2008), improving the thickness of the endometrial lining and increasing the chances of embryo implantation.

Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the number of ovarian cysts, stimulate ovulation, enhance blastocyst implantation and regulate the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS (Stener-Victorin 2000, 2008, 2009, Zhang 2009).


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