Reader BFPs! and stress is OK

Earlier this week I opened my e-mail to the usual work business and ads. But amid the banality were two wonderful letters from readers of The Impatient Woman’s Guide. Best of all, both had gotten pregnant in just three months! Way to go, Impatient Women!

Meanwhile, the research literature on stress and fertility continues to be interesting. In the book I discuss the lack of evidence for what many people (including doctors) assume is true — that stress and worrying can lower fertility. It’s one reason why some doctors believe that ovulation prediction (such as charting or the fertility monitor) equates to “worrying too much” and might hurt rather than help. It’s true that depression lowers fertility, but there’s very little research on anxiety and stress. Now there’s a new, fairly extensive study showing that stress and anxiety has no effect on fertility, even when they measured it with stress hormones such as cortisol.

My favorite finding in this study was that women high in “trait anxiety” (us worriers) got pregnant just as fast as our calm sisters. Of course, it’s possible that future research will show reduced fertility with stress, but for such a commonly held belief there’s remarkably little evidence to back it up — and now some evidence to suggest it’s not true at all.

So: ovulation predict away — it will help you get pregnant faster if that is your goal. Try not to stress out just because stressing out doesn’t feel good, but know that “worrying too much” is unlikely to harm your chances of getting pregnant unless you get depressed.

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About impatientwoman

I'm a psychology professor/researcher and mom of three. When I was trying to get pregnant, I read everything I could find -- and was surprised to find how much advice on fertility was wrong, according to the medical research. Or it was weird, like the statistics on over-35 fertility based on birth records from 17th century France (really!) Plus so many fertility books were boring, or written by men, or written by boring men. That's why I wrote The Impatient Woman's Guide to Getting Pregnant.
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4 Responses to Reader BFPs! and stress is OK

  1. Wanna-Be-Mummy says:

    I’ve (literally) just started charting… feeling a bit lost at the moment but have faith that the more used to my body I get, the easier it’ll be.

  2. Tina Upshaw says:

    I just found this post and plan to order the book. I am a sociologist/researcher as well. And it seems every time the Reproductive Endicrinologist tells me something I research it to see if it is valid. For instance, I was told by his nurse practitioner that we should stop charting. She says it does not mean I did ovulate. ?? Really? Not according to my research! So, I still temp. I would rather have some small measure of control over my reproductive cycle. I am 40 yrs. old and my husband and I have been trying to conceive for 11 months. We had 2 pregnancies that ended in early miscarriage. I still have hope that we will conceive. Reading your posts have given my hope. Thank you!

  3. Hi! I write the Mommy Wannabe blog and I read your book and it is amazing. I was looking for some way to share a button on my site to yours? I have several ladies that are TTC, and I know they would love the book as much as I did. It made me feel a little less crazy!

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