Anxiety about trying to conceive may actually be sabotaging your efforts to conceive.
A new Swedish study finds anxiety and depression reduce the chances of getting pregnant and having a baby. It’s a vicious cycle, all too familiar for many women trying to conceive. How do you know if anxiety is sabotaging your efforts to conceive?
Real life anxiety
Lauren is a 38-year-old client. “I try not to obsess about getting pregnant,’ she smiles sadly. ‘I can’t get away from it – when my period arrives, when I ovulate. When it’s time to have sex neither of us feel like, and we have to do it, or another month’s gone. At work it’s non-stop baby news or questions, so even if I’m a day late I’ll do a pregnancy test, on the off chance I’m pregnant. Then it’s back to the doctor for bloods and scans. I know I’m the one putting up road-blocks for myself. I never used to be like this.”
Researchers followed over 23,000 women in a huge research project in Sweden, beginning back in 2007. Study results just in from the Karolinska Institutet were published in the journal Fertility & Sterility. This is the first cohesive approach to see the co-relation between anxiety, depression and antidepressants. Uptake of anti-depressant meds – particularly selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or SSRI’s – is increasing among women of child-bearing age over the last 30 years. Very little is understood about the effects these medications may have on fertility, conception and pregnancy.
Researchers compared rates of pregnancy, healthy births and miscarriage in women with a diagnosis of depression with women who didn’t experience these symptoms.
‘We found women women having their first IVF – diagnosed with anxiety or depression, or prescribed antidepressants before treatment had a lower rate of conception, pregnancy and live births, compared with women who did not suffer from these conditions,” revealed lead author Carolyn Cesta, Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics,”Importantly we found women with anxiety, or depression, who take anti-depressants other than SSRI’s have an even lower chance of pregnancy, and a bigger risk of miscarriage after IVF.”
According to lead researcher, Anastasia Nyman Iliad, associate professor at the DMEB, “Anxiety and depression may be the underlying factor leading to lower pregnancy and live birth rates in these women.”
Mindfulness-based stress relief
I don’t believe mindfulness in itself cures everything – but properly used it offers real results. The research is compelling so read it for yourself. I use it successfully for my clients – alongside EMDR and hypnotherapy in my fertility coaching sessions – to reduce anxiety and get women mentally prepared for pregnancy to happen. ‘I did my Yoga classes and love massage so I figured I had that side of things sorted,’ Lauren added, ‘ Now I’m not simply doing mindfulness – I’m living it! There’s a big difference and I’ve learned how to make it mine. Hypnosis turbo-charged it for me.”