"Just Relax and You'll Get Pregnant"

by Ann Douglas


Myth: Just relax and you’ll get pregnant


Not only is this one of the more prevalent conception misconceptions (just hint at the fact that you’re having trouble conceiving and someone in your life is bound to tell you about the infertile couple they know who got pregnant the moment they took a vacation!): it also happens to be one of the more crazymaking. You can’t help but feel like you’re being blamed for the fact that the pregnancy test hasn’t come back positive. If only you could stop stressing out about what is—or isn’t—happening on the reproductive front, your fertility problems would disappear in a flash—or so these folks would have you believe.

The fact of the matter is that the best stress management techniques in the world won’t cure a bonafide fertility problem. According to Diane Clapp, BSN, RN, Medical Information Director for National RESOLVE in Bethesda, Maryland, studies have failed to demonstrate any link between stress reduction and fertility improvement. 

That said, learning to manage stress is still a good strategy for couples who are having difficulty conceiving, Clapp says. “While it’s not a treatment, it can help you to survive the infertility crisis.”

And, of course, there are times when reducing stress can help to boost your odds of conceiving. Severe, chronic stress can suppress menstruation, interfere with the hormones required to produce healthy sperm, and reduce the odds of IVF procedures being successful, all of which can wreak havoc on your babymaking plans. Just bear in mind that we’re not talking about run-of-the-mill stress here: we’re talking about the mother—or father—load.

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting, including The Mother of All Pregnancy Books.