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Emotional factors while trying to conceive: how to deal with stress and anxiety

factores emocionales

When a couple wants to have a child, but as time passes and they realise that the pregnancy they were hoping for hasn’t happened, it’s natural to go through a complicated emotional process. Very often the couple suffers in silence, out of fear that family and friends may not understand. This is when stress and anxiety become their worst enemies.

Contrary to popular belief, getting pregnant the natural way isn’t always easy. According to the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), the probabilities are: 57% after 3 months, 72% after 6 months, and 85% after one year. Of the remaining 15%, 8% will achieve pregnancy in the second year.

However, the likelihood of becoming pregnant decreases with age and it may take longer to achieve. This is without taking into account the many other variables that can affect the process, such as physical or medical factors and lifestyle habits.


The process of trying to conceive can prove to be an emotional rollercoaster – surprise, confusion, anger, worry, rage, sadness… Plus, the burden of having to monitor your body for signs of fertility that previously you’d never paid attention to can also add to the feelings of anxiety and guilt.

This vicious circle of emotional negativity can significantly affect your chances of getting pregnant. According to a study conducted by the University of Oxford in 2010, when a person is stressed, the body produces cortisol and adrenaline, which reduces fertility by 12%.

Furthermore, various studies have shown that stress, anxiety, nervousness and impatience have a physical effect on the functioning of the hypothalamus, the gland responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle. In times of high stress or anxiety, the hypothalamus stops producing pituitary hormones, resulting in insufficient ovarian stimulation. Therefore in this kind of situations, ovulation can be early, late, or it may even stop altogether.


You may encounter unexpected diagnoses while trying to get pregnant, and this is when anxiety, a sea of doubts and a host of demons appear and can cause your relationship to become stagnant. A good medical diagnosis can help lighten the load, and having medical and psychological support can help you see things from a different perspective.

Fertility problems are more common than you might think, therefore it’s important to be accompanied by professionals who can identify the cause and offer you the right treatment. On an emotional level, being able to express your thoughts and feelings is essential, especially once the decision to start treatment has been made. The couple needs to get on with their life without letting the process dominate them completely.

As we mentioned previously, the functioning of the circuits involved in reproductive activity can be affected by your emotions. In fact, between 25% and 65% of patients attending assisted reproduction clinics present clinically significant anxiety symptoms, once again confirming the close relationship that exists between fertility and emotions.

It’s also worth noting that men and women don’t usually deal with infertility in the same way, nor do they express their feelings about it in the same way. While most women constantly feel the need to talk about it, men tend to keep quiet and prefer to avoid the subject.

This can lead to communication breakdowns, emotional crises or even sexual issues for the couple, often resulting in a state of isolation and even separation in some cases. However, the opposite can also be true, and the experience can serve to build complicity and mutual support, strengthening the relationship even further.

It’s normal to experience frustration, sadness or anxiety. The key is to learn to control these feelings and find ways to overcome them, so that you can continue your journey to getting pregnant in a calmer state of mind.

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