Our Top 17 Tips for Managing Stress While TTC

An African American woman is sitting on a couch with her legs up. She is holding a pregnancy test in her hand while looking down with her hand on her head.

Sex is supposed to be fun… right? So, why is it that when we start trying to have babies, getting in the sheets suddenly becomes an all-consuming job instead of an enjoyable experience? It’s likely because most of us know little about managing stress while TTC (trying to conceive).

Despite a seemingly endless collection of movies and books where a person gets pregnant after a random one-night stand, conceiving isn’t as easy as Hollywood would have us believe.

In fact, there’s actually only a 20% chance most healthy people will conceive during any given month. 

So, while the first month or so of “trying” is filled with hope, anticipation, and excitement, the novelty can wear off when things don’t happen as quickly as you hope.

Instead of enthusiasm and expectation, your mind might be riddled with questions about what you’re doing “wrong.” As weeks and months go by with nothing but trips to the store for period products, the anxiety over your lack of positive pregnancy tests might heighten.

It’s not unusual to stress when you’re trying to get pregnant. The problem is, however, that said stress could make the situation worse. 

Before you spiral, consider how much stress you’re experiencing and whether it’s helping or hindering. Please read on if you’d like to take care of your emotions during your conception journey. We have 17 great tips for managing stress while TTC!

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Does Stress Affect Fertility?

If you’re sitting there thinking, “Yeah, but does stress really affect my ability to get pregnant?” you’re not alone. As someone who struggles with stress and anxiety regularly, I didn’t want to believe that my mental health might interfere with my pregnancy rate. 

Alas, studies show that increased stress levels can negatively impact our chances of conceiving. 

Getting pregnant relies on a delicate balance of hormones that put certain things in play like ovulation. Stress can disrupt the natural processes required for conception.

For example, the pituitary gland controls some hormones required to release eggs during ovulation. Studies show that stress can disrupt this process. 

When we feel stressed and anxious, our adrenal glands also produce a hormone called cortisol. Research found a correlation between high levels of cortisol and infertility. Increased stress hormone levels diminish ovarian functions needed for ovulation. 

It’s not just female reproductive organs at risk, though. 

In an article from Columbia University, experts explain how stress levels can hinder sperm count, quality, and motility.

Can High Levels of Stress Cause a Miscarriage?

10 to 20% of pregnancies will end in miscarriage, possibly more. When pregnancy loss happens, it’s easy to blame ourselves and try to figure out what we did wrong.

Have faith, sweet mama; in the vast majority of cases, there is nothing we can do or not do to prevent it from occurring.

That means that high-stress levels did not contribute to your loss.

In fact, there’s no apparent connection between increased stress and miscarriage. While feeling heightened levels of anxiety might not be good for your body, they’re not going to cause you to lose your baby. 

A woman is sitting in a milk bath. She has a wooden board across the tub that has a candle, essential oils, and a cup of tea on it.
Managing stress while ttc is very important. Here are some great ideas.

17 Helpful Tips for Managing Your Stress While Trying to Conceive

Stress and infertility often go hand in hand. After all, what’s more stressful than trying hard to achieve something that’s just not happening?

But based on the information above, it’s clear that getting nervous and antsy about your situation can only worsen the process. So it’s time to start looking for ways to manage stress while trying to conceive.

Below is a list of the top 17 stress management techniques when you’re hoping to grow a family.

1. Practice Self-Care for Moms and Hopeful Parents

Whether trying to expand your family or hoping to get pregnant for the first time, self-care is crucial to reducing stress. 

The question is, what are you supposed to do?

Self-care is a broad spectrum. What works for one might not appeal to another. It’s about finding hobbies, moments, and tasks that make you feel good and help you relax throughout your day. 

If you’re stuck for self-care ideas, why not try one of the suggestions below?

  • Meditation
  • Writing in a Journal
  • Light Some Calming Candles and Take a Bath
  • Go for a Walk
  • Visit Local Spas for a Treatment
  • Go Shopping
  • Read a Book
  • Watch a Movie or TV Show
  • Start a New Hobby, or Practice an Old One

2. Exercise

An article from the American Psychological Association reveals that 62% of adults who exercise or walk to manage stress find the technique highly effective. 

Whether you’re doing intense cardio workouts or gentle yoga, getting your body moving is a great way to combat chronic stress. 

3. Join an Infertility Support Group

Who better to chat with about your fertility struggles than a group of like-minded individuals who understand the burden you bear? 

When we first started our conception journey, I felt very lonely. I didn’t know anyone else struggling the way we were, and I thought I had no outlet for my feelings.

However, that all changed when I started visiting my fertility specialist regularly. Suddenly, I found myself in rooms full of people who understood what I was going through. 

If you want to connect with other hopeful parents, why not join a local or online infertility support group? They can provide advice, a shoulder to cry on, and a sounding board during your conception journey.

Resolve, the National Infertility Association has resources to help you locate trusted support groups in your area and beyond.

4. Connect With Your Partner

When intimacy starts to feel clinical and chore-like while TTC, it can seem like you’re losing a connection with your partner. This is exactly when you should lean into connecting with one another. You’re going through this together and need to lean on one another for support.

If you’re trying to manage stress while growing a family, find ways of connecting with your loved one. You’ll feel much better, whether it’s date nights, phone-free conversations, or new experiences together. 

5. Try Not to “Overtest”

Trust me; I get it. When you want nothing more than to get pregnant, your instinct might be to test constantly to determine if your bedroom activities are getting the job done.

Please don’t, though.

I know you’re excited to find out whether things are working, but the more you test, the more opportunities for negative results that might bring you down and break your heart. 

Set limits for how often you take a pregnancy test – maybe only do it once a month or wait until you start showing early pregnancy symptoms.

6. Find Some New Relaxation Techniques

Would you like to find a way to control your body’s stress response better? Implementing various relaxation techniques could be helpful. 

Julie Corliss, the editor of the Harvard Heart Letter, has several great suggestions for enhancing relaxation, lowering stress, and avoiding panic attacks. These include:

  • Deep Breaths/Breath Focus: By putting all of your focus on taking long, deep belly breaths, you’ll tell your nervous system to calm down, which improves your stress response. 
  • Guided Imagery Meditation: Whether you use an app, video, or draw on personal experiences, focus on mental imagery displaces nervous sensations and helps you calm down. 
  • Prayer: While prayer is not for everyone, combining silent prayer with breath focus can alleviate anxieties if you’re a spiritual person.
  • Body Scans: This is a great technique, especially with deep breath focus. You’ll concentrate on relaxing every area of your body, one at a time. Take deep breaths and start with your toes, then your ankles, move on to your knees, and so on. 

7. Laugh

You know that old saying, laughter is the best medicine? Well, I wholeheartedly believe this is true.

Even in the toughest of times, when you can find ways to laugh, it takes the edge off of what you’re feeling. Whether throwing on a funny movie, reading some jokes, or scrolling through TikTook looking for belly laughs, try to find time to search for a bit of humor each day.

8. Leave Time to Worry

Pull up a seat, and let me tell you a little secret…it’s impossible to stop stressing completely. Whether we like it or not, stress is a natural part of being human. 

Years ago, during a severe bout with anxiety, I encountered some hardcore intrusive thoughts and worries. I thought I could deal with the problem by “forcing myself” not to think about those things. The more I tried to push my fears away, the more “stuck” they seemed to become.

That’s when I started reading a book called “The Imp of the Mind.” In one chapter, the author, Lee Baer, explained that the more we try to rid our minds of these distressing thoughts and feelings, the worse they become. 

Instead, he said it’s about accepting our thoughts and eliminating their power. 

Getting rid of all stress will not happen, and trying to “stop it” altogether might worsen your anxiety. Instead, give yourself the grace to worry some and accept your emotions. The key is trying not to let them take over your entire life. 

9. Remember that Sex Should Be Fun

When you’re dealing with fertility tracking or ovulation apps, your sex life can become, well, a little bit regimented. After all, when you get that monitoring green light, it’s time to get busy and make stuff happen!

That clinical conceiving can get a little boring and repetitive, so don’t forget that sex is supposed to be fun, too. Try to get busy for enjoyment occasionally and not just for procreating. 

10. Eat a Healthy Diet

When I say eat healthily, I’m not talking about a completely clean, gluten-free, dairy-free, everything-free diet. Instead, I’m talking about picking healthier options and cutting back on fried chicken and diet coke.

Did you know that certain foods, like eggs, avocadoes, and dark chocolate, can boost your mood? Others, such as excessive alcohol and caffeine, can worsen the problem. 

Selecting foods that will nourish your soul and body is a fantastic technique for managing stress while TTC. 

11. Do Research 

It’s not uncommon to fear and stress over things you don’t know or understand. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about your inability to get pregnant, maybe it’s time to learn more about what’s happening inside your body.

When you have a better grasp on the overall process, it can bring an element of calm to your fertility experience. It’s important to know when to step away from the rabbit hole, though. Limiting your time online can be helpful in this regard.

12. Acknowledge Your Feelings

Are you sitting there freaking out because it’s been six months, and you’re still not pregnant? Did it upset you when your friend announced she was expecting her fourth child? 

These emotions are valid and understandable; please, don’t feel ashamed of them.

Acknowledge how you’re feeling and cut yourself a little slack. We’re not perfect; it’s okay to admit when we feel stressed, overwhelmed, and challenged.

13. Get Off Social Media

As I scroll down my Instagram feed or Facebook page, there’s a seemingly endless collection of pregnancy announcements, baby birthdays, and gender reveal photos. While content like this is happy and wonderful, it’s also hard to stomach when you’re unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant. 

If the continual flow of baby-related content is getting to you, why not treat yourself a bit and get off social media?

It doesn’t have to be forever, but a digital break might be the stress relief you didn’t know you needed when TTC and undergoing fertility treatments. 

14. Try Acupuncture

I’ve already admitted that I’m an anxiety ball from time to time. I’m sure you can only imagine how stressed out I felt when I was trying to get pregnant. Thankfully, I found an incredible acupuncturist who helped me through the process. 

Not only do acupuncture treatments serve as an excellent stress management technique, but they can also help improve fertility issues, like PCOS-related infertility, hormonal imbalances, and sperm quality. 

15. Take a Break

This might sound counterproductive, but sometimes the best way to manage your stress while trying to get pregnant is to take a TTC break. 

It doesn’t have to be for long, but even taking a month or two to press pause and stop thinking about things like pregnancy, successful implantation symptoms, and the two-week wait will do wonders for your mental health. 

16. Lean On Your Fertility Support Team

Finding a trustworthy support network during conception troubles is crucial. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or healthcare provider, don’t hesitate to lean on them for extra help. 

17. Seek Professional Help

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, consider asking for professional help if your TTC stressors are becoming too much.

There’s a difference between stress and depression or anxiety. If your disappointment about not getting pregnant is weighing on your mind and disrupting your day-to-day life, making a counseling appointment will be beneficial.

Ask your loved ones for recommendations, or you can talk to your primary care physician. It can also be helpful to focus on finding a counselor who specializes in fertility issues

The Importance of Stress Management When You’re Trying to Conceive

I don’t blame you for feeling stressed when trying to get pregnant. In a world where it seems like everyone else can have a baby without worries, fertility troubles feel isolating and frustrating.

You’re not alone, though.

Getting pregnant isn’t as easy as it looks, and balancing ovulation tracking, two-week waits, and pregnancy tests is exhausting

Do yourself a favor, though, and try to work on alleviating your stress. If you can find helpful ways of managing your stressors while TTC, you’ll feel much better about the process in the long run.

Has managing stress while TTC become an issue for your family? What stress management techniques usually work for you? 

Do you want more information on trying to conceive? Check out the great articles below: