June 15, 2023

Stress and Fertility: How Stress Affects Implantation and Pregnancy

Trying to conceive can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, and managing stress levels is crucial during this time. Finding healthy ways to manage stress and prioritize self-care while trying to conceive is essential.

Let’s discuss how stress affects fertility—both implantation and pregnancy—and provide tips for reducing stress levels while trying to conceive.

How Stress Affects Fertility and Implantation

Stress is known to reduce libido, which can obviously impact your chances of conception. But other hormonal changes occur when you're under high levels of stress that can negatively impact fertility. 

Your body is designed to prioritize survival when under extreme stress, and reproduction does not fall into this survival category. As a result, your body can shut down the production of reproductive hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone to redirect energy toward more essential activities required for survival. This disruption of hormone levels can lead to irregular or absent ovulation, which reduces your chances of getting pregnant.

Once the egg has been fertilized, it begins its journey to the uterus, where it must implant itself in the uterine lining. As we know, this is a critical moment because implantation must be successful for the egg to develop into an embryo and, eventually, a fetus. 

However, elevated stress levels can also make this process difficult—research suggests that chronic stress causes cellular changes, making it harder for the egg to implant in the uterus. This can lead to reduced fertility and increased risk of miscarriage.

Tips for Reducing Stress While Trying to Conceive

Fertility isn’t just about ovulation, sperm count, and timing—stress can also significantly impact the ability to conceive. Stress has been linked to reduced fertility in both men and women, which can also create additional stress, forming a cycle. 

Here are some ideas for how you can manage your stress levels naturally:

  1. Make time for relaxation—take walks, spend time in nature, or read a book that helps you relax.
  2. Practice yoga or other forms of low-impact exercise.
  3. Talk to a therapist or other health professional if stress is severe or unmanageable.
  4. Develop healthy habits like eating nutritious meals, getting plenty of sleep, and drinking lots of water.
  5. Try other fertility-friendly activities, such as acupuncture or massage, to help reduce stress levels while trying to conceive.

Stress Reducing Supplements

The frustrating thing about stress and fertility is that they can feed off each other: you may experience stress because you’re trying to conceive, making conception more difficult. Therefore, stress reduction is more important than ever during this period of time. One way to do this is by incorporating supplements into your wellness routine. 

It's important to note that while supplements are generally safe to use, they may interact with prescription medications. Always consult with your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements.


Magnesium is a mineral that plays a vital role in numerous bodily functions, including nerve and muscle function and energy production. It also helps regulate cortisol, a hormone that's produced during stress. Magnesium has been shown to reduce anxiety levels, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality. The recommended daily dose of magnesium is 320 mg.

It’s important to note that there are many different forms of magnesium, so be sure to consult with your doctor before taking them. Taking one you don’t need (such as the most common type found in drug stores) may result in unpleasant side effects.


Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It's known for its ability to lower cortisol levels, reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, and improve mood. Ashwagandha also has anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit conception and pregnancy. The recommended daily dose of ashwagandha is 500-1,000 mg.


5-HTP is a compound produced from the amino acid tryptophan (yes, the stuff that makes you sleepy following the consumption of turkey). It is converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and behavior. 

Studies have shown that 5-HTP can help reduce anxiety, depression, and stress levels. A randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research showed that 5-HTP supplementation improved mood and reduced anxiety in people with panic disorder. The recommended daily dose of 5-HTP is 50-200 mg.

Many people find that supplements help them live healthier lives, but remember to always consult your physician before starting a new supplement regimen. 

Looking for Help Reducing Stress?

Stress can significantly affect fertility—from reducing libido to inhibiting implantation and increasing the risk of miscarriage during pregnancy. It’s vital to reduce stress while trying to conceive to maximize your chances of success. For more information, check out our new wellness initiative, VFP+, or contact us.