Since I talk so much about stress and the impact it has on the body, particularly during preconception, pregnancy, & birth… I love the perspective this video brings on the topic. HOW you think about stress, the STORY you have when you feel it - it all makes a difference. Give it a look!
If you’re like most modern couples, you’ve found that conception in this day and age is no small task. It involves a ton of decisions at every stage. And for the 20-30% of couples who struggle to conceive or carry a pregnancy full term, those decisions seem endless.
But couples who do manage to conceive and give birth successfully (after initially struggling) often have several things in common with each other. So I just wanted to break down the three stages of conception success for you to support your journey:
1. Shift Out of the "Fight or Flight" Stress Response
This is first and foremost. When your body is super stressed day in and day out – even if you think of the high paced life as “normal” – the body has to operate in a permanent crisis-mode. Not good for conception. Think of the evolutionary purpose for fight/flight – to survive danger. When we (our species) were either running for our lives or staving of predators, reproduction wasn’t a high priority.
So when your body is stressed now, even if the stress isn’t life-threatening, it defaults to that stress-response state. Reproduction, digestion, and other “secondary” processes in the body (anything not necessary for staying alive in the moment) go to the back burner. All of the body’s blood, oxygen, and energy get directed AWAY from the reproductive system and towards what it considers essential for survival.
This stress response doesn’t hurt reproduction if it’s only engaged on a short-term or a temporary basis, but low blood flow alone through your womb, for example, will cause a big problem for conception if it’s an ongoing issue.
What can you do?
Once fight or flight has been disengaged, it’s important to get your body into the very nurturing response that we like to call rest and digest, a.k.a. “feed & breed.” As I mentioned, digestion and reproduction are low priority when we’re in survival mode, but once we tell our body we are not in physical danger, we want our body to say, “Ok, in that case let’s go ahead and send more blood and oxygen to those ‘non-essential’ functions again.”
This, for many of the people I work with, is easier said than done because they’re just so used to the rat-race. Unwinding is no small task for them. If you find it hard too, stick to it. It’s so important.
What can you do?
This stage involves lots of substeps, but once you’re here (if you’ve really shifted yourself out of a constant stress-response) you’ve tipped the scales in your favor considerably. During this phase, there are two key focuses: connecting to your body more, and sustaining “positive” thoughts & emotions.
What can you do?
These ideas should give you plenty of food for though, and hopefully will inspire you to take some action around the step/s most resonant to you. If you're already getting help with most of these suggestions, consider this a confirmation that you're on the right track. Keep going!!
Mary Goyer, M.S. specializes in mind-body approaches to fertility, pregnancy, birth and parenthood - blending her training as a Marriage & Family therapist with her holistic expertise and deep spiritual connection.