If you feel frantic but aren’t sure exactly why, it’s probably anxiety. Millions of people join you in that experience. Good news: There are lot of things you can do about it. And if you’ve been trying to get pregnant, you need to know that reducing stress can often optimize fertility. But you need to find fertility- and pregnancy-friendly ways of dealing with anxiety. Before you head for the meds, see if lifestyle changes can help calm you down.
The safest course is to go ahead and treat your body as if you’re carrying a baby already. Here are some general tips:
- Cut out the source.You already know that trying to get pregnant has its own version of anxiety. So take a little inventory of your day-to-day experience. When possible, tease out stress-provoking tasks in the same way you’d find a food allergy – eliminate one at a time and measure the effects. If you’re a commuter, for example, you might find that zoning out on a bus or train is more soothing than going nuts in traffic. Give any changes you try a week or more to get the full effect.
- Lighten up on the caffeine.If you can all the way to fully decaffeinated, that’s great! But if just the thought of that makes your blood pressure soar, try just cutting your intake of java in half. You can do the same for alcohol and cigarettes. Even though in our minds we link these activities to relaxation, the physiological truth is that they actually stress our bodies out even more.
- Get green.Wherever you have control over the chemicals you’re exposed to, choose less toxic applications. Did you know that even common chemicals like insect repellants can be linked to anxiety?
- Remember that it’s all parenthood practice.While you’re working on bringing a baby into your life, this is a great time to incorporate healthful ways into your day-to-day routines. Babies bring joy and stress. Like the saying goes, having a child means living with your heart outside of your body. Take advantage of pre-baby time to fine-tune your own calming techniques.
- Ask for help.If you try a few changes and still can’t shake the anxiety, seek counseling. If you’re already seeing a fertility specialist, they’re usually great about helping you connect with counselors who specialize in what you’re going through. RESOLVE and the American Fertility Association can also help you locate someone to talk to, where you can dump your troubles and find better ways of self-soothing.