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Stress can affect both male and female fertility, and not conceiving can in itself become a cause of stress. Many women with fertility problems say that their whole life seems to revolve round their monthly cycle – hoping their period will not come, and, when it does, feeling devastated, and that yet another month has been ‘wasted’. The couple’s relationship may be put under severe strain during the rounds of investigations and IVF treatments. For example, one woman who came to see me, after previous unsuccessful IVF treatments, became pregnant naturally. But then her husband left her, saying he never wanted a baby anyway. He had gone with her for numerous IVF treatments but none of this had been spoken about. In such cases counseling may well be helpful.
If stress is a factor for you, then it is also worth learning some form of relaxation, stress management technique or meditation. Hypnotherapy can also be helpful, in that it can work on the subconscious to address emotional blockages.
When you are desperate to conceive, lovemaking can lose its spontaneity as there is the feeling that intercourse must happen on certain days of the month and those days mustn’t be missed. However, research has shown that the more enjoyable the lovemaking (and especially if the woman has an orgasm), the more likely she is to retain more active sperm. The contractions caused by the orgasm draw in more sperm and it is thought that her arousal may make the vagina less acidic, increasing the chances of the sperm surviving longer. I think the message is: enjoy yourselves!
If you take tranquillizers or sleeping pills, talk to your doctor about gradually coming off them and finding an alternative. Herbs can be very helpful. Valerian is a wonderful herb for helping with insomnia and it is classed as a sedative in herbal medicine. Passionflower (or passiflora) is another good herb for helping you sleep and can be used together with valerian for maximum effect. A cup of hot camomile tea before bed can also be effective.
Aromatherapy oils, such as bergamot, lavender and camomile, can be added to a relaxing warm bath just before going to bed.
Magnesium, known as ‘nature’s tranquillizer’, is a good mineral to use when weaning yourself off conventional medication. One dose of magnesium (100mg) can be taken about an hour before you go to bed.
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