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“Stress and Reproductive Health during COVID -19 ” : How it works and how to cope with it !

11/04/20

 

                                                                                                          

 

COVID-19 has had many unexpected consequences in our lives. Most of us are practicing social distancing, some of us have been asked to suddenly change our way of life by working from home or staying in lock down and last but not least plans & holidays are being cancelled. There’s no doubt that these changes can be really stressful and very often, stress can affect our cycle, our general well-being and our health.

Our aim at Assisting Nature IVF Unit is to make health & reproductive health our first priority for ladies worldwide. In other words, we want you to stay healthy, grounded and calm and when all this is over we will be prepared to welcome you all back and pick up from where we left off, THUS CONTINUE BRINGING YOUR DREAMS TO PARENTHOOD COME TO LIFE!

How Stress Affects Reproductive Health

When exposed to danger, the human body reacts immediately by releasing the stress hormones Cortisol & Adrenaline. These two are responsible for increased heart rate, high blood pressure & blood flow to the muscles for a successful “fight or flight” reaction, depending on the situation.

Today, there is rarely an actual need to fight or flee, yet we do still actively concentrate and feel muscle tension during stress.

Cortisol is made from progesterone, which is also necessary for the production of estrogen & testosterone, both crucial hormones for the female reproductive system. However, stress lasts a long time and the body prioritizes using progesterone for producing more cortisol and fighting off stress.

As a result, the body under stress may not have enough progesterone to synthesize sex hormones and to ensure the proper functioning of the female reproductive system, which eventually may lead to fertility problems.

Tips & Tricks to cope with stress.

Sleep.

Sleep impacts our ability to manage cortisol and impacts the body’s ability to regulate hormone levels efficiently. The rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage is the most important stage of sleep and it normally occurs later in the sleep cycle. Each sleep cycle lasts on average 90 minutes, meaning a person should strive to rotate through 5-6 sleep cycles a night.

Establish a bedtime routine that may help :

  • Set up a calming bedtime routine that will signal your body to get ready for sleep
  • Have a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including the weekends
  • Decrease random sounds by using a white noise machine or something similar that can provide consistent background noise, unlike a television or a radio
  • Avoid long naps, especially later in the day
  • Avoid working out fewer than three hours before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day, ideally starting at noon

Mindfulness

Most people are not present in their environment and are commonly ruminating over the past or worrying about the future. This often increases our stress even when we are not in stressful environments.

Consider trying meditation to increase presence and connection to the body & mind. Light yoga and breathing techniques can also be meditative for people, will alleviate symptoms and can be easily performed before bedtime. Humans benefit physically and mentally from engaging in calming activities throughout the day to increase their ability tcertainty such as the ones we are facing now.

Movement.

Intentionally walking for 30 minutes per day is sufficient for exercise, but going to the gym or fitness classes 2-3 times a week can work wonders for you. There are lots of outside the box ways to get exercise too such as hiking, cycling or you can even try a climbing wall if you are feeling adventurous.

Gratitude.

Having a gratitude practice increases positive emotions that can act as natural relaxants in the body. Intentionally thinking of at least one event/person/thing that you are grateful for daily can increase the habit of acknowledging positive aspects of your life. Note that gratitude is best when it’s specific, so fully think of what about the event or person lead you to acknowledge it and what you were feeling and sensing at the moment.o sleep at night and in addition to that meditation and yoga are ideal options that have been heavily researched to benefit the body by decreasing cortisol levels. It will help you obtain and keep your inner peace even through times of uncertainty.