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Misconception: Relax to Get Pregnant

FACT: Not only is this one of the more prevalent misconceptions (just hint at the fact that you’re having trouble conceiving and someone in your life is bound to tell you about the infertile couple they know who got pregnant the moment they took a cruise), it also happens to be one of the more infuriating. You can’t help but feel as if you’re somehow being blamed for the pregnancy test coming back negative.

The fact of the matter is that the best stress management techniques in the world won’t cure a bona fide fertility problem. According to Diane Clapp, B.S.N., R.N., Medical Information Director for Resolve, The National Infertility Association, studies have failed to demonstrate any link between stress reduction and fertility improvement. Clapp advises that learning to manage stress is still a good idea for couples who are having difficulty conceiving, because “while it’s not a treatment, it can help you to survive the crisis.”

That said, it should be added that there are times when reducing stress can help to boost the odds of conceiving. Severe, chronic stress (as opposed to the everyday kind) can temporarily suppress menstruation, interfere with the hormones required to produce healthy sperm, and reduce the odds of in vitro fertilization procedures being successful, all of which can wreak havoc on your baby-making plans.

Fall 2005