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COVID-19 & Mental Health | How Is Anxiety Affecting Fertility?

Infertility

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Aug 06, 2021

The Covid – 19 pandemic has significant impacts on the mental as well as physical health of people. The major concern of couples these days is, how is Covid-19 anxiety affecting fertility? Not only health, but this pandemic has also changed the prospects of life in many ways. In terms of medical issues, doctors, researchers, and public health officials have reported stigma in society. This Covid – 19 anxiety affects mental health to the extreme that it causes other pot syndrome illnesses where fertility is the primary concern of upcoming parents during this pandemic phase. 

How is covid-19 anxiety affecting fertility

The fear has transformed into anxiety that harshly influences the pregnant woman. And for that, public health officials and medical teams consistently reach out to work upon the issues to resolve them. Getting deeper into it, we found other major post Covid – 19 syndrome-like lung infection, heart problems, kidney damage, and other lasting illnesses. Apart from medical issues, people are facing other economic and financial instability during this phase. All over the world, Covid – 19 has eloped many openings and vaguely dragged down the economy.

Covid-19 Social Impacts and Current Scenario

It is more than a year and a half living under the threat of the COVID 19 pandemic. Life has almost become very hazardous while maintaining the cautions. Even after following the guidelines announced publically by the Govt, it is still tough to live normally. Maintaining personal (social) distancing, wearing a mask, hand sanitization, and avoiding close contacts has become a routine. 

Yet all this has created a fuss in the minds of people that eventually creates behaviour disorders. It’s not like the people lost their abilities or controls, but they are fed up with this lifestyle. Everyone is trying out to balance this new norm, and soon they overcome their stigma too. With the arrival of vaccines now, people are positively looking forward to getting back to their everyday lives. And yes, while waiting for the third wave, the world is well prepared to combat their fears and trauma. 

Can anxiety affect fertility? 

Today, couples are concerned to know how is Covid-19 anxiety affecting fertility? But before that it is also important to know whether anxiety can affect fertility or not. Answering this question, Yes, anxiety directly hits the hormones in our body. It concludes with many unexpected changes, especially in pregnant women, as we all know that any kind of mental stress or anxiety during pregnancy is not safe. And the level of anxiety during has risen very high. It is quite undeserving for pregnant women during this pandemic, affecting their physical and mental health drastically.

To understand this, we can compare and observe it based on fear in ordinary people. If any woman gets infected (Symptomatic or Asymptomatic) to Covid – 19, it lasts a severe impact on her mind. How much she convince herself still the stigma affects her thought process and leads to physical inabilities. Here infertility is a significant concern among those disorders. Precisely there are very undetermined facts for infertility due to anxiety. But they termed that stress affects sleep and the immune system in a way that affects the implantation and sex frequency. 

Anxiety affects fertility and results in some psychological disorders during pregnancy. These psychological disordersinclude:

  • OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  • PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Panic attacks and paralyzing fear
  • Bipolar disorders &Eating disorders

Earlier, medical science doesn’t agree that anxiety affects fertility. Some reports prove that anxiety does not influence ovulation. On the other hand, psychologists believe that anxiety or stress during pregnancy slows down childbearing capability. Recent studies on women’s lack of pregnancy due to being stress, over-ambitious, work conscious are categorized as psychogenic infertility. 

How to reduce stress when trying to conceive?

There is a time when a couple, especially women, feels prepared to conceive a baby. But unfortunately, Covid – 19 has also lacked the ratio of conceiving. Apart from pandemic fears, generally, if any couple expects a child and fails to conceive, this fact also becomes a cause of infertility in the women. Waiting every month for good news and failing to get it leads to unwanted stress. That is quite natural, but it reduces the chance to conceive. 

Suggestions to reduce stress when trying to conceive

  • Visit a Doctor first

It is essential to visit a doctor before making any personal assumption if not getting pregnant. Consulting a doctor could help make up the mind and probably get the proper treatment if there is an issue. Also, proper consultation and medication will keep informing about the status of the health. 

  • Don’t ignore a healthy diet.

It is meant that a portion of good food is a good mood. Take a healthy diet, especially a nutritious diet that helps in conceiving. The more healthy intakes the body has, the more healthy the organs become, which is essential for preparing the hormones inside the body to conceive. 

  • Take a good sleep 

Forget everything once you go to sleep. Don’t ignore the sleep or skip the resting time. A healthy body is a home for good emotions. And good feelings help to reduce stress when trying to conceive. So have a sound sleep to have an effective conceive and prevent all chances of infertility.

  • Take proper medicine  

Follow the doctor’s prescription without skipping the timely medicines. Avoid pills that are not advised and keep observation of your body and its reactions, if any.   

  • Follow a fitness routine.

Fix a routine and strictly follow it to keep the body fit and the mind relaxed. Practice any fitness mantra-like yoga, meditation, exercise, or any hobby that ignites positivity in you.

  • How does stress affect ovulation?

The female body secretes hormones that help in ovulation and conceiving. Due to stress, the secretion of the hormonal glands gets disturbed. The hypothalamus in the pituitary gland controls the body behaviour that affects the release of egg counts in a woman’s body. In this way, stress affects ovulation and interrupts pregnancy.

Furthermore, ovulation is a normal process in a female body that initiates pregnancy. Every month female body experiences ovulation, and when it is mutated with sperms, it results in pregnancy. Also, if a woman has a healthy menstrual cycle, she will naturally conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. 

Getting regular stress is so common, but infertility stress is unavoidable. Women under treatment regarding infertility, ovulation, or implantation faces unwelcomed stressed right from the beginning, where the stress of not bearing a child impacts the hormonal health and reduces the accomplishment of ovulation and impacts conceiving. 

The Risk of Severe Covid-19 Infections in Pregnant Women

  • CDC reported that the risk in pregnant women than in ordinary people is higher. But the surveys reported that pregnant women were less threatened than nonpregnant women during covid – 19 exposure as the overall risk was recorded low.
  • Recent studies from the UK stated the death of pregnant women due to COVID 19 was minimal. And they observed that the pregnant women were less affected by COVID 19 when compare to other previous outbreaks. 
  • Thus, COVID 19 has interference to the female ovulation process. Still, the studies found a low impact of ACE2 enzyme on the surface female reproductive organ, so they are less susceptible to Covid-19 infections in females. And there is not much effect of Covid-19 infection technically when compared to stress.

Can stress affect implantation?

Implantation is also a part of pregnancy in the female body. Due to extreme stress, the uterus doesn’t receive proper blood that affects implantation. Apart from generic conditions the stress also plays a significant role in pregnancy failure or disrupting implantation. In pregnancy, the organs and the hormones have equal role play. 

Majorly hormones supervised the behaviour of the organ that affects implantation and fertilization. Once an embryo is implanted, the hormones take charge to support the uterus to hold the pregnancy. So one should ensure not to stress to save implantation and let not anxiety affect fertility. 

How to not stress about getting pregnant?

It’s not that easy not to stress about getting pregnant.  One needs to think about how is Covid-19 anxiety affecting fertility? Stress is natural when things did not go right in people’s lives, especially when having a baby or planning to conceive. Pregnancy is an emotional aspect of people’s lives, and it gets intense when it’s not normal.

Here are some ways to not stress about getting pregnant: These point help you to know how to stop worrying about getting pregnant.

  • Don’t overthink too much

Don’t overthink about your pregnancy to avoid extreme fatigue. The more you get into the pain, the more it harms your mental and physical health. Try to stay positive with your thoughts and get accompanied by good people for positivity. 

  • Keep yourself busy

Try to be busy or involve in some activities or get engaged in some regular work. A busy life schedule will help to save from unwanted hammering. Also, the more you work, the less you focus on negative thoughts. Also, it will boost your confidence and inner strengths.  

  • Communicate with favourite people 

Talk to the people who admire and support you. No matter what, they listen and help to pull the toxic thoughts out of mind. Better communication always helps a person to overcome depression. Always give out fears to relax the mind to reach out the peace.

  • Discuss with the partner

If you have good bonding, discuss mental health, fears, and trauma with the partner. Speaking about mental health help a woman to express easily about her body. The closeness with a partner may bring the partner concern and help not feel alone or weak. 

  • Enjoy during sex 

Having regular sex is a good sign of a relationship also; it helps in complementing the hormones. It is believed that a healthy sex life leads to a healthy routine life and balances your mental health. Eventually, the comfort with the partner soothes the body during sex and helps in healthy pregnancy if willing to it. 

Can depression cause infertility?

Overthinking causes infertility, but medical science entitles it as a lack of ability to reproduce. It is imperative to know how is covid-19 anxiety affecting fertility? Infertility occurs due to many reasons that can be treated and settle through proper medicines. And they do not believe much in the theory that depression can cause infertility. Practically, medical science observes the human body and deal with its functionality respectively. 

Today even medical science correlates that depression causes infertility. So a depressed person needs enough support from family and friends. Long-term pregnancy failures upturn the stress into the depression that causes infertility, disrupted behaviour, unwanted trauma, and other abnormalities in the female body. 

Depression is an extreme level of anxiety, and it is pretty not safe for women expecting pregnancy or planning to it. You might be thinking How is Covid-19 anxiety affecting fertility? There are many reasons for infertility, but depression is one of them. The doctor assesses the person’s mental health and the case history to identify depression. One should take proper medication to overcome depression if advised. Don’t take any antidepressants or therapy without consulting a doctor. 

If some couples plan to have a child and suffer from depression, they must cure it first. Later they have to take the next step to plan a child. For a safe pregnancy, it is required to have a stable mind and body. 

The psychological impact of fertility treatment suspensions due to COVID 19

After surveying and lots of research worldwide, the psychological impact has risen negatively in males and females. The fertility treatment suspensions due to covid 19 have had a worse effect on women’s mental health and life. The psychological factors indicate the status of mental and physical health in women also in men too. 

During this challenging phase of COVID 19, more than 50% of people reported symptoms of depression. They are extremely upset about the cancellation of infertility treatment. Furthermore, women experienced extremely depressed mental health in the process of conceiving and fertility treatment. This impact is more significant where the social support to the women under infertility treatment is neglected. Apart from this, the women given the best care and support during pandemic COVID 19 had less fatigue during their fertility treatment procedures. 

During a pandemic, the data reveals the women’s mental status-seeking treatment for infertility. The data and indicators reflect 55% of women well supported by their partners best coped up with the suspension of infertility treatment. The quality of social support helped women deal positively with the stress and impact of anxiety on fertility. 

COVID 19 outbreak impact of fertility treatment suspension has widely changed the perception of researchers and global health officials. Primarily women undergone infertility treatment during a Pandemic Virus is widely influenced. The restricted lifestyle, restricted routine activities, unemployment, global economic conditions, financial instability had an intense impact on women’s health. 

Pointers indicates the quality of women mental health globally during pandemic COVID 19 

  • 67% of women in Portuguese are dealing positively during the COVID 19 pandemic while confining the fears and uncertainty during their treatment suspension.
  • Delayed parental projects upsurge the stress in communities. 
  • A working woman has faced a higher level of depression during infertility treatment suspension.
  • Significantly women facing delayed infertility treatment found their anxiety level high. 
  • Rise in adverse and emotional reactions before, after, and during pregnancy
  • Indicators show an increase in distress in society and families too. Stress and anxiety also have an unpredicted effect on women’s mental health. 
  • Women who are somehow infected from Covid 19 are stressed about how their bodies react during conceiving or how their bodies react to infertility treatment. 

Why do childbearing women disagree with infertility treatment suspension?

Infertility treatment suspension created a stigma in women during COVID 19. Women between the age of 35-45 were concern about their pregnancy as the age sensitivity conceptions in the spread of pandemic and exposure of covid infection to pregnant women are most viable.

Women more than 35 in age were most likely worried and disagreed with the infertility treatment suspension worldwide. Also, they have some fears and curiosities about the influence of COVID 19 while getting pregnant in the pandemic phase. They are concern about their conceiving and how this infection might impact their pregnancy and child. 

What if they get infected by COVID 19 during a pandemic, and how it will impact the body and pregnancy. Is it dangerous for babies or women? Do the pandemic infection change the life and behaviour of the women and child for rest of the life. If yes, what will be the impact, and if no, how can they protect their pregnancy.  

The stress has reported somewhere equal consent to fatal illness for the medical associations during COVID 19. Ageing, delayed pregnancy, long infertility treatment, previous fertility treatment, and other female factors have significantly impacted women’s minds during this pandemic phase. 

Limitations and treatment suspension have affected the mental health of society. It has increased the social distress and instability in societies. 

Women and families around the world are facing unexpected treatment suspension for infertility during the COVID 19 outbreak. The termination or unexpected delay of infertile treatment causes psychological distress. And this may increase the risk of aborting the idea of parenthood during and after COVID 19 too. 

Coping strategies for distressed women and families due to infertility treatment suspension:
  • They connect with the families seeking infertility treatment and know their thoughts for getting parents during the pandemic.
  • They provide counselling to families stigmatized of COVID 19 effects and lasting impacts on conceiving or getting pregnant. 
  • Initiating re-openings of the clinic and public discussion for infertility treatment 
  • They are searching out coping resources for women willing to get pregnant during the covid phase. 
  • Positive admiration and encouraging coping strategies to such women and couples
  • Mitigation of negative impacts on women mental health desiring for pregnancy 
  • They are working to reduce the stress and distractions of the COVID 19 outbreak and how to normalize things.
  • Relieving women having negative emotions or anxiety of treatment suspension   

Conclusion

Covid-19 has affected the lives of people in disastrous ways. But knowing How is covid-19 anxiety affecting fertility and taking steps to tackle it can be of great help to couples. Following a restricted regular lifestyle is a threat to life that hacks the freedom of living. And this causes severe anxiety and stress. There are many parameters to evaluate the stress, but in the case of women’s mental health, covid has triggered the personal lives and the social lives of people. Women’s mental health and stress have raised the cases of infertility. Today medical science also understood that anxiety could affect fertility. The article contains the health issues, effects of anxiety, stress, depression on women’s mental health, and infertility during Covid-19. Also, it reflects the present scenario of how is covid-19 anxiety affects fertility and its psychological impacts. 

  • Women need to give full psychological support before resuming their infertility treatment.
  • Doctors must give better counselling to them before starting any infertility treatment.
  • Couples seeking treatment to conceive or planning a baby must understand how Covid-19 will/will not influence the health of a mother and child.
  • Due to Covid-19, women have significant stress and doubts regarding the effects of the pandemic if they plan a pregnancy or infertility treatment. 

FAQs

Can anxiety stop you from getting pregnant?

Earlier, as per medical terms, they didn’t consider that effects of anxiety stop from getting pregnant. But recent studies show a different perspective, and they found that rise in alpha-amylase enzyme cause hardship in getting pregnant due to an increase in stress.

Does anxiety affect egg quality?

Stress impacts ovulation and implantation while conceiving, so it does not directly hit the egg quality. But alcohol consumptions, improper diet, smoking, use of drugs, and aging are inclined to create stress that indirectly affects the fertile portion of a female body. 

What helps with anxiety when trying to conceive?

Follow a healthy routine, take a proper diet, adequate sleep, practice natural therapies to relax your mind and body. Engage yourself in creative habits, stay busy, do things that make you happy, and last but not least, surround yourself with positive people.

Can stress make it harder to get pregnant?

Yes, the latest studies state that stress can badly affect fertility in a women’s body and reduce the chances of conceiving or getting pregnant. The stress shoots up the enzyme, and it makes it harder to get pregnant. 

How do you relax when trying to get pregnant?

Try to stay away from negative people and avoid useless discussions. Indulge in healthy habits, schedule a healthy day plan, read books, practice meditation, and strictly follow a healthy diet. Discuss your fears with your partner or friends.

References

https://extendfertility.com/coronavirus-covid-19-pregnancy-fertility/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

https://extendfertility.com/coronavirus-covid-https://clinicaltrials.gov

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200921170503.htm

https://www.heraldopenaccess.us/openaccess/quality-of-life-in-infertile-people-forced-to-suspend-assisted-reproductive-technology-treatment-during-the-covid-19-global-health-emergency

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0239253

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