It has been debated in the past whether or not stress can negatively impact your chances of getting pregnant. However, recent studies suggest that it can, and with the holidays quickly approaching, you may already be feeling your stress levels rise. This time of year can be stressful for everyone, but when you are trying to get pregnant or thinking about trying to get pregnant in the near future, there may be some added pressures.
From probing questions from Aunt Carol like, “when are you two going to pop out some kids?” to suggest statements from mom like, “hurry up and make me a grandma!” to your cousin Brenda trying to imply something by saying, “oh, I see you’re not drinking any alcohol (nudge-nudge, wink-wink)”, it’s enough to make anyone feel a little stressed.
Techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, exercise and long bubble baths are a great way to keep stress at bay, but sometimes we need a little extra help. Herbs can be a great, gentle (and often delicious) way to help manage stress. Below are 5 herbs that can help you get through the stressful holiday season without negatively impacting your fertility.
1. Ashwagandha Root (Withania somnifera)
Ashwaganda is consider an adaptogenic herb. When we are stressed, our adrenals (a gland that sits right above the kidneys) kick into high gear. This can lead to different states, ranging from being hyper-reactive, anxious and always in “fight or flight” mode, to feeling fatigued, burned out and depressed. Adatogenic herbs can help the adrenals regulate this stress response. Ultimately, they help you handle stress better. Winning! Ashwagandha can has also been shown to be beneficial for sperm production and male fertility.
2. Astragalus Root (Astragalus membranaceus)
Astragalus is another adaptogenic herb in addition to be good for just about everything else. This herb can also help regulate your immune system, which is great for allergies or autoimmune conditions. Like ashwagandha, astragalus has also been shown to have a positive effect on sperm. It is also particularly protective for the kidneys and liver. In case that it isn’t enough, it also helps fight viral infections.
3. Rose Root (Rhodiola rosea)
Rose root is another herb that is great for so many different conditions. This herb is an adaptogenic herb, helps regulate the immune system and can also help with depression. If your stress is leading to feelings of fatigue and depression, then rose root is for you. The bonus you get with this herb, is that it is also an aphrodisiac, which can definitely help on the fertility journey. Less stress, happier and in the mood… it doesn’t get much better than that.
4. Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)
Lavender is an herb that most are familiar with, but don’t underestimate its power. While rhodiola can help with depression, lavender is a nervine and can help to ease anxiety. The really great thing about this herb is that it can be used in so many different ways. You can drink it as a tea, as an essential oil for aromatherapy, or you can get really creative and make it into a syrup to pour over some ice cream.
5. Milky Oats (Avena sativa)
Milky oats might be better known by the name Avena because of the brand, Aveno, that includes this herb in their lotions and soaps (although, at a very low dose). This is another herb that is great for helping with stress and anxiety, particularly the kind that leads to nervous exhaustion. Who hasn’t experienced that over the holiday season? Milky oats can help you calm down and get to sleep. This herb also has a lot of nutrients in it, and is another one that has been shown to improve sperm quality. A bonus of milky oats is they are also calming to the skin, so irritated skin caused by the dry winter weather can be helped with a milky oats bath.
With these herbs and some extra self-care, you will be able to enjoy a low stress holiday season. Lastly, don’t feel shy about clearly communicating your needs to the people around you. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask. If you are uncomfortable by people’s comments about getting pregnant, don’t feel bad about nicely asking them to not bring up the topic anymore. People will understand. Happy beginning of the holiday season!