COVID Stress, and Infertility

Dr Richa Sharma & Dr Amit Basnotra
COVID-19 pandemic is affecting
all of us irrespective of any nation and age group and everyone facing challenges with varied intensity which has a psychological impact which can be stressful causing strong emotions in adults and children.
There is lot of uncertainty associated though many health actions have been taken to reduce the spread of the infection and we hope we all could come out of this crisis.There are certain new changes we have to add to our life as a habit at least till we are facing this phase which includes using of face masks,hand washing and social distancing which are necessary but sometimes they can make us feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety especially prone age group like elderly and kids rather anyone can suffer as human being a social being not used to isolation but we have to learn to cope up with the current situation as our life is not only ours but we have responsibility to our family,our land and our nation so we should take all measures to keep safe so we are not actually saving self but setting example of positivity and making community and nation stronger.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations so we need to have patience in dealing others in this time.
Impact of Stress
Stress can cause sea of emotions especially when we acquire infection or see any of our near dear suffering
* Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration
* Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests
* Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
* Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
* Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
Is it Natural To Be Stressed
Yes its natural to have stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during the COVID-19 pandemic but definitely it’s not going to help so we have to be more realistic and come out of situation as a winner and we should try to adopt to ways to cope up with the stress as any illness will take its time and course so worrying not going to cut short that time.
We should try be a positive thinker and help others also emotionally to manage stress.
Ways to manage stress
* Take breaks – from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. It’s good to be informed, but hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple of times a day and disconnecting from phone, TV, and computer screens for a while. Take breaks to unwind through yoga, music, gardening, or new hobbies.
* Take care of your body-
* Treat yourself to healthy foods and get enough sleep
* Exercise regularly.
* Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and substance use.
* Get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine when available.
* Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Take care of your body and get moving to lessen fatigue, anxiety, or sadness
* Connect with others- Find new ways to safely connect with family and friends, get support, and share feelings
Still if you feel stressed better reach your doctor
Its Impact on Infertility
As per an anonymous cross-sectional online survey, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in spontaneous pregnancy expectations but there was rather an opposite outcome which was observed as we had discussed in our one of last articles
To add to this there were various updates and guidelines coming up but the stress of infertility remains significant and is comparable a stressor to the pandemic itself.
Stress is one of the factors related directly indirectly to infertility and at present when we all are facing the covid pandemic,it definitely has an impact on our mental health and more so in the couples who going through the painful journey of infertility.It has been observed that with unprecedented global pandemic of COVID-19, causing economic and societal uncertainty, the stress of infertility remains significant.
Impact on Pregnancy
At this time there are no direct medical concerns with pregnancy and COVID-19 but take all precautions if you are pregnant. Researchers will continue their studies on this topic, but as far as we know COVID-19 does not have a direct impact on pregnant women.
Impact on Fertility Potential
Stress does indeed correlate with fertility. Many studies have shown how stress can impact the reproductive system, because of the fight or flight response the body has when dealing with high stress situations that’s why high stress women can miss their menstrual cycles(Secondary amenorrhoea).
Stress and anxiety can alter the hormone balance necessary to become pregnant. It can effect the pregnancy chances of the couples so don’t let stress about the coronavirus take a toll on your fertility plan.Think positive and be hopeful always as there are certain phases in life when we are in status Quo situation. So be safe and protected.
(The authors are Senior IVF Consultant Delhi NCR and Senior Gastroentrologist)