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Female infertility: Indian women are too stressed to conceive

With increasing age, a woman’s probability of getting pregnant decreases naturally. © Shutterstock

India is all set to become the most populated country in the world. But, Indian women are struggling to conceive. Read on to know the causes behind female infertility and how to get rid of them.

Written by Editorial Team |Published : July 17, 2019 2:10 PM IST

India has a population of 1.37 billion. It is all set to surpass China as the world's most populous country by around 2027. This is according to a UN data on world population. But, Indian couples are increasingly facing issues of infertility. Isn't it ironical? Do you know that 10 to 15 per cent of married couples in India battle infertility? Yes, you read it right. This is what the data of a Bangalore-based medical technology company states.

MAIN CULPRITS BEHIND INFERTILITY

Infertility refers to constant failed attempts to get pregnant. The inability to conceive a child or not being able to hold the foetus in the womb is known as female infertility. There are various causes behind this emotionally and physically distressing problem. Some of them include complications with ovulation, damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus or problems with the cervix.

Age also contributes to infertility. With increasing age, a woman's probability of getting pregnant decreases naturally. Factors like hormonal imbalance, eating disorder, alcohol, caffeine, obesity and stress may also contribute to female infertility.

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Stress

"Higher levels of stress are associated with lower odds of conception for women, but not for men", says a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. For this study, researchers enrolled 4,769 women and 1,272 men. They did not have a history of infertility and were trying to conceive for less than six menstrual cycles. The scientists followed them for 12 months or until pregnancy, whichever came first. During the study, they kept on measuring their stress levels in certain durations.

The study result showed that women always scored higher in stress than men. Also, women with a stress score of at least 25 (on a scale of 1 to 40), were 13 per cent less likely to conceive than those with a stress score less than 10. Researchers said that stress is associated with decreased intercourse frequency (due to low libido) and increased menstrual cycle irregularity. These are factors that probably prevented these women from becoming pregnant.

Caffeine

Drinking caffeine can decrease a woman's chance of getting pregnant, says a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. According to scientists, tiny hair-like projections, called cilia, in the lining of the fallopian tubes, help carry eggs to the uterus with the assistance of muscle contractions in the tube walls. And, caffeine prevents the contractions. This is why women with high caffeine consumption usually take a longer time to conceive.

WORKOUTS THAT CAN HELP YOU CONCEIVE

If you are planning a baby and have been disappointed numerous times, it's time you start exercising. It isn't a secret that exercise can help improve your chances of conception and help you to have a safe pregnancy and labour. Researches has proven that if you are trying to conceive, it is important for a woman to maintain a healthy lifestyle and being physically fit, as it helps in regaining stamina and rejuvenating the energy level. If you're overweight, a sensible exercise program along with prescribed diets can help in conceiving. However, before starting any kind of physical activity it is advisable to consult your doctor. Here are some of the exercises that you should try.

Brisk walking

It is an ideal exercise. It is a great cardiovascular exercise, especially if you walk at a reasonable pace, and it also helps to tone your legs, back and tummy. Concentrating on the lower part of the body, which is a problem area for most women, this will help to reduce fat, thereby improving your chances of conception. Read about the eight most common mistakes that pregnant women make.

Dancing

It is a great way to stay fit and flexible, especially when you're trying to conceive. It works as a whole-body workout regimen and can help build stamina and strength. Remember, physical fatigue is one of the many reasons that make it difficult for a woman to conceive. Here are nine exercise dos and don'ts for pregnant women.

Swimming

is the safest and most preferred exercise before and during pregnancy. It builds up the endurance level and reduces stress effortlessly. Swimming can be continued even when you are undergoing the infertility treatments, and there is always a positive impact on it. It recharges the body and is a lot of fun too.

Cycling

It is again another cardiovascular exercise that keeps your cholesterol levels in check and reduces your risk for conditions such as type 2 diabetes. It is one of the ideal preconception workouts.

Yoga

It includes meditation and breathing techniques that make your mind calm and reduce anxiety. By performing fertility yoga, you can strengthen your reproductive organs and muscles that are used during pregnancy and childbirth. Their deep-breathing technique increases blood circulation, reduces stress and synchronises your mind-body-soul, which is an important aspect of conception.

Strength training

This is great for building up stamina and strength. This form of exercise is great to reduce insulin resistance. 3 to 4 days a week is usually enough. It is important to never overdo weight training as it may increase androgen levels and in fact may be counterproductive.

DO NOT GO OVERBOARD

Extremely athletic women have overall lower levels of body fat. They experience menstrual cycle disturbances and irregular ovulation, factors known to decrease fertility. Research has revealed that women who exercised daily and exhausted themselves had increased risk of infertility. This is due to increase in cortisol levels and reduced thyroid hormone activity. But worry not, female infertility due to high-intensity exercise is reversible by reducing activity and increasing body fat.

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