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Does stress affect your ability to get pregnant? Our experts weigh in

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SEATTLE -- If you're struggling to have a baby, you aren't alone; an estimated 10% of women in the U.S. battle infertility. But it can still feel isolating- in many cases, it's still a topic people aren't comfortable talking about. Our experts say that alone can cause additional stress; not to mention the oft-heard refrain of 'Just relax!'

Stephanie Gianarelli is the founder of Acupuncture Northwest and Associates (based in Seattle and Tacoma); Dr. Lora Shahine is a reproductive endocrinologist at Pacific Northwest Fertility (in Seattle). Together, they brought insight on how both eastern and western medicine address the issue of stress and fertility.

Dr. Shahine talked about how research on the topic is mixed; many patients who have been successful with IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) have been able to, in retrospect, notice that they were not battling stress at the time of the treatment. But because many of these studies focus on a something that isn't black-and-white (each patient interprets stress level differently) it can be tough, from a western perspective, to say with certainty that stress affects fertility. However, she says she does see a positive impact from patients who manage their stress levels, and often recommends a variety of coping tactics, from yoga to acupuncture.

Speaking of acupuncture: Stephanie Gianarelli brought an eastern medicine perspective to the discussion, saying Chinese medicine does in fact find that stress affects people differently, depending on their constitution, or physical makeup. In this sense, we all might physically interpret stress in different ways; she says this is where acupuncture can come into play, putting the body into a meditative state.

Dr. Shahine and Stephanie work together with some patients, and they spoke a lot about how one can benefit from an approach to fertility that encompasses both the eastern and western perspectives. You can learn more by watching the video from their segment above; or click HERE to buy their book, just released, called 'Planting the Seeds of Pregnancy'.

For more on Pacific NW Fertility, click HERE.

For more on Acupuncture Northwest and Associates, click HERE. 

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