Stress is almost universal. Whether from a single situation or you find yourself stressed out by work, family, relationships…stress can't be avoided. Certainly, stress can take its toll on your body, both physically and emotionally. And research shows that there are levels of certain hormones that vary when people are under stress. But can these emotional and physical changes affect your ability to conceive?

Most often, the answer is probably not. Yet, extreme amounts of stress can result in unpredictable or absent ovulation. But there really is no medical literature supporting the theory that stress causes infertility.

The effects of stress really do not become a focus to those trying to conceive unless they are having a difficult time conceiving. When a couple starts trying, usually it is not a stressful process. In fact, it should be fun and exciting. However, the emotional roller-coaster of waiting to get pregnant -- and then the disappointment if it doesn't happen -- can be extremely stressful for any couple.

The advice I give to couples is to try your best to relax and enjoy the process. When it's time to seek professional help trying to conceive, don't hesitate to do so. But in the meantime, try different activities for releasing stress, including exercise, yoga, counseling, or meditation.

Do you feel like preexisting stress -- or the stress from trying to conceive -- may be having an effect on your ability to get pregnant? What has helped you relax and enjoy the process of trying for a baby?