Durham Holistic Counselling and complementary Therapies

Chronic Stress and Sub-Fertility


During times of chronic stress, when excessive levels of cortisol build in the bloodstream, non-essential systems, such as the endocrine (hormonal) system can become disrupted. Over time, chronic stress can begin to negatively impact both the delicate balance of the menstrual cycle, and work to hinder functional implantation of a fertilised embryo. ​​

I don't think I am stressed. I love my life! I just can't seem to get pregnant?


It is important to understand that a biological definition of stress isn't really associated with not coping in life or with not being happy. Stress is much more deeply related to the manner in which we think, and to what might be occurring in our mind sub-consciously. Sub-fertility can bring about frequent moments of deep fear and distress, and those emotions can often be powerful enough to signal the bodies fight or flight response, and ultimately act to hinder conception.

Epigenetic Principles: Promotion of the Hospitable Womb


The hospitable womb concept is grounded  in  epigenetic principles - acknowledging that environmental factors within a woman (uterus) must be safe in order for implantation to occur and the developing embryo to thrive. 

Where unexplained sub-fertility or repeated failure in IVF (with good grade embryos) is a problem, then working to ensure the provision of safe epigenetic environment can make a very real difference to outcomes. 

The Sessions

Fertility focused sessions are a blend of counselling, stress management, reflexology and ear acupuncture (optional). 

Both reflexology and auricular (ear) acupuncture excel in encouraging deep states of physical relaxation and have been recommended where stress and anxiety exists. Reflexology offers the added bonus of encouraging the production of oxytocin in the body, as well as increasing local perfusion (blood flow) directly to vital organs, such as the uterus and ovaries.  

Within a supportive therapuetic space you can learn about your body, as well pick up useful tips on how better manage daily stress responses. The overall outcome tends to manifest in a calmer brain, and a more stable menstrual cycle. 

One-Off Fertility/IVF Consultation Session

I have met with a number of women who have attended for a consultation session and then, armed with a little more optimism and a fresh new plan of action, go on to locate a supportive reflexology or acupuncture practitioner nearer to their work or home.

Please do still get in touch if you feel you would benefit from a consultation session, but live too far away to attend for regular sessions.  

One-Off Two Hour Session:


IVF Support

Ideally, I like to meet with women at least  two months prior to the start of an IVF cycle or embryo transfer. Calming the nervous system and moving out of the chronic stress state can take some time.  At the end of the initial consultation we will decide together how often to include session in the run up to the start date of your IVF protocol. 

Once IVF begins I like to meet with clients weekly. 

Natural Fertility Support

Ideally​, I like to work with women across three full menstrual cycles. This timeframe often provides a sufficient window in which to address any menstrual disruptions -  such as a shortened luteal phase, secondary  amenorrhea, or an elongated cycle, and to  stabilise the nervous system. 

Sessions take place weekly.

Session Costs

Initial Consultation (90-120 mins) £65.00

​Single Session 

(60 minutes) £35.00

Sub-fertility and IVF clients receive a free 48  page support booklet  penned by Nichola, demonstrating the impact of chronic stress on fertility and embryo implantation, and highlighting how women might best insure provision of the safe and hospitable womb.