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That old adage about not stressing when you're trying to get pregnant? There actually may be something to it.

The female menstrual cycle is a dynamic process. The sex hormones estrogen, testosterone and progesterone dramatically impact a woman’s emotional state and her libido. At ovulation in particular, a woman’s dreams can be influenced by hormones, and her thoughts can become more sexual and her overall emotional state more heightened, which can then provide the perfect condition to get pregnant. But when stress gets in the way, fertility often takes a hit.

When a woman is stressed, her menstrual cycle can get out of whack. The hypothalamus, which is the center of the brain that regulates her endocrine system, can sense anxiety, and when it does, it can shut down and stop doing its job, which can then deregulate some of the hormones that trigger the ovaries to release an egg each month. The result? She may ovulate less frequently, which makes it more difficult to figure out her most fertile days. What’s more, research also indicates that stress can have an impact on other aspects of fertility -- from fertilization and implantation.

But it doesn’t stop there. Infertility itself can cause more stress, which can then stop you from having sex -- a pretty obvious fertility derailment. Many people who have difficulty conceiving often feel that the stress of trying to conceive ends up being the very thing that stops them from even trying. They have a hard time addressing the pressure that comes with failed attempts and can end up clinically anxious and depressed, which can, in turn, impede on infertility even more.

So what can you do to reduce stress and up your chances to conceive? Here are 5 tips:

1. Sleep. Getting too little sleep can cause hormonal imbalances, which can then make it more difficult to conceive. What’s more, sleep gives your body a chance to regenerate, recover and relax from a taxing day. So make sure you get the slumber you need. If you are waking up tired or feel like you’re dragging all day long, chances are you’re not sleeping enough.

2. Practice yoga and meditation. Taking the time to meditate, visualize and even pray can mitigate stress, balance hormones and promote fertility. Some cultures also use mantras and create music to help relax the endocrine system. These techniques bypass the rational mind to work outside of one individual's experience. When that happens, the nervous system has a chance to relax, and the stress hormones start to decrease, giving room for positive feel-good neurotransmitters start to calm you down and regulate your body. If you are not big on “om,” yoga is a great alternative. Picking up a yoga practice twice a week can help reduce the stress hormones that mess up with your fertility. Hatha yoga, in particular, focuses on breathing and slow, relaxing movements without putting too much emphasis on meditation.

3. Don’t take others’ experiences and comments personally. Though spiritual beliefs and meditative tools can help protect your fertility, some words and belief systems can have a huge impact on our emotional stress -- especially when they resonate with our deepest fears. When a friend, a family member or coworker express something that are at odds with your current psyche or make you doubt your body, take a step back, put that opinion aside and try to put it in a context that is not your own. In other words, do not take it personally.

4. Eat the right foods. Proper nutrition, which includes adrenal-enhancing omega oils and adaptogenic plants and herbs, will help balance stress hormones in your body and promote fertility. B vitamins also protect the nervous system, increase energy and heighten mood. A healthy diet, along with self-care, really is the best defense against the negative effects of environmental stress on fertility.

5. Have sex… for fun! Try not to let your sex life dwindle because you are too worried about getting pregnant. It’s common for couples who experience fertility issues to feel like sex has become more of a science project. But “it” should be fun and feel good, so do it when you’re not ovulating, too. You’ll (re)build the intimacy you may have lost when actively trying to make babies, and practice makes perfect, right?

Prioritizing your own well being isn’t just beneficial for your emotional health and fertility. It helps you model a healthy philosophy for your children and instill the foundations of a balanced life. It is never too early to begin this process. And because stress only tends to increase with the responsibility of modern motherhood, the earlier you integrate stress-reducing practices into your life, the more prepared you will be for the challenges that you might face as a mom.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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