March 24, 2014
Science Daily/Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Women who have trouble getting pregnant may be under too much stress, according to a new study. According to researchers, women who had the highest levels of stress actually took 29 percent longer to get pregnant compared to other women, and their risk of infertility doubled. Researchers tracked 501 American women ages 18 to 40 years who were free from known fertility problems and had just started trying to conceive, and followed them for 12 months or until they became pregnant.
"This is now the second study in which we have demonstrated that women with high levels of the stress biomarker salivary alpha-amylase have a lower probability of becoming pregnant, compared to women with low levels of this biomarker. For the first time, we've shown that this effect is potentially clinically meaningful, as it's associated with a greater than two-fold increased risk of infertility among these women," said Lynch, the principal investigator of the LIFE Study's psychological stress protocol.
Lynch said results of this research should encourage women who are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant to consider managing their stress using stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness. However, she said that couples should not blame themselves if they are experiencing fertility problems, as stress is not the only or most important factor involved in a woman's ability to get pregnant.