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More evidence for the relationship between stress and infertility

New research claims that too much stress can increase the risk of infertility in women. The study was published in Human Reproduction and conducted in the United States. The researchers tracked 501 couples who were trying to become pregnant, measuring the women’s levels of alpha-amylase and cortisol, enzymes in saliva that indicate stress. The women were aged 18 to 40 without known fertility problems, and had just started to try to conceive. Their progress was followed for a year, or until they became pregnant.

The study found that women with high levels of alpha-amylase were 29% less likely to get pregnant each month compared with women with the lower levels. There were no differences in fertility related to cortisol levels. Based on these findings, researcher Dr. Courtney Denning-Johnson Lynch, from Ohio State University, along with co-researcher Dr. Germaine Buck Louis, believe it is important for women to find ways to reduce their stress when trying to become pregnant.

In response to the study, Dr. Allan Pacey, a fertility expert at the University of Sheffield, cautioned about the potential vicious circle that can be created when couples who are attempting to conceive get stressed about being stressed. According to Pacey: 

“Sensible advice for women attempting to conceive might be to try relaxation therapies such as yoga or meditation as part of their daily life. At the present time there is no evidence that they will be of any help in increasing the probability of conception. However, they are unlikely to cause harm and they may be enjoyable and help with other aspects of life as well.”

Read more about stress and fertility herehere and here.

Read more about the latest study here.

Read the study abstract here.

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