High Stress Can Reduce the Chances of Getting Pregnant by 50 Percent: Research

High Stress Can Reduce the Chances of Getting Pregnant by 50 Percent: Research

High stress during ovulation leads to decrease in fecundity and reduces the chances of getting pregnant by nearly 50 percent, according to a new research. The research team noticed a significant impact of stress on chances of getting pregnant. The study also suggests that women trying to conceive should look for stress management techniques if they generally face moderate or high level of stress.

The research has been published in the Annals of Epidemiology. The study was conducted by medical researchers from the University of Louisville. Stress has been linked to lower chances of getting pregnant in earlier studies as well. A study conducted in 2014 also found that high level of stress could reduce the chances of getting pregnant by 35 percent.

The current study considered self-reported stress levels among study individuals. The team also considered factors like caffeine and alcohol intake in addition to contraception, menstruation and frequency of intercourse.

Study subjects were asked to maintain a daily diary of their stress level and behavioral factor for 20 menstruation cycles. The study involved 400 women with age 40 years and less. During the study period, 139 women got pregnant.

The study team noticed that for one unit rise in stress level during ovulation, the chances of getting pregnant declined by 46 percent.

Study lead author Dr. Kira Taylor, an epidemiologist at the University of Louisville's School of Public Health and Information Sciences said, "Some individuals are skeptical that emotional and psychological attributes may be instrumental in affecting fertility."

“These findings add more evidence to a very limited body of research investigating whether perceived stress can affect fertility,” Taylor said. “The results imply that women who wish to conceive may increase their chances by taking active steps towards stress reduction such as exercising, enrolling in a stress management program or talking to a health professional.”

Dr. Taylor added, “I hope the results of this study serve a wake-up call for both physicians and the general public that psychological health and well-being is just as important as other more commonly accepted risk factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or obesity when trying to conceive.”

The study also found that women who did conceive experienced an increase in stress at the end of the month in which they became pregnant. Taylor hypothesizes this could be the result of two factors: women became stressed after taking a home pregnancy test and learning they were pregnant, and/or most likely the increased stress was the result of changes in hormone levels caused by pregnancy itself.


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