Infertility has become a more common problem in the last several decades, and one suspected factor is a generalized increased level of stress in many women trying to become pregnant. A study just published March 23 in the journal Human Reproduction gives us more details.
The researchers in this study worked with healthy women, without any previous fertility problems. The 401 women who completed the study were between 18 and 40 years old, and the researchers used an indicator of stress that is found in saliva, an enzyme called alpha-amalyse, that increases in people who are more stressed.
They measured all of the womens’ enzyme levels at the beginning of the study then again at their first menstrual period, and they looked at how successful each woman was with getting pregnant during the next year. For those who became pregnant, they also looked at how many months it took.
During the year study, 87% of the women successfully became pregnant, and 13% did not. Most importantly, they found that the women in the top 33% in alpha-amalyse levels (meaning the top 1/3 in stress levels), had twice the chance of failing to become pregnant compared with the women who were in the lowest 33% of stress.
Further, the women who did successfully became pregnant despite high stress enzyme levels took significantly longer to become pregnant. One reason for this could be that the high stress women were not having intercourse as often as the lower stress women, but that was not the case. They were all having intercourse at about the same rate.
The researchers do not believe that stress alone caused infertility, but that it is one important factor amongst many other issues that determine fertility. High stress disrupts various hormones within our system, which could cause more irregular ovulation, or a lower chance of egg implantation in the uterus. Another theory is that women with lower stress levels have greater blood flow to the uterus, giving them a better chance of becoming pregnant.
Infertility can be due to many causes, and the “problem” can be with the man or the woman, or both, but this study shows one factor that women who want to get pregnant, and particularly those having problems, should consider.
Our last post talked about the value of mindfulness meditation, which is an excellent and relatively simple way proven to help lower stress levels. Also, if you think you are highly stressed, are you getting regular daily aerobic exercise, at least 30 minutes of walking daily? Acupuncture and massage are other ways many people find helpful, and you might consider combining several of these methods if you can.
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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)