It is well known that stress is not good for the body. It is closely linked with person’s health and responsible for inducing risky body-mind disorders. It is evident from various studies that people who live in chronically stressed-out conditions are more likely to take up smoking, alcohol and fall into unhealthy eating disorders. A latest study further explores the harmful effects of stress on pregnancy. This is the first study that determined the link between stress and time to conception.
About the study
The study was conducted by researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Oxford. Researchers tested stress hormones on 274 British women, ages 18-40 years, who are trying to get pregnant. The levels of alpha amylase and cortisol, two substances that serve as biomarkers for stress were measured. Alpha-amylase is a marker of recent stress; whereas high cortisol is indicative of long term stress.
- Women with the highest levels of alpha-amylase had 12% reduction in their chance of getting pregnant each menstrual cycle, compared to women with the lowest levels
- Short-term stress was found more dangerous than long-term stress
- Cortisol levels in the women who had difficulty conceiving were not any higher than the other women.
The study was published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility on August 11, 2010
target="_blank">Researchers told that “Although the precise mechanisms by which stress hormones interfere with reproductive-system hormones are not entirely known, there is evidence that, in extreme cases, mental stress can even lead to lack of menstruation — missed periods.” After getting positive results from the study researchers are ready to conduct a larger and longer study on women trying to conceive to further confirm the findings.
Health professionals advise that women can reduce the stress by various health ways like yoga, massage, counseling, meditation and biofeedback.
Stress in any role is harmful for the body. Now this study demonstrated that stress, even for short term can affect fertility for some time. Women who are planning to become pregnant should spare some time for yoga and meditation as they are one of the most effective tools of relaxation. Having more control on stress, you can increase your chances of getting pregnant.