Women tend to think it's going to be easy to get pregnant, and when it isn't, we start blaming ourselves, stressing over every last thing that could be "our fault" we're not conceiving. The problem is that stressing over not getting pregnant, can prevent you from getting pregnant quickly—or even at all—according to a new study published in the journal Human Reproduction.
Researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center tracked 501 American women ages 18 to 40, who weren't known to have any fertility issues, and had just started trying to conceive. They followed them for 12 months or until they became pregnant as part of the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study.
The study found that "women with high levels of alpha-amylase—a biological indicator of stress measured in saliva—are 29 percent less likely to get pregnant each month and are more than twice as likely to meet the clinical definition of infertility (remaining not pregnant despite 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse), compared to women with low levels of this protein enzyme."
Germaine Buck Louis, director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the LIFE Study's principal investigator, said, "Eliminating stressors before trying to become pregnant might shorten the time couples need to become pregnant in comparison to ignoring stress. The good news is that women most likely will know which stress reduction strategy works best for them, since a one-size-fits-all solution is not likely."
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Image of stressed out woman courtesy of Shutterstock.