Study probes stress and conception

NHS Choices

United Kingdom
August 12, 2010

BBC News reports that research “has shown for the first time that high stress levels may delay pregnancy”.

The study behind this news followed 274 healthy women who were trying to get pregnant and looked at whether the levels of two stress-related chemicals in their saliva were linked to their chances of getting pregnant. It found that women with higher levels of one of the chemicals, alpha-amylase, did have a slightly lower chance of getting pregnant around the time they released an egg during their first menstrual cycle. However, there was no link between pregnancy and levels of another stress hormone called cortisol. The differing results for the two chemicals and the fact that the women were not asked how stressed they were mean that, based on this study alone, it is difficult to conclude whether fertility is related to stress.

There are likely to be a range of factors which can affect a woman’s chance of conceiving. Although this study does not conclusively prove that stress reduces your chances of getting pregnant, it is sensible to avoid stress where possible.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.