Daily Health Headlines

Can Stress Lower a Woman's Fertility?

👤by Kathleen Doheny 0 comments 🕔Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

TUESDAY, Sept. 20, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- New research seems to confirm that stress lowers a woman's chances of becoming pregnant, particularly stress that occurs around the time of ovulation.

"If you are feeling more stress than you usually do [around ovulation time], you are 40 percent less likely to get pregnant that month," said study author Kira Taylor. She is an assistant professor of epidemiology and population health at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences.

Taylor believes her team's study is the first to look at stress at different time periods in a woman's monthly cycle, to determine if there are different effects at different points.

In the study, the researchers evaluated 400 women, aged 40 and younger. All were sexually active and not using contraception.

"Only about a third were actively trying to get pregnant, but all were having unprotected sex, without birth control," Taylor said.

On a daily basis, the women recorded their stress levels, from one (lowest) to four (highest). They did so for up to 20 cycles, or until pregnancy occurred. On average, the women recorded their stress for eight cycles.

Over the study period, 139 women became pregnant. There was a 46 percent reduction in conception for each one-unit rise in stress during the ovulation window, the researchers found. Day 14 of the cycle was estimated as the time of ovulation.

The impact on conceiving held even after the investigators took into account other factors, such as age, body mass index (a measurement based on weight and height), alcohol use and how often sex occurred.

The researchers looked at other times in the cycle as well, but "we did not find an effect of stress on implantation," Taylor said. "Implantation generally occurs six to 10 days after ovulation, if you have conceived."

While the study found a connection between stress and conception, it didn't prove cause and effect.

In another finding, "women who did get pregnant had much higher levels [of stress] around the end of their cycle." Taylor said that may be due to hormone levels, with increasing levels of estrogen and progesterone causing mood swings at that time.

Dr. Tomer Singer, director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the new research pinpoints the time period most affected by stress.

"They were able to focus a light on the important time of being stress-free, and this is the first half of the [cycle]," he said.

Taylor's team did not look at why stress affected conception at the time of ovulation. But, she speculated that "stress disrupts the signaling between the brain and the ovaries, and reduces the chances of ovulation."

Singer agreed. He said when a woman has a high stress level, hormones responsible for ovulation can be disrupted.

This hormonal disruption can hamper the process, Taylor said, so "it could be nature's way of saying 'Don't have a baby right now.' "

Singer suggested that women can reduce their stress levels by practicing yoga or mindfulness meditation, among other ways.

Moderate exercise, five times a week for 30 minutes, can also reduce stress, Taylor said. But exercising to extremes can reduce the likelihood of conceiving, she said.

She also suggested that using talk therapy and time-management skills could lower stress levels.

The study was published online recently in the Annals of Epidemiology.

Article Credits / Source

Kathleen Doheny / HealthDay

Kathleen Doheny wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Kira Taylor, Ph.D., assistant professor, epidemiology and population health, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Louisville, Ky.; Tomer Singer, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist and director, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Sept. 12, 2016, Annals of Epidemiology

View More Articles From Kathleen Doheny 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Pregnancy Articles

Zika Babies May Look Normal at Birth, Display Brain Defects Later: CDC

Zika Babies May Look Normal at Birth, Display Brain Defects Later: CDC0

TUESDAY, Nov. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Babies exposed to the Zika virus in the womb can look normal at birth but later show signs of the devastating birth defect microcephaly and other brain abnormalities, researchers reported ...

Imaging Studies Shed Light on Zika's Effects

Imaging Studies Shed Light on Zika's Effects0

TUESDAY, Nov. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- More details on how the Zika virus affects infants and adults will be presented to international researchers meeting in Chicago next week. Three studies scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting ...

Pregnancy Diet (Menu Plans)

Pregnancy Diet (Menu Plans)0

Superfoods or power foods are foods that have extra benefits beyond their nutritional content. Examples of power foods are: Pumpkin seeds Blackstrap molasses Almond butter Figs Sardines Oatmeal Pregnancy diet plan definition ...

Do Women Who Have Kids Later Live Longer?

Do Women Who Have Kids Later Live Longer?0

THURSDAY, Nov. 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- In what's believed to be the first study of its kind, research suggests that women who give birth for the first time at age 25 or older are more likely to live to 90. The researchers also found that ...

FDA Explains Pros, Cons of Permanent Birth Control

FDA Explains Pros, Cons of Permanent Birth Control0

FRIDAY, Nov. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Women need to carefully consider the benefits and risks of permanent birth control devices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says. The agency recently introduced labeling changes for one such ...

View More Pregnancy Articles


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!