Public Health and Information Sciences

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If you’re an expecting mother, you have probably been told before that you should just relax and try not to think about it and it will happen by itself, and you probably thought “what a joke! How can anyone relax about that?”. Well, you might actually want to listen to their advice in the future as scientists have just confirmed a long suspected theory that stress can be a big hurdle in conceiving a child.

A new study was led on 400 women under the age of 41 who were sexually active. Their daily stress levels were analyzed and measured on the scale of 1 to 4, 1 being the lowest amount of stress. Stress levels were then compared between different phases of the menstrual cycle and adjusted for different variables such as body mass, alcohol use, age and frequency of sexual activity.

  • As previously suspected by the team of researchers from the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, the results showed that stress levels during the period of ovulation reduced the subject’s chances of conceiving by at least 40 percent during that month. Whereas on a more broad scale, generally higher levels of stress made women 45 percent less likely to become pregnant.
  • The study also found that becoming pregnant can make a woman more stressed in the end of the conception month. The hypothesis vis a vis of this is that increased hormone levels caused by pregnancy were accountable for the increased stress.

The research team hopes to put to bed the doubts of the scientific community as well as the general public that emotional factors may not play such an important role in attempts for conception. Kira Taylor, the Ph.D leading the study advises health professionals to emphasise the importance of mental well being for a couple’s chances to conceive. She also urges all women reporting high levels of stress to take action in order to reduce it if they do not want to jeopardize their chances of having a baby.