Stressed women may have reduced chance of becoming pregnant

We’ve known for many years that stress and anxiety can affect a woman’s pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Now, a new study is connecting stress and conception.

USA Today reports that “a new study in the journal Fertility and Sterility lends credence to a link between stress and time to conception, and not just in couples dealing with infertility.”

The new “study involved 274 British women 18 to 40 years old” who “were followed for six menstrual cycles or until they got pregnant, whichever came first.”

The Time “Wellness” blog reported that the study found “no correlation between women’s levels of cortisol, another more commonly measured stress hormone, and their chance of conception,” however.

But, “the researchers worry that, in a cruel twist, the inability to conceive may create a vicious cycle of stress for some women. ‘It has been suggested that stress may increase with the disappointment of several failed attempts at getting pregnant, setting off a cycle in which pregnancy becomes even more difficult to achieve,’ said study collaborator [Germaine] Buck Louis in a statement from” the National Institutes of Health.

According to the CNN “The Chart” blog, the study does not explain “why high levels of alpha-amylase may reduce the chance of getting pregnant, but it could be because stressful situations may reduce blood flow and delay the transport of fertilized eggs, which can contribute to the failure to conceive.”

CQ HealthBeat noted, “Finding ways to relax could increase the odds of becoming pregnant, but researchers said turning to tobacco or alcohol to unwind wouldn’t do the trick since they reduce the likelihood of pregnancy.”

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