American scientists have found that too much stress can double the risk of infertility in women. Researchers said those who displayed high levels of stress were half as likely to conceive within a year.
They suggested that simple relaxation methods such as going for a daily 20-minute walk may increase the chance of becoming pregnant. The links between stress hormones and a reduced probability of falling pregnant were established by scientists in 2010.
But the latest study is the first to find that emotional and mental strains can cause infertility, which is clinically defined as not conceiving within 12 months of trying. Scientists tracked 501 couples for a year and measured their levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme in saliva that indicates stress.
Women with high levels were 29 per cent less likely to get pregnant each month than those with low levels, the researchers found. œThat translated to a doubling of the risk of infertility. The importance of this study is that we were able to follow women for the whole 12 months, which is the clinical cut-off to define infertility,” the research report read.
Researchers say they don™t want women to blame themselves for not getting pregnant, but instead suggested light exercise or engaging in yoga classes to lower stress levels. œTypically after 12 months, physicians recommend that you come in and get checked and potentially consider infertility treatment. For the first time, we™ve shown that this effect is potentially clinically meaningful, as it™s associated with a greater than two-fold increased risk of infertility among these women.”
The team behind the study tested women aged 18 to 40