Results of a recent UK study suggest that women may have a difficult time getting pregnant if they are suffering from stress and anxiety.
A research team from the United States National Institutes of Health and the University of Oxford recruited 274 British women who were actively looking to become pregnant and followed them for six menstrual cycles or until they conceived. The investigators also collected saliva samples each month to assess the participants’ levels of alpha-amylase, a known biological marker of stress.
After accounting for several risk factors — including age, alcohol consumption and frequency of intercourse — the team found that women with the lowest levels of alpha-amylase were 12 percent more likely to become pregnant than those with the highest concentrations of the marker.
"If a larger study confirms our findings then introducing simple methods to enable people to reduce their stress levels would be a very good idea," study co-author Celia Pyper told The Independent. "Anything which prevents women becoming subject to investigations for sub-fertility would be in their interests."
The researchers suggest that women who are trying to become pregnant look into a variety of stress-reducing techniques, including meditation, yoga and biofeedback.