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Stress Delays Pregnancy And Doubles The Risk Of Infertility

Update Date: Mar 24, 2014 09:58 AM EDT

Researchers have demonstrated an association between high levels of stress and a reduced probability of pregnancy in a recent study. According to the study, stress delays pregnancy and might increase the risk of infertility. 

In the study, researchers noted that women with high levels of alpha-amylase - a biological indicator of stress measure in saliva - are 29 percent less likely to get pregnant each month. Further the report adds that those women are more than twice as likely to meet the clinical definition of infertility, compared to women with low levels of the indicator. 

"This is now the second study in which we have demonstrated that women with high levels of the stress biomarker salivary alpha-amylase have a lower probability of becoming pregnant, compared to women with low levels of this biomarker. 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," said Lynch, the principal investigator of the LIFE Study's psychological stress protocol in the press release.

The study considered around 500 American women aged 18 to 40 who were free from known fertility problems. 

Researchers added that the findings of the study would encourage women who are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant to consider measure for getting rid of the stress. 

"Eliminating stressors before trying to become pregnant might shorten the time couples need to become pregnant in comparison to ignoring stress. The good news is that women most likely will know which stress reduction strategy works best for them, since a one-size-fits-all solution is not likely," said Germaine Buck Louis, director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the LIFE Study's principal investigator, in the press release.

The study findings are published in the journal Human Reproduction

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