A new study confirms what infertility patients already know – high levels of stress make it harder to conceive. In true which came first the chicken or the egg fashion, the study, run at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and reported this month in Human Reproduction, enrolled 501 trying-to- conceive couples as participants in a prospective cohort study, to determine if stress is a causative factor for infertility or simply a by-product of it.
The couples were followed by the researchers for a period of one year, during which time the women’s stress levels were measured via the collection of saliva. Two biomarkers for stress, cortisol and alpha-amylase, were analyzed. The study’s findings demonstrated a marked decrease in conception among women with the highest levels of alpha-amylase. Those participants experienced double the rate of infertility than the other women in the study. Cortisol was not shown to have any effect. The study adjusted for factors such as lifestyle habits, socioeconomic factors and age.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Courtney D. Lynch, recommends stress-reduction techniques for women trying to have a baby. Differing de-stressors work for different people, but here are several you can try.
Multiple studies extol acupuncture's ability to reduce stress as well as increase blood flow to the uterus, an added plus for women experiencing difficulty conceiving.
Staying close to your partner, both physically and emotionally, can help reduce feelings of stress and isolation. Kissing, touching, hugging and sex are mood boosters and stress reducers.
Be With Nature
Spending time away from honking cars or computers can help you reconnect with you. Take time to be quiet in a natural space and just listen, breathe and take in nature's serenity.
Hang with your BFF
Infertility can put a strain on friendship. Identify the friends who are willing to be there for you no matter what and spend time together.
Nothing can transport you away from your troubles more effectively than laughter. Rent silly movies, spend an hour watching pet trick videos or tell each other dumb jokes to your heart's content.
Meditation's health benefits are manifold and include an increased ability to focus and a decrease in anxiety level as well as higher levels of overall happiness and life satisfaction.