The study — by researchers at Oxford University and the United States National Institutes of Health – is the first to link stress to a reduced chance of pregnancy. The results suggest that finding ways to reduce stress levels could play an important role in helping women become pregnant. High stress levels have long been believed to affect a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant, however until now there has been no evidence to support the theory.
Researchers studied the ovulation cycles of 274 United Kingdom women aged between 18 and 40 who were trying to conceive. The women gave saliva samples, which researchers analysed to determine the levels of specific hormones which act as markers of stress.
“Overall, the 25 percent of women in the study who had the highest alpha-amylase levels had roughly an estimated 12 percent reduction in getting pregnant each cycle in comparison to women with the lowest concentrations,” said Dr Germaine Buck Louis, a director at the NICHD. She said stress levels often increased with the disappointment of failing to conceive. “The question is: ‘What do you do to help women to relax?’ People often turn to alcohol or tobacco to relieve stress, but these substances also reduce the likelihood of pregnancy.”
Comment from Sjanie: ‘Hypnosis is one of the most effective ways to relax and reduce stress. Spending 20 minutes a day in a state of hypnotic relaxation can rebalance stress hormone levels and boost fertility. Learning how to enter a state of hypnosis is easy and everyone can do it.’
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