High stress levels in women can reduce their probability of conception.
In the study, 400 women (age 40 and younger) recorded their perceived daily stress levels on a scale of 1-4. Factors such as lifestyle, behavioral factors, menstrual characteristics, contraceptive use, and intercourse frequency were included in the study.
Women who reported feeling very stressed during their ovulatory window were approximately 40% less likely to conceive during that month compared to less stressful months. Similarly, women who reported feeling generally more stressed than other women were about 45% less likely to conceive.
On the other hand, the study also found that women who conceived experienced an increase in stress at the end of the month in which they became pregnant. However, epidemiologists hypothesize that most likely the increased stress was the result of changes in hormone levels caused by pregnancy itself.
The findings of the study reinforce the need to encouraging stress management techniques for aspiring and expecting mothers. It is recommended that women who want to conceive should take active steps towards stress reduction by exercising, meditating, enrolling in a stress management program or talking to a health professional.