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Having trouble getting pregnant? Experts @OSUWexMed have found you may be too stressed out! Details: bit.ly/1c1gs6P  
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Courtney Lynch, Ph.D. MPH


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Study: Stress Impacts Ability To Get Pregnant

Researchers find stress can delay pregnancy and double the risk of infertility

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) March 2014 – Women who have trouble getting pregnant may be under too much stress, according to a newly published study in the journal of Human Reproduction.  Doctors have known for some time that stress can contribute to conditions like depression and heart diseases, but new research also links stress to delayed pregnancies and an increased risk of infertility.

“We found that women who had the highest levels of stress actually took 29% longer to get pregnant compared to other women, and their risk of infertility doubled,” said lead author Courtney Lynch, PhD, MPH, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Lynch and her colleagues collected saliva samples from more than 400 couples for more than a year, and analyzed them for specific enzymes related to stress.  The higher the level of stress enzymes researchers found, the more difficulty a woman had trying to conceive.

“There are certainly many other medical and lifestyle factors that can make getting pregnant difficult, but we now know that stress is something women and their doctors may want to consider,” said Lynch.

For more on the study, click on the video box to the left.  To read the full press release, “click to read more” below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RELEASE EMBARGOED BY SOURCE UNTIL 12:01 EST, MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2014

PRECONCEPTION STRESS ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED RISK OF INFERTILITY

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Having difficulty getting pregnant can be an incredibly stressful experience for any couple. Now, for the first time, researchers have data that suggests preconception stress might play a role in infertility.

Extending and corroborating their earlier study conducted in the UK that demonstrated an association between high levels of stress and a reduced probability of pregnancy, this work adds new insight by suggesting that stress is associated with an increased risk of infertility. The study findings appear online in the journal Human Reproduction.

Courtney Denning-Johnson Lynch, director of reproductive epidemiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and colleagues found that women with high levels of alpha-amylase – a biological indicator of stress measured in saliva –  are 29 percent less likely to get pregnant each month and are more than twice as likely to meet the clinical definition of infertility (remaining not pregnant despite 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse), compared to women with low levels of this protein enzyme.

Researchers tracked 501 American women ages 18 to 40 years  who were free from known fertility problems and had just started trying to conceive, and followed them for 12 months or until they became pregnant as part of the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study. Saliva samples were collected from participants the morning following enrollment and again the morning following the first day of their first study-observed menstrual cycle. Specimens were available for 373 women and were measured for the presence of salivary alpha-amylase and cortisol, two biomarkers of stress.

“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.

Lynch said results of this research should encourage women who are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant to consider managing their stress using stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness. However, she said that couples should not blame themselves if they are experiencing fertility problems, as stress is not the only or most important factor involved in a woman’s ability to get pregnant.

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, said, “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.”

This work was supported with intramural research funds from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD. Other collaborators included Dr. Rajeshwari Sundaram and José Maisog of the NICHD and Dr. Anne Sweeney of the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

 

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Images

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Study finds stress impacts a couple`s ability to get pregnant
Researchers have found that the more stress women are under while trying to get pregnant, the harder it is. While Abigail David and her husband were trying to conceive, the stress of working full time and trying to start a business may have delayed Abigail pregnancy. A new study led by researchers at Ohio State`s Wexner Medical Center found that women who were found to have high levels of a stress biomarker had a 29% decrease in the probability of getting pregnant and her risk of infertility doubled.
/newmedia/mcp/osunch/2014/mar14/fertility/8-Images/1-Photos/02_Abby_kids.jpg
Now the mother of triplets, Abigail David says stress before motherhood may have taken its toll
Now the mother of seven and a half year old triplets, Abigail David says, looking back, it may have been the stress she was under before having children that made it difficult to have them in the first place. While trying to conceive, David was working full time and trying to launch a new business. In a new study, experts at Ohio State`s Wexner Medical Center found that higher levels of stress in women resulted in a 29% decrease in her probability to get pregnant, and doubled her risk of infertility.
/newmedia/mcp/osunch/2014/mar14/fertility/8-Images/1-Photos/03_sample_wide.jpg
Saliva samples show women with higher stress have more problems getting pregnant
A woman performs a saliva test like the one used to gauge how stress affects a couple`s ability to get pregnant. Researchers at Ohio State`s Wexner Medical Center followed more than 400 couples for a year, and found that women with the highest levels of stress biomarkers in their saliva had a 29% decreased risk of getting pregnant, and her risk of infertility more than doubled.
/newmedia/mcp/osunch/2014/mar14/fertility/8-Images/1-Photos/04_sample_close.jpg
Results of saliva tests proved to have an impact on pregnancy tests
A new study has found that women with the highest levels of stress biomarkers in their saliva have more problems getting pregnant than other women. The study, led by researchers at Ohio State`s Wexner Medical Center, followed more than 400 couples for a year, testing the woman`s saliva throughout.
/newmedia/mcp/osunch/2014/mar14/fertility/8-Images/1-Photos/05_Lynch_front.jpg
Courtney Lynch, PhD, MPH, has made the link between stress and an increased risk of infertility
Following more than 400 couples for a year, Courtney Lynch, PhD, MPH of Ohio State`s Wexner Medical Center, found that women with the highest levels of stress biomarkers in their saliva, had a 29% decreased chance of getting pregnant, and their risk of infertility doubled.
/newmedia/mcp/osunch/2014/mar14/fertility/8-Images/1-Photos/06_Lynch_side.jpg
Courtney Lynch, PhD, MPH, reviews the findings of her study on stress and infertility
Courtney Lynch, PhD, MPH, has published a study that makes the link between a woman`s stress level and her risk of infertility. Lynch, a researcher at Ohio State`s Wexner Medical Center, tested the saliva of more than 400 women for a year. She found that those who had the highest levels of stress biomarkers in their saliva had the most problems getting pregnant, and their risk of infertility doubled.
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The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
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The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
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