While getting pregnant can come relatively easily to some people, others struggle for years to conceive. Several factors can come into play, including age, diet, exercise habits, weight, and pre-existing medical conditions. But a new study shows something that shouldn’t surprise many people: stress can be a major factor when it comes to getting pregnant.
An earlier study, which had similar findings, used saliva swabbed from women’s mouths to measure stress levels during ovulation and attempts at getting pregnant. But this latest study did something very different: it assessed whether perceived stress resulted in an inability to get pregnant.
[T]he new study is based on self-reporting of stress levels, as well as other aspects of life including menstruation, intercourse, contraception, alcohol, caffeine and smoking. The new study suggests psychological perception of stress, independent of chemical verification, can influence the likelihood of pregnancy.
While 139 women got pregnant during the study, the researchers report that for a 1-unit increase in self-reported stress during a woman’s ovulatory period, the potential for pregnancy decreased by 46 percent.
Essentially, whether stress can be measured using biological sources or whether a woman simply feels stressed or overwhelmed, pregnancy can become much more difficult to achieve. Researchers suggest that women who feel stressed and who wish to become pregnant focus on stress-relieving activities, like engaging in exercise or talk therapy.