Why managing stress is so important
Stress is a part of modern-life but learning to handle it is important for overall health and particularly for fertility.
Recent research has shown that women who stopped using contraceptives took longer to become pregnant if they had higher saliva levels of the enzyme alpha-amylase, a biological indicator of stress.
Specifically, women with the highest concentrations of alpha-amylase were 12 percent less likely to become pregnant each month than those with the lowest levels. It was the first study to link a biomarker for stress with delayed conception in normal, healthy women.
And this is not just a problem with women: according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects men and women equally, and semen quality is a key indicator of male fertility.
"Men who feel stressed are more likely to have lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate, and the sperm they have are more likely to be misshapen or have impaired motility," says senior author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. "These deficits could be associated with fertility problems."
So, if you are trying to get pregnant, and you have normal fertility then it would make sense to ensure that you keep as stress free as possible, and make a positive effort to incorporate relaxation into your life: yoga is a great way to get gentle exercise as well as learning relaxation and breathing techniques. You should also look at all other aspects of your life to ensure that you are optimising your fertility. Here are our 10 Top Tips.
And, if you are having issues with infertility, as 1 in 7 couples do, then the chances are that your stress levels could increase dramatically and it really is in your interests to take stress relief as a serious part of your treatment.
Marje Isabelle, CEO of Fertile Matters said:
"We have known for a long time that stress and fertility is a toxic mix, but new studies are showing exactly how damaging it can be. Lifestyle issues as a whole can have a huge impact on fertility and whilst people are familiar with measures like cutting down on drinking, not so many are aware of the effect of stress. We have a range of solutions that we can recommend to help, so call us to talk them through."