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Relax and Have a Baby

Have you read this study about stress reducing chances of conception? I’ve been avoiding the headlines for days and finally opened the Time story: In a study of 274 English women, women with the highest  levels of alpha-amylase– a biomarker for stress– were 12% less likely to conceive in a given cycle than women with the lower levels. The study was conducted by the UK’s equivalent of the NIH and the news has been making the rounds.

It’s certainly interesting. It’s worth noting that in this study researchers also found no relationship between high levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reduced fertility.

But here’s the part of the story that most interests me in stories about stress and fertility:

“The researchers worry that, in a cruel twist, the inability to conceive may create a vicious cycle of stress for some women. ‘It has been suggested that stress may increase with the disappointment of several failed attempts at getting pregnant, setting off a cycle in which pregnancy becomes even more difficult to achieve,’ said study collaborator Buck Louis in a statement from NIH.”

I really do hope this study leads to some amazingly helpful revelations about stress and fertility and not to more stress about stress.

photo: jmayer1129/Flickr

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