Aside from smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs, excessive stress has always been believed to be one of the many causes of miscarriage, premature labor, premature birth, low-birth weight or babies’ development of allergies or asthma.
In order to verify if stress is indeed associated with women’s difficulty to conceive, 501 couples were asked to participate in a 12-month study, wherein the females among the couples provided their saliva samples twice during the research period. The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction.
Saliva contains two indicators for stress, biomarkers cortisol and alpha-amylase. Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”, is released excessively into the bloodstream when the body responds to stress. Alpha-amylase, on the other hand, can help experts evaluate a person’s state when placed in a stressful environment.
Out of the 80 percent of the women who completed the study, 87 percent conceived within the year. Also, after taking into consideration factors such as age, race, income and use of alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine, the researchers found out that the higher the women’s levels of alpha-amylase, the lower their chances of getting pregnant, with figures dipping by as much as 29 percent.
Despite these findings, the results are not completely conclusive as factors like hormonal problems or infertility were not accounted for.
Nonetheless, it would benefit women who would like to get pregnant or those who are already pregnant to adopt healthier habits, such as those below, in order to improve their chances. Here are some more useful suggestions from NaturalNews.com:
Try low-impact and calming exercises such as yoga.
Eat a healthy diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits.
Though easier said than done, steer clear of people, things and situations that can stress you out.
Get enough rest.
Practice soothing exercises such as deep breathing, visualization and meditation.
Enjoy a good laugh every now and then.
Listen to music that relaxes you.
Regularly write your thoughts and feelings in a journal.