By: Sarina Fazan
A new study making the first medical connection between stress and infertility doesn’t surprise mother Donna Duval.
“I have had loads of friends who have had that problem,” Duval said. “Knowledge is good. If it’s out there people will read about it and understand it and perhaps they will look at ways to help.”
Dr. Sandy Goodman with the Reproductive Medicine Group, who has helped hundreds of couples have babies, couldn’t agree more with the study’s findings.
“We certainly have suspected that stress makes it more challenging to get pregnant, but now to have medical findings that says this is true, is a confirmation,” Goodman said.
Researchers out of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center studied 400 couples, taking saliva samples throughout a year. Women who had the highest levels of a stress biomarker had a 29 percent decrease in the probability of getting pregnant and the risk of infertility doubled.
While this is good information, Goodman worries women having trouble conceiving may attribute everything to stress and delay having tests that could point to another problem.
“What we don’t want to do is make the mistake of not understanding what the study says, and thinking well maybe it’s stress and I should continue and try and do things that take more time and don’t find out if there are other issues,” Goodman said.
But Goodman also stressed reducing your stress couldn’t hurt. She encourages practices like yoga and meditation, and the study reinforces that thinking.
“We need a combined approach for evaluating and treating infertility, and we need to combine the mind and the body so we can get the best chance of success,” Goodman said.
Duval said for any woman who wants to be a mom the study is just another tool. “Knowledge is power,” Duval said.