In a nutshell
This study looked at the effect of stress when trying to conceive through assisted reproductive techniques. It found that stress did not impact conception rates, but that job-related stress may be associated with miscarriage.
Psychological stress affects the body. Stress hormones such as cortisol interact with reproductive hormones. For women, stress can delay ovulation and cause long and irregular cycles. Some studies have found that stress may affect pregnancy rates or miscarriage.
Patients receiving medical infertility treatment often experience stress. It is unclear whether stress affects treatment outcomes in these women.
Methods & findings
This study surveyed 320 women attending an infertility clinic. The patients were given questionnaires about stress, emotional well-being, energy levels, and social support. 290 patients then had infertility treatment. 58% of these patients became pregnant.
Experiencing a stressful event in the past year did not significantly affect pregnancy rates. These events included a stressful job, divorce, financial problems, and a previous miscarriage. Patients with serious illness in the past year had a significantly lower pregnancy rate. Other factors did not affect pregnancy rates.
Patients with stressful jobs or recent separation or divorce had significantly higher rates of miscarriage. Other factors were not related to miscarriage.
The bottom line
This study found that job stress is connected to miscarriage. It also found that stress levels are not connected to pregnancy rates.
The fine print
This study was not large enough to tell whether some events were linked, such as reported stress levels and miscarriage. This study group had high levels of social support and wellbeing. Findings may be different in other populations.
Published By :
European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology
Mar 06, 2020