Tubal reversal patients who are trying to get pregnant are often told that lowering their stress is an important part of the process. It has long been believed that stress can negatively affect fertility. The National Institute of Health advises, “While you are trying to get pregnant, try to relax and be as stress-free as possible. This may make it easier for you to become pregnant.“ However, the relationship between stress and fertility had yet to be proved.
A recent study, however, was the first to use salivary stress biomarkers to prove that high stress levels can lead to decreased fertility. Researchers followed 401 couples over 12 months while they were trying to conceive. All couples were between the ages of 18 and 40 and in committed relationships with men over 18. The women kept journals of their stress levels and were asked lifestyle questions for researchers to gauge their levels, as well.
Researchers collected saliva samples from the women at two times during the study. The saliva was tested for cortisol and alpha-amylase, both indicators of stress in the body. Alpha-amylase is associated with activation of the sympathetic nervous system which induces adrenaline and the “fight or flight” reaction induced by stress. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands when under stress. Cortisol is typically used as an indicator of acute stress, while alpha-amylase is associated with chronic stress.
Researchers found that women with the highest levels of alpha-amylase had twice the risk of infertility versus those with lower levels. The women who had not conceived after 6 months were those with higher levels of alpha-amylase. They concluded that high levels of alpha-amylase, indicating high levels of stress, may reduce fertility by up to 29%.
If you’ve been trying to conceive for 5 or more months without success, you may want to evaluate your stress levels. Taking the time to decrease stress levels can help increase your fertility and overall health. Below are 3 easy habits to include in your day to help de-stress.
1. Meditate: Many people are intimidated by meditating because they’re not sure how to start. It’s actually quite easy. Take 5 minutes when you get home. Sit against a wall with your knees up and feet planted on the floor. Set a timer for 5 minutes and recite a calming phrase, or mantra, to yourself, such as “I am at peace” or “I am grateful”. Focus only on the phrase and let your other thoughts dissolve. Consistent meditation can
2. Be Present: The mind’s nonstop chatter can increase stress and anxiety. Focusing completely on a single activity or experience can help quiet the mind. When you’re washing the dishes, for example, notice the feel of the water on your hands and the soap’s bubbles. Think only about the dishes, don’t let your mind wander to your to-do list. Go for a 10 minute walk and notice the sounds of the birds or the wind through the trees.
3. Exercise: Exercise releases feel-good hormones that help ease stress and reduce anxiety. Don’t have a gym membership or get tired of routine? Try something new like boxing, rock climbing, or Zumba. At-home workout sites are also taking off, offering you the flexibility to choose the length and type of workout. Check out barre3.com or DailyBurn.com as examples.
Dr. Morice is a fertility expert and the nation’s top tubal reversal surgeon. He offers tubal reversal surgery for the lowest price in nation. Call us today at (985) 702-BABY for a free tubal reversal consultation and to schedule an appointment with Dr. Morice.