Taking it easy may be offhand advice doctors give to women who cannot conceive, but new scientific evidence confirms that stress does indeed play a role in conception.
Researchers at Oxford University and the US National Institutes of Health measured stress in women trying to get pregnant and found that those who were most stressed were least likely to conceive.
Stress joins other well known pregnancy risk factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity. The study measured two stress hormones in healthy women between the ages of 18 and 40 who were trying to conceive. It found that women with high levels of adrenaline had a 12 per cent lower chance of conceiving when fertile as compared to those who were less stressed.
“Irrespective of the day or frequency of sexual intercourse during the fertile window, women with higher concentrations of alpha-amylase were less likely to conceive than women with lower concentrations,” the study said, referring to the enzyme that is an indicator of adrenaline levels.
However, women who were found to have a higher level of cortisol, which is a measure of chronic stress, were no less likely to conceive than women with lower levels of the stress hormone. Dr Cecilia Pyper, of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, said: “The findings support the idea that couples should aim to stay as relaxed as they can about trying for a baby.
“In some people’s cases, it might be relevant to look at relaxation techniques, counseling and even approaches like yoga and meditation.”The findings are published in the journal Fertility and Sterility. Source
Of course, yoga and relaxation, as well as other ways to slow down and relax the body and mind are immensely beneficial, but when I read this article, I thought to myself that without magnesium supplementation relaxation techniques will only have a limited effect.
Magnesium is possibly the most powerful natural relaxant which gets depleted when we are under stress. It takes part in numerous body processes – over 300 chemical reactions. It is essential in the production of the hormones related to fertility and normal sexual function.
Extreme or long-term chronic stress can lead to disturbances in the menstrual cycle, failing to ovulate, and infertility. The reason is that stress disturbs the production of the fertility hormones. Stress affects both male and female reproductive function, so it is important to address the problem of infertility from both sides.
Just like with other hormones, production of fertility hormones depends on a sufficient amount of magnesium in the body. Magnesium is also required for the production of healthy sperm and egg. So if you are trying to conceive, among other things, do make sure that your magnesium level is in balance – man or woman.
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