A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers finds higher levels of stress are associated with lower odds of conception for women, but not for men. 
 
This study of almost 5,000 women trying for a baby found those who reported feeling the most pressure from commitments were 25% less likely to conceive. 
The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. 
 
The researchers measured perceived stress using the 10-item version of the perceived stress scale (PSS), which is designed to assess how unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overwhelming an individual finds their life circumstances. The items referred to the past month, with five response choices ranging from 0 (never) to 4 (very often), up to a total of 40, with a higher total score indicating a higher level of perceived stress. Both partners completed the PSS at baseline, and women also completed the PSS at each bi-monthly PRESTO follow-up. The baseline questionnaires also included a range of demographic and behavioral factors, including race/ethnicity, household income, diet, sleep, and frequency of intercourse. 
 
On average, baseline PSS scores were about 1 point higher among women than men, and the average follow-up PSS scores among women remained fairly constant over the 12 months that they participated in the study. 
 
The researchers found women with PSS scores of at least 25 were 13 percent less likely to conceive than women with PSS scores under 10. This association was stronger among women who had been trying to conceive for no more than two menstrual cycles before joining PRESTO than among women who had been trying for three or more cycles before enrolling. The association was also stronger among women under 35 years old. 
 
Source: Science Daily 
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