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Higher Perceived Stress Linked to Lower Fecundability in Women

Higher female stress scores -- but not male scores -- associated with slight drops in fecundability

woman crying

THURSDAY, Oct. 11, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Higher levels of perceived stress are associated with slight decreases in fecundability among women but not men, according to a study recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Amelia K. Wesselink, Ph.D., from Boston University, and colleagues used data from the Pregnancy Study Online (2013 to 2018) to examine the association between female and male preconception perceived stress levels and fecundability among 4,769 women (aged 21 to 45 years) and their male partners (aged ≥21 years) who were attempting conception without fertility treatment.

The researchers found that higher female Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) scores were associated with slight reductions in fecundability (fecundability ratio comparing PSS ≥25 versus <10, 0.87; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.74 to 1.02). There was no association between male PSS scores and fecundability.

"Although this study does not definitely prove that stress causes infertility, it does provide evidence supporting the integration of mental health care in preconception guidance and care," Wesselink said in a statement.

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