A study by US and UK investigators suggests that high levels of stress le- ay reduce the chances of a woman conceiving during the fertile days of her monthly cycle. The team looked at 274 healthy women aged between 18 and 40 who were trying to become pregnant. During the study, the women provided saliva samples to test for levels of the stress hormone cortisol and alpha-amylase (an indicator of adrenalin levels). They found that those women with high levels of alpha amylase (but not cortisol) across their fertile window were less likely to succeed in conceiving. The results showed that the chances of getting pregnant for women with the highest levels of alpha-amylase were roughly 12% lower than the quarter of women with the lowest levels of alpha-amylase. The authors comment that their findings support the use of relaxation techniques, counselling and approaches such as yoga and meditation to increase the chances of conception. (Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation. Fertil Steril. 2010 Aug 5. [Epub ahead of print]).

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