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Dr. Max Gomez: Investigating The Link Between Stress And Infertility

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NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — For years, women has believed that stress is bad if you are trying to get pregnant.

Now, doctors have proven that anxiety can lead to infertility.

Doctors have known for some time that stress can lead to everything from depression to high blood pressure and even heart attacks and strokes.

But, how many times have you heard of an infertile woman who was about to adopt and suddenly became pregnant?

Stress could be the reason.

As the mother of seven-and-a-half year old triplets Abigail David told CBS 2′s Dr. Max Gomez that she expects to deal with a certain amount of stress. It may have been the stress that she was under before she had kids that made it so difficult to have them in the first place.

Abigail was working full-time and trying to start a business at the same time that she and her husband were trying to start a family.

“During that time it was a huge crunch time and I actually did not get pregnant until after we had opened our doors,” David said.

A new study shows that Abigail’s timing may have been more than a coincidence.

A team of researchers at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, led by Dr. Courtney Lynch, have made a connection between stress and a couple’s inability to get pregnant.

“Higher levels of stress at the outset, when they got started, were in fact associated with infertility which is the first time that’s ever been shown,” Dr. Lynch explained.

To make the connection Dr. Lynch followed more than 400 couples for a year and collected saliva samples. She found that women with the highest levels of a stress bio-marker had 29 percent decrease in the probability of getting pregnant and their risk of infertility more than doubled.

“As you continue to try to conceive and it’s been 5, 6 months, and perhaps you’re not yet pregnant, then maybe it’s something you might want to look at in terms of improving your overall lifestyle,” Dr. Lynch explained.

Lynch said that while there isn’t any proof that they will help, things like meditation and yoga can’t hurt.

“If they can help somebody to not have to go through 2, 3, 4 years of infertility issues and it’s something that’s so easy I think that would be great,” David said.

Of course, stress is not the only reason that couples may have trouble getting pregnant, and reducing stress is often easier said than done.

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