Intended for healthcare professionals


Stress, conception, . . . and other stories

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 21 September 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3892

Stress and fertility

It’s widely believed that couples are less likely to achieve pregnancy if they are under high levels of stress. Think of the many reports of spontaneous conception among infertile couples following the adoption of a child. However, data from a preconception cohort of nearly 5000 couples in North America suggest that any effect of stress is small (Am J Epidemiol doi:10.1093/aje/kwy186). Over 12 menstrual cycles of observation, women with highest scores on a scale of perceived stress were only about 10% less likely to conceive than those with low scores. Perceived stress levels in the male partner had no effect. …

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