Despite study after study echoing the importance of self-care and how crucial it is for your physical and mental well-being, women are still finding it hard to find time for themselves. Unfortunately, the daily stresses of life, especially those that are work related, aren't just negatively affecting women's mood and personal health but may also be hurting their chances of conceiving as well.
In a study from Boston University that looked at approximately 5000 women and men who were actively trying to conceive over a period of 12 months, those who reported feeling stressed due to work commitments were 25% less likely to get pregnant during the 12 month period.
“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,” doctoral student Amelia Wesselink, the study’s lead author stated.
Participants were asked to use a perceived stress scale to help researchers determine how much stress they were experiencing on a daily basis. They were asked to rate 10 items on how unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overwhelming each individual found these specific circumstances.
The higher the score, the higher the level of stress the individual felt they were under. The scale ranged from zero, which indicated never, to 4 which indicated very often. The scores were totaled out of 40.
The results showed that women with a higher level of perceived stress were less likely to conceive than the women with a lower level of perceived stress. Women who scored 25 were a whopping 13% less likely to get pregnant that women who scored 10. It also found that with couples, even when a man's score was under 10 but the woman's was 20 or higher, the couple was 25% less like to conceive.
We know that self care is important for general health and well being, but studies like this suggest that even workplace stress can effect your health perhaps without you even realizing it. Now that many employees have cell phones and lap tops, it's often presumed that they are available to work at all hours, resulting in many people literally bringing their work home with them.
Not allowing yourself to separate your home life from your work life can add extra stress, and if you're trying to conceive but having trouble you may want to take a look at how much stress you're under at work.