New study reveals info on stress and pregnancy

By Brandi Cummings - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It is well known that stress can have negative effects on the body, but what about stress and its effects on having children?

A first of its kind study is revealing some new information on stress and pregnancy.

The study examined the association between high levels of what's called a stress indicator and a reduced chance of women becoming pregnant.

The study's authors were trying to learn whether stress is associated with infertility.

"Being pregnant or trying to get pregnant on top of the outside stressers is a stress itself," said Dr. Julie Mullins from Palmetto Health OBGYN Associates.

The new study done by the National Institutes of Health looked at the association between a stress indicator or biochemical marker and a reduced chance of women becoming pregnant.

Mullins says the link between stress and pregnancy is not new.

"I think it's interesting that they tried to pick a biochemical marker to say that if that biochemical marker -- that specific hormone or chemical is elevated -- that's linked to increase stress and in turn if that level is elevated, that the chances of getting pregnant are lower," said Mullins.

Elizabeth Griffin knows about stress and pregnancy first-hand. Her daughter is only 2 months old.

"Having the 3rd pregnancy while working with the two kids was very difficult," said Griffin, a sonographer at Palmetto OBGYN Associates.

During her last pregnancy, she worked out in a gym until she was 36 weeks along. She was also sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"If you aren't taking care of yourself, then your baby gets everything that you have and you're left with nothing or you're left with a compromised health at the end and it makes recovery very difficult," said Griffin.

Mullins has a 4-month-old son at home. She says working to reduce stress is vital.

"A lot of it is a frame of mind that you're going to work through it and it's for a short term only and that it all comes to an end with a bundle of joy," said Mullins.

Mullins says it's very important for women to talk to their doctors about stress. That way the doctor can help you handle it so your baby will be healthy.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved.