How stress affects women’s health

And what implications this could have, according to a new study. What danger threatens them in the future?

US scientists warn that women trying to have children through assisted reproduction methods must keep their stress under control, or they may harm their health.

In one study, they found that those who experienced severe stress before exposure to techniques such as insemination had higher blood sugar levels than those who reported less stress.

New findings It was recently published in the medical journal Journal of the Endocrine Society. As the researchers explain, they analyzed data from the EARTH study. It was conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center from 2004 to 2019. 398 women aged 18-45 participated in the study.

At the beginning of the study, the women reported the anxiety they experienced before conception. Investigators they also considered other factorswhom:

  • Family and personal medical history
  • Smoking habits
  • Other lifestyle habits

300 of the women became pregnant through intrauterine insemination or IVF. In the 26th week of pregnancy, the average glucose (sugar) curve is observed in women.

As the researchers found, 82 of the women had abnormally high sugar levels, meaning they had gestational diabetes. This is diabetes risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems later in life.

Analysis of all the data showed that women with the most anxiety before conception had higher blood sugar on average. Especially those who got pregnant with intrauterine insemination had high levels of both stress and blood sugar.

Glucose metabolism

Gynecological Endocrinology, obstetrician-gynecologist specializing in infertility and assisted reproduction Dr. As Ioannis Papaconstantinou explains, women trying to have children through assisted reproduction methods are usually under a lot of stress.

«However, it is known that this psychological condition affects glucose metabolism in a large part of women, including pregnant women.“, he adds.

In addition to stress, there are other negative factors such as poor eating habits and lack of physical activity before conception. He adds that the same factors can lead to additional outcomes in pregnancy, such as preeclampsia or hypertension.

The new study also found that women with abnormally high blood sugar were of higher socioeconomic status and had more intense preconception anxiety.


According to Dr. Papakonstantinou, these findings confirm the results of previous studies. “Women working in high-responsibility positions that require a higher level of education, more time, and higher pay are more stressed, which should be considered before the family plans to have children.“, he says. “In this way, the chances of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases can be reduced.“.

Another good practice is to try different strategies, such as:

  • To be more physically active
  • Eat healthy
  • Do meditation and yoga
  • Avoid alcohol and isolation
  • Adopting the habits that best suit them to achieve better health in the future

As for why women who conceive with insemination experience more stress and anxiety, researchers believe that insemination may not be as effective as IVF. This fact can be an additional source of stress, they noted in their paper.

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