Link between stress reduction and increase in pregancy rate established

Women who participated in a stress management program prior to or during their second IVF cycle had a 160 percent greater pregnancy rate than women who did not participate in a program, according to a study presented today at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's 65th Annual Meeting.

The study, funded by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., and conducted in conjunction with The Domar Center at Boston IVF revealed a pregnancy rate of 52 percent among women who participated in a stress management program as compared to a 20 percent pregnancy rate for women who were not exposed to the stress management program. The program was designed to educate women on the utilization of cognitive, relaxation and lifestyle techniques to manage stress.

Stress management had an even greater impact on pregnancy rates for women who showed higher baselines symptoms of depression. Pregnancy rates jumped to 67 percent for women with signs of depression at the start of the study who engaged in the stress management program versus no pregnancies for those that did not.

"Reproductive health experts have long wondered about the impact that stress may have on fertility, thus impeding a woman's ability to conceive," says Alice Domar, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF and assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School. "This study shows that stress management may improve pregnancy rates, minimizing the stress of fertility management itself, improving the success rates of IVF procedures, and ultimately, helping to alleviate the emotional burden for women who are facing challenges trying to conceive."

Stress management in this study was achieved through a 10-session mind/body program that included relaxation training, cognitive-behavioral strategies and participation in group support.

"For decades, our Company has been dedicated to finding the best ways to support women's health priorities and needs by leveraging science and research to create efficacious solutions that women find beneficial and can easily incorporate into their lives," said Janet Nikolovski, Ph.D, Manager, R&D, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. "With stress increasing over the last decade and being associated with health concerns, we are committed to advancing clinical research on stress. The goal is to provide solutions that reduce stress and its emotional and physical impact on women so that they can lead happier and healthier lives."

SOURCE American Society for Reproductive Medicine

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