There’s a new study that suggests early pregnancy stress can be tied to a man’s future infertility. As a matter of fact, men are more likely to experience fertility problems later on in their lives if they had a mother who experienced a stressful pregnancy or a stressful life event during the early stages of their pregnancy.
According to the National Post, a team of researchers looked at two groups: men who had mothers that had stress-free pregnancies and men who had mothers who had stressful pregnancies. For the study, the researchers compiled data on reproductive hormones and sperm quality and quantity for over 600 men that were over the age of 20.
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They found that about 400 men or 63 percent of those who participated in the study had mothers who lived through at least one stressful life event while they were carrying their sons. Some of these experiences included the death of a family member or close friend, a separation or a divorce, problems in their marriage, job loss, financial difficulties and so on. About 80 moms from that same group had mothers who suffered through at least three difficult of such life-changing events, which also included a residential move or pregnancy complications.
With that said, mothers who reported no stress were of a different demographic. That’s because they were more likely to be affluent, had a healthy lifestyle, and also maintained a healthy weight throughout their pregnancies.
Dr. Roger Hart, senior author of the study and a fertility researcher at the University of Western Australia says that the best time for a couple to conceive is when both the female and the male partner are as healthy as possible, both physically and mentally speaking. The biological connection between early pregnancy stress and male infertility isn’t quite clear, but researchers believe that it’s because the stress might interrupt the normal developmental process.
Dr. Hart says, “The health of the couple at the time of conception, and for the woman her health during pregnancy, has a significant impact on the health of the offspring after birth, through childhood and into adulthood.”
It’s also been noted that the same stressful experiences that occurred during the third trimester of a pregnancy weren’t associated with a sons’ fertility in adulthood. That’s way health professionals and medical researchers are urging women to try to maintain a stress-free life or at least try to relax as much as possible during their pregnancies.