If you're trying to get pregnant, you may want to go out and get a nice, relaxing massage first: A new study finds that stressed women took longer to conceive. Specifically, subjects with the highest levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that indicates stress, were more than twice as likely not to conceive after trying for a year when compared to subjects with the lowest levels, LiveScience reports. Overall, the 12-month study, which involved 401 US couples that had no history of infertility and had just started trying for a baby, found that the women with higher levels took 29% longer to conceive than the women with lower levels, Today reports.
Interestingly, however, alpha-amylase levels didn't make a difference at first—couples had similar odds of getting pregnant when they first started trying, but after five months, the women with the highest levels saw their odds decrease. "This study indicates that if a couple has not gotten pregnant after five to six months of trying, it may be stress-related," says the study author. Why? It's not clear, but the study found no evidence that the stressed women were having less sex or that stress delays ovulation, Fox News reports. The study author's advice to women who are trying to have a baby: Try meditation, yoga, regular exercise, or breathing exercises to reduce stress. (Read more stress stories.)