Traffic noise spells pregnancy difficulty
LONDON: Couples living near busy roads may find it harder to get pregnant due to the stress of traffic noise, according to researchers.
Women exposed to noisy roads are more likely to take six to 12 months to fall pregnant. Their chances of that delay rise 8% for every 10-decibel increase in the volume of traffic, an analysis of more than 65 000 women found.
Previous research found traffic noise could delay ovulation in women, while the stress and sleep disruption it brings may affect men’s sperm quality.
The study, published in the journal Environment International, follows research showing that living close to busy roads raises risks of pregnant women suffering serious complications.
The authors, led by Jeppe Schultz Christensen at the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre in Copenhagen, said: “Traffic noise induces sleep disturbance and stress. Sleep disturbances and stress may affect the fecundity (time to pregnancy).” Couples living near noisy roads show raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol, believed to activate a particular area of the brain, known as the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.
Activation of this area is thought to make conception difficult, with previous research showing it can alter blood flow in the fallopian tubes. The change to the brain from traffic noise may also delay a hormone surge which triggers ovulation and affects sperm production in men.
Professor Adam Balen, of the British Fertility Society, said: “The study is small and shows only a small effect. There is no evidence of a cause for the effect seen, which would be critical if it is to inform patients and doctors about potential causes of infertility.” – Daily Mail
Traffic noise could delay ovulation