A new study has found that women who work long hours and women who lift heavy weights may find it hard to conceive a baby.
A team of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health investigated the matter and found that women who work 40 hours per week, and women who regularly lift heavy weights, often find it harder to get pregnant and take more time doing so than women who don’t share these habits.
For their study, the researchers picked out 1.739 nurses who were trying to conceive and followed them for more than two (2) years. Out of all of them, 16 percent (16%) failed to get pregnant within 12 months of their decision to have a baby, and 5 percent (5%) failed to get pregnant within 24 months of their decision to have a baby.
The test results showed that women who worked 40 hours per week or more took 20 percent (20%) longer to get pregnant, when compared to women who worked less than 40 hours per week.
And women who lifted or moved 25 pounds or more, for several times per day, found it even harder to conceive. They took 50 percent (50%) longer to get pregnant.
Audrey Gaskins, lead author on the study and researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health, gave a statement saying that “Our results show that heavy work, both in terms of physical strain and long hours, appears to have a detrimental impact on female nurses’ ability to get pregnant”.
For comparison, a typical healthy couple only takes somewhere between three (3) to six (6) months to conceive. However, the process may take a little longer if people are older, or if they have their fertility compromised by some other medical condition. Smoking and excessive drinking have also been shown to compromise a person’s fertility.
The study conducted by Gaskins and her team took place between the years of 2010 and 2014. Half of the 1.739 nurses had either reached or passed the age of 33, 44 percent (44%) of them were obese or overweight, and 22 percent (22%) of them were either former or current smokers.
Most of the women had stable daily or nightly wok schedules, but 16 percent (16%) of them worked rotating shifts. Roughly one third of all women spent at least eight (8) hours each day on their feet, while 40 percent (40%) of all women said that they lifted as many as five (5) heavy loads per day.
Rotating shifts were not proven to have an effect on how much time a woman took to get pregnant.
However, women who did a lot of heavy lifting were proven to take 33 percent (33%) longer to get pregnant if they had an average weight, and the delay time increased if they were overweight or obese.
Courtney Lynch, reproductive health specialist from the Ohio State University (Columbus), did not participate in the study, but has come up with a theory after reading it.
She believes that women who work long hours and women who do a lot of heavy lifting may not have any fertility issues whatsoever, but that they come home exhausted and have less frequent intercourse as a direct result of this – “If this effect is real, it is likely due to the fact that these women are having less frequent intercourse due to their work demands”.
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