A new study suggests that women who work more than 8 hours a day or lift heavy objects regularly may find it harder to get pregnant than those who don’t work so hard.
1,739 nurses took part in a study in the United States. All of them were trying to conceive a baby. Some of the nurses were on their feet at least 8 hours every single day. It was estimated that up to 16% of them couldn’t get pregnant during the first year of trying and 5% couldn’t conceive even after two years.
Failing to conceive was linked to hard work and physical effort. For women who worked more than 40 hours a week it took 20% more time to conceive a baby, while women working only 21 to 40 hours every week got pregnant faster.
Getting pregnant took 50% more time for women who had to move or lift more than 25 pounds a few times each day. The impact was even more pronounced for obese and overweight women who had to lift heavy loads.
“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” said Audrey Gaskins, researcher at Harvard School of Public Health.
While working conditions may affect the time it takes to have a baby, it’s understandable that women who are trying to get pregnant may choose to work long hours. Still, there could be a simple reason why women who work more take longer to get pregnant: they simply don’t have the time to engage in intercourse as often as the women who work less.
A healthy young couple should be able to get pregnant within the first 3 to 6 months of trying. Still, it takes more time for older couples and for people with health problems that affect their fertility. It might also take longer to conceive if the woman has an irregular menstrual cycle. Alcohol and cigarettes also make it harder to get pregnant.
Courtney Lynch, who is a specialist in reproductive health, suggests that all women should invest in fertility monitors when trying to get pregnant. Those devices track ovulation by testing the hormones in a women’s urine and they make it easier to know when she has a higher chance of getting pregnant.
Photo credits: Babyhopes.com