women who worked more than 40 hours a week had a 20% longer to get pregnant than those who worked 21-40 hours a week, according to the study.
lead study author Dr. Audrey J. Gaskins, TH Chan of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA, and colleagues reached their conclusions by analyzing data from 1,739 women with an average age of 33 They were part of the 2010 to 2014 nurses Health Study.
All women included in the analysis were trying to get pregnant. At baseline, participants completed a questionnaire detailing their working hours and physical work.
The team evaluated the participants every 6 months to determine how long it was taking to conceive.
About 44% of women included in the study were overweight or obese, according to the researchers, while 22% were current or former smokers.
Most women working days or nights only, while 16% worked rotating shifts. More than 30% of women reported working for more than 8 hours per day, while 40% said lifting heavy loads up to five times a day.
Working more than 40 hours a week can increase the time of conception by 20%
After 12 months, 16% of study participants had not become pregnant, while 5% had not conceived after 2 years.
Compared with women who worked 21-40 hours each week, working more than 40 hours a week took about 20% longer to become pregnant, according to the results.
In addition, the team found that women moved or lifted a minimum of 25 pounds more than 15 times a day took about 50% longer to conceive than those who never lifted or moved heavy loads.
When accounting for irregular menstrual cycles – a factor known to affect fertility – the researchers found that women lifting or moving heavy loads regularly still took about 33% longer to conceive.
The association between heavy lifting and longer attempt at pregnancy was more prominent among women who were overweight or obese, researchers report.
The team found no relationship between the frequency of night shifts and the time it took to conceive, nor was there an association between duration of rotating or non-rotating night work and the time of conception.
Commenting on the study findings, Dr. Gaskins Reuters said:
“Our results show that the heavy work, both in terms of physical effort and long hours, seems to have a detrimental impact on the ability of nurses’ to get pregnant.”
Speaking to Medical News Today , Dr. Gaskins said investigators were unable to identify the exact drivers behind their findings.
“While we have tried to control many variables that might explain this association – such as the regularity of the menstrual cycle, sleep duration and other exposures lifestyle and potentially harmful work – none of these factors seemed to fully explain these relationships “, said.
“There were some variables, however, that we lacked in our study, such as the frequency of sexual relations and work-related stress and fatigue,” he continued. “Because of this, it is difficult to determine whether these relationships are being driven by other correlated exposures lifestyle or more biological, such as deregulation of circadian rhythm.”
Talking to Reuters , Courtney Lynch, a specialist in reproductive health at Ohio State University, says the results may simply be caused by a reduction in sex due to physical exhaustion of lifting loads heavy.
In addition, because the study included only women who were nurses, the doctor said Gaskins MNT it is difficult to say whether the results apply to women in general.
Ways to get pregnant faster
The time it takes to get pregnant varies depending on factors such as age, lifestyle and medical conditions that can affect fertility. Most couples, however, become pregnant within 3 months.
Lynch says that there are a number of ways to help speed up the time of conception. She recommends couples trying to become pregnant should have sex at least twice a week, and women should avoid stress , smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
According to BabyCenter, women also have sex with time ovulation in order to increase their chances of pregnancy, citing a study that found that women who did increased significantly the time of conception.
Earlier this month, Medical News Today reported on a study detailing an approach new in vitro fertilization (IVF) that researchers say could lead to more effective treatment of fertility in older women.