Hard working affect on pregnant women

Hard working affect on pregnant women
31 August, 2015

Working long hours and regularly engaging in heavy lifting may impact women's ability to get pregnant, according to a new study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine.


Lead study author Dr. Audrey J. Gaskins, of the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, and colleagues reached their findings by analyzing the data of 1,739 women of an average age of 33 who were part of the 2010-2014 Nurses' Health Study.

All women included in the analysis were attempting to get pregnant. At study baseline, participants completed a questionnaire that detailed their work schedules and physical labor.

The team assessed participants every 6 months to determine how long it was taking them to conceive.

Around 44% of the women included in the study were overweight or obese, according to the researchers, while 22% were current or former smokers.

Most of the women worked days or nights only, while 16% worked rotating shifts. More than 30% of women reported working for more than 8 hours daily, while 40% said they lifted heavy loads up to five times each day.

Working more than 40 hours weekly may increase time to 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, those who worked more than 40 hours weekly took around 20% longer to get pregnant, according to the results.


In addition, the team found women who moved or lifted a minimum of 25 pounds in weight more than 15 times a day took around 50% longer to conceive than women who never lifted or moved heavy loads.

When accounting for irregular menstrual cycles - a factor known to impact fertility - the researchers found women who regularly lifted or moved heavy loads still took around 33% longer to conceive.

The association between heavy lifting and longer duration of pregnancy attempt was more prominent among women who were overweight or obese, the researchers report.

The team found no link between 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 time to conception.

Bernard Kassab

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