There are many things that can affect a woman’s chance to conceive. Being obese, being too thin, chronic disease, alcohol, stress, age, smoking, etc. all contribute to a woman’s struggle with fertility. However, did you know that your job could also be putting you at risk?
According to recently published research in the journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, jobs that involve regular heavy lifting could reduce fertility, especially among overweight and/or obese women. “Our study suggests that women who are planning pregnancy should be cognizant of the potential negative impacts that non-day shift and heavy lifting could have on their reproductive health,” comments to Lidia Mínguez-Alarcón, a research fellow in the Department of Environmental Health and lead author of the study, to CNN in a recent interview.
Four hundred and seventy women were a party of the study where researchers compared the physical demands and schedules of their jobs against four biomarkers known to be linked to their ability to reproduce. Results showed that the heavier the lifting or moving of objects, the women had a lower number of mature eggs in comparison to women who do not move heavy objects at work at all. The reduction in mature eggs was even greater in women who lift heavy objects, are overweight, and over the age of 37.
“These occupational exposures are affecting egg reproduction and quality,” commented Audry Gaskins, a Harvard T.H. Chan School epidemiologist and senior author of the research, to CNN. “We saw this same association in an entirely different cohort. We speculate it could be due to a disrupted stress-response system. Obesity affects the body’s ability to handle stress. [We want] to look at whether a woman is able to change her schedule or lifting and whether we see a change in fecundity.”
Shift work has been proven to have a wide-range of negative effects on health including but not limited to a high risk of heart disease and obesity. Couple that with heavy lifting and you just may be cutting your chances significantly of becoming pregnant.
To read more about this study and others, click here.