Women Working Long Hours May Have Difficult Time Conceiving

By: Amy Charley

Nurses who consistently work long hours and lift heavy loads may have a harder time getting pregnant,  according to new study published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

A team of researchers followed more than 1,700 nurses who were trying to conceive from 2010-2014 and assessed participants every six months to determine how long it was taking them to get pregnant.

Most healthy couples are able to conceive within three to six months; however, conceiving may take longer in older couples or if a couple’s fertility is compromised by certain medical conditions, smoking and/or excessive drinking. According to the study, an estimated 16 percent of participants had yet to get pregnant after a year, and 5 percent had not become pregnant after two years.

Women working more than 40 hours a week on average took 20 percent longer to get pregnant compared to women who worked 21 to 40 hours a week.  Moving or lifting at least 25-pound loads several times a day was also tied to delayed pregnancy, extending the time to conception by about 50 percent. These percentages were higher for women in the study who were overweight or obese.

The majority of the women participating in the study were at least 33 years old and worked only days or nights, though 16 percent rotated work shifts. Approximately one third of the study participants were on their feet for at least eight hours a day, and 40 percent reported lifting heavy loads up to five times a daily.

For couples who have been trying to conceive for over a year with no success,  Magee’s Center for Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology can be a great resource. The department provides a full spectrum of infertility services for women and men.