Is Your Job Affecting Your Fertility?
There are many things that can affect a couple’s odds of conceiving. Genetics, age, and diet all play an important role but have you ever stopped to think about how your job may be helping or hindering your chances of becoming pregnant? As it turns out, the work you do on a daily basis may have more of an impact on your reproductive health than previously thought.
Job Affecting Your Fertility?
A study published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that women who are employed in jobs that involve shifts and heavy lifting have a much more difficult time becoming pregnant than women of similar physical makeups that work regular hours in a non-physically demanding job. Researchers questioned 787 women with different ovarian reserves and ovarian responses with similar body compositions and age. Ovarian reserve is how many eggs the woman has and the level of follicle stimulating hormone a woman has. This measures how fertile the woman is and normally can be used to track declining fertility. Ovarian response is the amount of mature eggs that are capable of fertilization and creating a healthy embryo.
They found that women who had to regularly lift heavy objects had a diminished ovarian reserve as compared to women who did not have to regularly lift heavy objects. They also found that women who performed “shift work” working unpredictable shifts in varying hours of the day – but more specifically night shifts – had fewer mature eggs, or diminished ovarian response, than women who worked more traditional day jobs. More interestingly they found that women in physically demanding jobs going through IVF cycles had an 8.8 lower ovarian reserve and 14.1 percent fewer mature eggs than women who worked during the day and did not have high physical demand. Working at night or in unpredictable shifts increased these deficits.
This study was purely observational, and no conclusions were drawn. It does mean to inform women that their fertility can be affected by the work that they do. Drawing from what we know about fertility it seems that the relation between night work and lessened ovarian reserves and response could be because the body is out of tune with its circadian rhythm; however, they have not proved that.
What Does This Mean For You?
Many women must work in physically demanding and odd-houred professions, and many love the schedule and work. This study certainly is not indicating that women should forego this type of work in order to become pregnant. Rather, it was done to show women that their environment has a large effect on their body and fertility. If a woman is seeking to become pregnant it may be worth it for her to assess her situation. If she is healthy in all other aspects of her life, her diet is flawless, her stress is checked, she is physically fit, and relatively young it may be worth it for her to seek a career change. But, fertility never happens in a vacuum. The many factors that affect fertility can create a situation where no type of work will ever be perfect or increase your odds of becoming pregnant. In these cases it may be best to seek the help of a professional.
Fertility doctors like those at Viera Fertility Center are uniquely aware of all the factors that lead to a healthy conception and pregnancy. If you have been attempting to conceive for more than a year and been unsuccessful, make an appointment today. Dr. Chamoun will work to uncover the cause of your fertility issues and help you to achieve a pregnancy. By testing all the possible causes of infertility, we will be able to choose a course of treatment that can provide you with the best odds of becoming pregnant. Life is too short to not enjoy a family if that is what you wish, if you question your reproductive health, call Viera Fertility Center today.