Women’s fertility may decrease with physically demanding or shift work

Women’s fertility may decrease with physically demanding or shift work

Women who lift heavy loads at work may experience decreased fertility, and the effect appears stronger among overweight or obese women and older women, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Working non-daytime work schedules may also decrease fertility, the researchers found.

The study will be published online February 7, 2017 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

“Our study suggests that 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,” said Lidia Mínguez-Alarcón, research fellow in the Department of Environmental Health and lead author of the study.

While previous studies have suggested a link between schedule, physical factors on the job, and fecundity—the biologic capacity for reproduction—those studies didn’t directly measure biomarkers of fecundity such as levels of reproductive hormones or ovarian function, and therefore could only speculate on the possible mechanisms underlying the associations. The new study is the first to report associations between these biomarkers and occupational factors.

The researchers studied nearly 500 women seeking infertility treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) from 2004-2015, which allowed them to directly measure many biomarkers of fecundity that can’t be measured in women attempting to conceive naturally.

The researchers looked at several biomarkers of fecundity—including the number of antral follicles (small structures in the ovary that indicate the number of immature eggs remaining in the ovary); levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH); estrogen levels; and the number of mature eggs that are capable of developing into healthy embryos—and analyzed the association between these biomarkers and the physical demands and schedules of the women’s jobs, which the women reported on a questionnaire… Read More>>

Source: Medical Xpress

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