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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Harvard Finds Physical Strain, Working Longer Hours Affect Women’s Ability to Get Pregnant

A new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds that women who work more than 40 hours a week take 20 percent longer to become pregnant than women who work fewer hours. They also found that women who routinely lift loads of at least 25 pounds several times a day spent about 50 percent longer trying to conceive compared to women who do not routinely lift that much weight.

The study, which appeared online August 6 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, followed 1,739 female nurses who were trying to get pregnant. The researchers found that 16 percent of these women had not conceived within 12 months, and 5 percent were still unable to become pregnant after two years.

“Our results show that heavy work, both in terms of physical strain and long hours, appears to have a detrimental impact on female nurses’ ability to get pregnant,” lead study author Dr. Audrey Gaskins, a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of nutrition at Harvard Chan School, told Reuters. Read more