Women who work night shifts or have jobs that involve heavy lifting could be at risk for infertility.
A study out of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health that focused on 470 women who were already undergoing fertility treatment found that women whose work involved heavy lifting or shift work were more likely to have fertility issues.
The women who reported jobs that involved heavy lifting had 8.8% fewer total eggs and 14.1% fewer mature eggs when compared to women whose work did not involve heavy lifting.
“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,” explained Lidia Mínguez-Alarcón, a research fellow in the Department of Environmental Health and lead author of the study, according to CNN.
While this particular study looked at a very small fraction of women, the CDC has reported that about 6.7 million American women have fertility issues. With anything from irregular periods to decreased sex drive being potential signs of infertility, women are encouraged to pay attention to shifts in their own bodies.
The Harvard study also noted how women who were overweight, obese or over the age of 37 had a higher likelihood of having lower egg counts. According to the researchers, how these groups handle stress played a role in how their fertility was impacted.
Considering the small tested population, researchers are looking to expand on the pool for further data collection.
“(We want) to look at whether a woman is able to change her schedule or lifting and whether we see a change in fecundity,” explained a lead researcher.