A barista serving coffee to a customer and wondering about shift work and fertility.

Fertility tips: What’s the danger of shift work?

A 2013 analysis of data spanning from 1969 to 2013 concluded that women who work irregular shifts are as much as 80% more likely to have fertility problems than women who work more regular schedules.

Fertility and shift work

It’s still unclear why shift work has the effect, but possibilities range from the disruption that irregular shift work may have on the body’s circadian rhythms, to the already established negative effect stress has on fertility, or just a simple lack of sleep. There is a link between shift work and fertility problems, but it’s not clear whether one causes the other directly.

Unfortunately, not every woman who’s trying to conceive has the option of switching jobs. However, if you have the chance to ask for a more regular schedule, it may help with your fertility. Once you do conceive, another factor about your schedule to keep in mind is that women who work regular night shifts during pregnancy may be more susceptible to certain pregnancy complications, so it’s a good idea to square away your schedule with work if you can.

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