Many of us like to think that our fertility takes care of itself but it doesn’t work like that! There are many ways in which our lifestyles can negatively influence our fertility. As our occupations are an integral aspect of our lifestyles, with many of us shackled to our desks solidly between the hours of 9-5, it’s important to understand the correlation between work and fertility.
Rani Subramanium (name changed for anonymity) explains:
“I’ve always been ambitious; a real type A personality. I work as a lawyer at a very busy firm in the city. I’ve worked hard to get where I am and I am paid very well for my efforts. Recently my husband and I talked about having a baby and decided to take the plunge. It’s been a while and I haven’t fallen pregnant yet. We have a very active sex life so I’m at a loss as to what the issue is. I’m stressed at work a lot and often feel tired and agitated. I get anxious and am always worrying about what I need to do next. I sometimes feel like I’m sabotaging getting pregnant subconsciously because of what it will do to my career.”
Consider Sunil Singh’s (name changed for anonymity) story:
“I work in an office all day. I find my job boring and unstimulating. Sometimes I get to work from home and I sit with my laptop for hours at a time. I like to unwind with a drink and a cigarette. My wife and I have been trying for a baby for over a year now and haven’t had any luck.”
Dr. Vijay Abbot, a qualified Sexologist is well versed in the link between work and fertility woes.
“For some couples, falling pregnant happens suddenly and naturally. Sometimes, when we plan pregnancy, we subconsciously put a great deal of stress on ourselves and our partner. This stress can be exacerbated by what we do for work. We spend a great deal of our time at work so the physical, mental and emotional toll it can take is very real. It’s really about unpacking the mental, emotional and physical consequences of our work and lifestyles and understanding how this is affecting our bodies.”
How can my work influence my fertility?
There are many ways in which your occupation may be negatively affecting your fertility:
- Long hours with short breaks or no break at all
- Stress/anxiety and depression
- Inability to relax and unwind after work; for instance, remaining plugged into your emails after work hours
- Not taking time for holidays or recuperative breaks
- Being highly strung, a perfectionist or ambitious
- Experimenting with negative habits outside of work to reduce stress including binge drinking, smoking cigarettes or using recreational drugs
- Gaining weight due to sedentary job positions
- Eating poorly
- Not getting enough sleep
- Working in hot environments (this can have a negative impact on sperm quality)
When should I consult a Sexologist?
If you have been trying to conceive for 6 months or more with no results, and feel that any of the above working situations may have or are contributing to your condition, it may be time to consult a Sexologist.
Work place induced stress typically influences fertility in two ways:
- The physical repercussions of our work (excessively high temperatures; long hours; working with chemicals; high stress)
- The emotional impact of our work (depression; anxiety; a pressure cooker environment)
Sexologists are able to tackle both offshoots to find how your work and lifestyle may be influencing your fertility.
Expert advice in this post has been provided by Dr. Vijay Abbot and edited by OyeHelp.