Women who work night shifts are at greater risk of suffering miscarriages than those who work regular office hours, according to new research.
The study, led by Dr Linden Stocker and Dr Ying Cheong, also found those who work alternate and changing shifts are more likely to take longer to conceive a child and suffer from menstrual disruption.
The team, based at Southampton’s Princess Anne Hospital, assessed the impact of non-standard working schedules, which included night and mixed shifts, on the reproductive outcomes of 119,345 women. They found almost a third of women (29 per cent) who worked night shifts only had an increased rate of miscarriage, while a similar number (22 per cent) who worked changing shifts suffered menstrual disruption, which can cause fertility problems.
Dr Stocker, a clinical research fellow, said the research “provides strong initial evidence that women who are trying to conceive would benefit from assessing their work patterns”.
The study was presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology tomorrow.