Night Shift Work Before and During Pregnancy and Offspring Weight Outcomes Through Adolescence

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Sep;26(9):1491-1500. doi: 10.1002/oby.22267.


Objective: This study aimed to investigate associations between maternal history of rotating night shift nursing work before pregnancy and number of night shifts worked during pregnancy with offspring weight outcomes from early life through adolescence.

Methods: More than 4,000 children, enrolled in the second phase of the Growing Up Today Study between 2004 and 2013, and their mothers participating in the Nurses' Health Study II were included in our analyses.

Results: Children of women with and without a history of rotating night shift work before pregnancy were similar in birth weight and body size at age 5. However, for mothers with night shift work before pregnancy, their children had a modestly elevated risk of having overweight or obesity (relative risk = 1.11; 95% CI: 1.02-1.21), which was stronger for persistently having overweight or obesity during adolescence and early adulthood. Longer duration of rotating night shift work was not associated with any of these weight outcomes. Weight outcomes of children of women with versus without night shift work during pregnancy were similar, regardless of frequency of night shifts worked during pregnancy (all P > 0.09).

Conclusions: Overall, nurses' night shift work before or during pregnancy did not affect offspring weight outcomes. Future larger studies should explore these associations in more detail.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Shift Work Schedule / adverse effects*