Association between maternal shift work during pregnancy child overweight and metabolic outcomes in early childhood

Front Public Health. 2022 Sep 30;10:1006332. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.1006332. eCollection 2022.


Background: Previous studies found that maternal shift work during pregnancy was associated with many reproductive hazards, including small for gestational age, preterm birth, stillbirth, and neurodevelopmental impairment. Some studies also showed that these children are more likely to become overweight in early childhood. However, the association with metabolic factors, such as insulin resistance and dyslipidemia, was less studied. Hence, we aimed to understand better the relationship between maternal shift work during pregnancy and the risk of childhood overweight and metabolic outcomes. Confounding factors were also discussed, including diet, exercise, and demographical factors.

Methods: We enrolled pregnant women before delivery in the Taiwan Birth Panel Study (TBPS) II conducted between 2010 and 2012, and followed the children of these participants in 2018. The objective of this study is to investigate the influence of prenatal and postnatal factors on infant and early childhood health. During the follow-up in 2018, we checked children's demographic data, obtained blood specimens, and checked their blood sugar, blood insulin, and lipid profiles. Structured questionnaires were used to evaluate demographic data. Multiple linear and logistic regressions were used to examine the associations between maternal shift work during pregnancy and child overweight, metabolic disorders, such as HOMA-IR, and lipid profiles.

Results: In this study, we included 407 mother-children pairs with different work shifts (350 day workers and 57 shift workers), and a sub-population without underweight children was also created (290 day workers and 47 shift workers). Shift work during pregnancy was associated with a higher Homeostasis Model Assessment-Insulin Resistance index (HOMA-IR) and a higher odds ratio for overweight in children born from mothers doing shift work during pregnancy after adjustment. The findings were attenuated when we investigated the effect of shift work before pregnancy.

Conclusion: Our study suggested that maternal shift work during pregnancy was associated with child overweight and insulin resistance in early childhood.

Keywords: HOMA-IR; during pregnancy; insulin resistance; overweight; shift work.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Insulins*
  • Lipids
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth*
  • Shift Work Schedule*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulins
  • Lipids