Women who do two or more night shifts a week during pregnancy are likely to have an increased risk of miscarriage, says a new study.
This is because women working at night are exposed to artificial light which disrupts their circadian rhythm or body clock and decreases the release of melatonin — a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles and helps in maintaining a successful pregnancy, according to the study published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine journal.
The findings showed that after the eighth week of pregnancy, women who had worked two or more night shifts had a 32 per cent higher risk of miscarriage compared with women who had not worked any night shifts.
“This may be explained by the decline in the proportion of chromosomally abnormal foetuses with gestational age, which makes an association with environmental exposure more easily detectable among later miscarriages,” said researchers from the Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital in Denmark.
This is an observational study, and as such, cannot establish cause.
Previous studies have also stated that women who work in night shifts, even occasionally, are at an increased risk of early menopause, which can heighten the possibility of developing cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and memory problems.
For the study, the researchers included nearly 23,000 pregnant women. (IANS)
Despite its common occurrence, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding miscarriage and many women find that their emotional and psychological needs are unmet as they go through a devastating grieving process. But for some, Instagram has emerged as a tool to cope with such distress, a study says.
The study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that the content posted by Instagram users included rich descriptions of the medical and physical experiences of miscarriage, and the emotional spectrum of having a miscarriage and coping with those emotions, the social aspect, and family identity.
“I find it endlessly fascinating that women are opening up to essentially strangers about things that they hadn’t even told their partners or families,” says Dr. Riley. “But this is how powerful this community is,” said Amy Henderson Riley, Assistant Professor at the Jefferson College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, US.
The findings are based on a qualitative research study on 200 posts of text and pictures shared by Instagram users.
“What surprised me the most was how many women and their partners identified as parents after their miscarriage and how the miscarriage lasted into their family identity after a successful pregnancy,” said Rebecca Mercier, Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University.
“The extent to which this loss affects women and their families, and the longevity of their grief is a blind spot for clinicians,” Mercier said.
These personal accounts also provided insight into patients’ perspectives of typically defined experiences.
For example, in the clinic, the typical definition of recurrent pregnancy loss is after three pregnancies. However, the researchers found that many patients who had had two or more miscarriages identified with having recurrent pregnancy loss.
“I’m hoping that this study will encourage clinicians to point patients to social media as a potential coping tool, as well as to approach this subject with bereaved and expecting parents with more respect and empathy,” Mercier said.
Social media is becoming a common avenue for patient testimonials. For example, the short video-sharing platform TikTok has recently become a home for some users to make videos sharing their personal health struggles.