Women who do night shifts have an 80% chance of suffering from fertility problems, miscarriage or menstrual disruption, say experts from the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust in the UK. The study involved approximately 119,000 women.
Led by Dr Linden Stocker and Dr Ying Cheong, their findings also revealed women who perform shift work have a 50% higher chance of failing to become pregnant in a year. It was also found 29% of women who worked night shifts had a higher risk of miscarrying, while 22% of shift workers got irregular periods.
Irregular hours and fertility problems in women – a worrying trend
Shift work, Dr. Stocker tells the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, messes with a woman’s body clock and affects her overall psychological wellbeing. With a disruptive biological clock, key functions like blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate are compromised.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had also previously noted working irregular hours could disrupt the body’s production of a hormone that prevents tumors from forming, consequently raising the risk of breast cancer.
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Find out why the study has been criticised on the next page…