Successful pregnancy requires adaptation in maternal physiology. During intrauterine life the mother’s circadian timing system supports successful birth and postnatal development. Maternal melatonin is important to transmit circadian timing and day length to the fetus.
This study aims to describe the third trimester of pregnancy among day (n = 5) and night (n = 3) workers by assessing their melatonin levels in a natural environment. Additionally, we describe the worker’s metabolic profiles and compare the health status of the newborns between groups of day and night working mothers. Our results indicate an occurrence of assisted delivery (cesarean and forceps) among night workers. Moreover, the newborns of night workers showed lower Apgar index and breastfeeding difficulty indicating a worse condition to deal with the immediate outside the womb environment. Additionally, there was lower night-time melatonin production among pregnant night workers compared to day workers. These findings may be related to light-induced suppression of melatonin that occurs during night work.
We conclude that night work and consequent exposure to light at unconventional times might compromise the success of pregnancy and the health of the newborn. Further studies need to be carried out to monitor pregnancy and newborn health in pregnant night workers.