Several novel animal studies have shown that intrauterine metabolic programming can be modified in the event of reduced melatonin synthesis during pregnancy, leading to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in the offspring. It is therefore postulated that female night workers when pregnant may expose the offspring to unwanted health threats.
This may be explained by the fact that melatonin is essential for regulating energy metabolism and can influence reproductive activity. Moreover, the circadian misalignment caused by shift work affects fertility and the fetus, increasing the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight, phenomena observed in night workers. Thus, we hypothesize that light-induced melatonin suppression as a result of night work may alter intrauterine metabolic programming in pregnant women, potentially leading to metabolic disorders in their offspring.