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Night shifts and miscarriages

Nurses are all too familiar with the disadvantages of night shift work, including deleterious effects on general health (including sleep disturbance and weight gain), personal life (disrupted time with family and friends), and professional development (lack of access to events and meetings). A recent Danish study also indicates an effect on pregnancy outcomes.

In the study, 22,744 pregnant women were identified using the Danish Working Hour Database, which includes data on all public hospital employees and national registers of births and miscarriages. Using Cox regression, the researchers analyzed the risk of miscarriage during the weeks 4 to 22 of pregnancy. Women who worked two or more night shifts the previous week had an increased risk of miscarriage after week 8 of their pregnancy compared with women who didn’t work any night shifts. The results of the study corroborate previous study findings that showed night shift work during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage.

For tips on taking care of yourself while working night shifts, read these articles in American Nurse Today: “Nutrition for night shift nurses” and “How to recover from night shifts.”

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