Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Yong Zhu


Exposure to a suboptimal pregnant environment can raise the risk of offspring experiencing a variety of diseases in later life. Circadian rhythms play an important role in endocrine system, physiological and psychological functions. Potentially, interruption of the circadian rhythm in pregnant women might impair fetal growth and lead to adverse effects on the children. In the modern world, millions of women experience circadian disruption during pregnancy due to night shift work, excessive light at night, and jet travel across time zones. However, the impact of maternal chrono-disruption during pregnancy on the health of the second generation remains largely unknown. The review summarizes the potential adverse effects of maternal circadian disruption during pregnancy, including both short-term outcomes that were measured immediately after birth and long-term developmental outcomes. After systematically screening PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science using combinations of keywords, a total of 42 articles reporting at least one risk estimate for the six outcomes of interest: short-term pregnancy outcomes (miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight/small-for-gestation-age) and long-term offspring outcomes (growth, metabolic function, neurobehavioral development) were included. The results showed that short-term pregnancy outcomes have been examined since 1989, while long-term offspring development outcomes were a relatively new area that has not been studied until 2011. This evidence, although limited, strongly suggest that maternal circadian disruption during pregnancy increases the risk of several abnormal fetal health outcomes in both short-term and long-term, which warrant further investigation.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access