Abstract:

Evidence from women working night shifts during pregnancy indicates that circadian rhythm disruption has the potential to adversely influence pregnancy outcomes. In the general population, chronodisruption with the potential to affect pregnancy outcomes may also be seen in those with high energy intakes in the evening or at night. However, maternal night eating during pregnancy remains understudied. This narrative review provides an overview of the prevalence, contributing factors, nutritional aspects and health implications of night eating during pregnancy. We derived evidence based on cross-sectional studies and longitudinal cohorts. Overall, night eating is common during pregnancy, with the estimated prevalence in different populations ranging from 15% to 45%. The modern lifestyle and the presence of pregnancy symptoms contribute to night eating during pregnancy, which is likely to coexist and may interact with multiple undesirable lifestyle behaviors. Unfavorable nutritional characteristics associated with night eating have the potential to induce aberrant circadian rhythms in pregnant women, resulting in adverse metabolic and pregnancy outcomes. More research, particularly intervention studies, are needed to provide more definite information on the implications of night eating for mother-offspring health.

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