Night owls with gestational diabetes may face higher risk of
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Among women who develop diabetes during pregnancy, night owls have a higher risk of complications for mother and baby than early birds do, according to a study whose results will be presented at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting.

Compared with other pregnant women with gestational diabetes, those with a preference for evening activity had three times higher chance of having preeclampsia, which is pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, and four times the rate of their newborns being treated in a neonatal intensive care unit, the study investigators reported.

Gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes during pregnancy, can on its own raise the mother’s risk of premature delivery and preeclampsia, as well as the baby’s risk of growing too large in the womb or having breathing problems after birth.

Nearly half of study participants-151 women had a morning chronotype, consistent with recent research findings that pregnancy induces an earlier chronotype, the investigator said. Another 21 women had the evening chronotype. The remaining 133 participants had no strong chronotype and were classified as having an intermediate type.

Compared with women who had other chronotypes, women with an evening preference reported significantly greater symptoms of depression both before and after pregnancy as well as worse sleep quality, insomnia, and daytime sleepiness, the data showed. Even after the researchers controlled for depression symptoms and sleep variables in their statistical analyses, evening chronotype remained an independent risk factor for preeclampsia, the author said.

"Women may be able to reduce their evening preference," the author said. "A change in habits and increased exposure to morning natural light, exercise and a reduction in blue screen light is an accessible form of treatment that can potentially improve health measures in pregnancy."