5 Reasons Why Your Circadian Rhythm Should Not Get Affected During Pregnancy

Picture this – you have a flight to catch at 3 am to London after spending 12 gruelling hours at work. You've got only forty winks before you begin yet another hectic week. You comfort yourself saying that you’ll make up for the lost sleep, and stressful schedule after the big presentation is over. Little do you realize that the harm caused to your body could be far beyond repair!
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Your circadian rhythm, also known as the body clock is a 24-hour cycle that regulates a number of bodily mechanisms such as sleep, hormone production, cell regeneration, etc. Though circadian rhythms get generated endogenously, external factors such as sunlight and temperature can also impact it.  If your body clock gets disrupted, it can result in a number of grave health issues like cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and psychological problems like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. A disturbed circadian rhythm can also cause numerous problems especially among women who are carrying. Here are five key reasons why your circadian rhythm should not get affected during pregnancy:

    1. Increased Risk Of Pregnancy And Fertility Complications – Owing to the modern-day, global work environment, shift jobs are extremely common in the professional space. Quite unsurprisingly, these jobs impact our circadian rhythm and can thereby heighten the risk of pregnancy and fertility complications. A study of 119,345 women conducted by European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology found that women who worked night shifts faced an increased rate of miscarriage. On the other hand, those women who worked mixed shifts suffered increased rates of menstrual irregularities and sub-fertility.

    2. Increased Risk Of High Blood Pressure – A lot of pregnant women complain about experiencing disturbed sleep, especially in their third trimester. This happens because the size of the uterus increases and thus puts more pressure on the bladder that thereby increases the risk of nocturia and gastroesophageal reflux. A lot of women also succumb to conditions like Restless Leg Syndrome and Obstructive Sleep Apnea during their third trimester, which further affects sleep quality and can result in high blood pressure. Studies suggest that pregnant women who get less than five hours of sleep in a day increase their risk of developing preeclampsia by almost nine times. Preeclampsia, a condition that is an outcome of high blood pressure can result in life threatening health problems in the liver, kidneys, brain and the clotting system. It can also hinder the development of the baby and result in premature delivery. 
    3. Increased Risk Of Cognitive And Behavioral Disorders In The Fetus – You must be aware of the impact that hormonal imbalances can have on your mood. Did you know, however, that it could also go a long way in impacting your reproductive health? Melatonin, a hormone naturally produced by the human body can get disrupted if your body gets very little light exposure during the day. It can also get altered if you get exposed to high amounts of artificial bright light in the nights. Melatonin helps improve cellular health and prevents oxidative damage on the immature egg during ovulation, owing to its strong antioxidant activity. In addition, melatonin also offers a neuroprotective effect to both, the adult, and fetal brain. On the flipside, disrupted melatonin levels in pregnant women can impact the fetus’ melatonin too, and result in cognitive and behavioral disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism.

    4. Higher Risk Of Delivery Complications – Another concern faced by pregnant women with disrupted circadian rhythms is higher incidence of complications during delivery. Pregnant women who work in shifts and have a disrupted sleep cycle face a greater risk of cesarean delivery, long labor, and preterm labor. Erratic sleep cycles can also impact their ability to breastfeed their infants after birth.

    5. Higher Incidence Of Inflammatory Activity – A study published in the Journal of Reproductive Immunology found that women who experience disrupted sleep during pregnancy report a higher incidence of inflammatory activity within their body. Unlike anti-inflammatory cytokines, these pro-inflammatory cytokines increase inflammation that can lead to diseases like anemia, autism, arthritis, kidney failure, cardiovascular diseases, among many others.
It is extremely important that you keep a strict tab on your daily schedule during your pregnancy. Make sure you take proper care of yourself to ensure your good health along with your baby’s. Catch at least eight hours of undisturbed sleep in the night and avoid late night shifts at work. To reduce pregnancy-related aches and discomfort, practice low to medium intensity exercises like walking, swimming and yoga daily. Not only will doing this help improve your mood, but also aid in better sleep. Enjoy a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains and poultry, and keep yourself well-hydrated all through the day! Here’s wishing you a stress-free pregnancy!

Author Bio : Vineetha Reddy
Being a regular practitioner and adviser of everything related to nutrition, fitness, health and wellness, I also have begun to write and contribute to this knowledge ecosystem on sites like StyleCraze.com, MindBodyGreen.com and LifeHacker.co.in. I strongly believe that the organic food you find in your pantry provide the best benefits for good health.

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1 comment:

  1. Ramola2:36 PM

    Very helpful information, may be excercise by pregnant women


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