The Disturbing Way Daylight Savings Affects Miscarriage Rates in IVF Patients

When you think miscarriage risk factors, daylight savings time probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind—but according to a new study, it might play a crucial role.

Miscarriage woman lying curled up crying on floor surrounded by baby toys Veronica Grech/Getty Images
As it turns out, daylight savings time (DST) doesn't just mess with a baby's sleep schedule—it can also affect your chances of miscarrying, at least if you've conceived via IVF.

A recent study highlights this unexpected risk: Research from Boston University Medical Center indicates that women who have experienced prior pregnancy loss and are undergoing IVF treatments may have a higher chance of miscarrying because of that one-hour time jump. Researchers point to the time change's ability to disrupt a woman's circadian rhythms

This isn't the first time experts have found reason to believe DST could affect health in other ways—research has suggested it may increase heart attack frequency—but this appears to be the first study to look at the link between the time change and reproductive capacity. Researchers carried this out by studying a group of patients who were undergoing IVF before or during daylight savings time in both fall and spring. Patients were classified based on the timing of their embryo transfers.

According to their findings, women who underwent IVF within 21 days of spring DST had slightly higher miscarriage rates. But remember—studies like these measure association and don't necessarily prove cause and effect. With that being said, the mention of DST's effect on circadian rhythm is pretty interesting, and if you're concerned, you may consider scheduling your embryo transfer well after the time change takes place.

"While our findings on the impact of DST on pregnancy loss among IVF pregnancies are intriguing, they need to be replicated in larger IVF cohorts in different parts of the world that observe DST," study senior author Wendy Kuohung, M.D., said in a release for the study. So there you have it: Could a one-hour time change mess with your IVF success? Possibly—but as of right now, there's no clear answer.