Meal timing and glycemic control during pregnancy—is there a link?

Shengjie Zhu, Prasanth Surampudi, Nancy T. Field, Maria Chondronikola

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Hyperglycemia during pregnancy and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) constitute an important public health problem due to their prevalence and long-term health consequences both for the mother and offspring. Results from studies in rodents and some clinical investigations suggest that meal time manipulation may be a potential lifestyle approach against conditions involving perturbations in glucose homeostasis (e.g., hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, diabetes, etc.). The purpose of this review is to summarize and critically evaluate the current literature on the role of meal timing and daily nutrient distribution on glycemic control during pregnancy. Only a small number of mostly observational studies have assessed the role of meal timing in glucose homeostasis during pregnancy. Food consumption earlier in the day and short-term fasting with adequate nutrient intake may improve glycemic control during the second and third trimester of gestation. Considering that the field of chrononutrition is still in its infancy and many questions remain unanswered, future prospective and carefully designed studies are needed to better understand the role of meal timing in metabolic homeostasis and maternal and fetal health outcomes during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3379
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Gestation
  • Gestation diabetes mellitus
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Hormones
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Time-restricted eating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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