1. Stress in Pregnancy May Affect Baby's Sex, Preterm Delivery Risk: Study

    Stress in Pregnancy May Affect Baby's Sex, Preterm Delivery Risk: Study

    Physical and mental stress during pregnancy may influence the baby's sex, and physical stress may increase the risk of preterm birth, a new study suggests.

    Researchers assessed 187 healthy pregnant women between 18 and 45 years of age. About 17% were mentally stressed, with high levels of depression, anxiety and perceived stress. Sixteen percent were physically stressed, with higher daily blood pressure and calorie intake than other women in the study.

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  1. Quotes

    1. Other researchers have seen this pattern after social upheavals, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, after which the relative number of male births decreased.
    2. This stress in women is likely of long-standing nature; studies have shown that males are more vulnerable to adverse prenatal environments, suggesting that highly stressed women may be less likely to give birth to a male due to the loss of prior male pregnancies, often without even knowing they were pregnant.
    3. We know from animal studies that exposure to high levels of stress can raise levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the uterus, which in turn can affect the fetus.
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