Fewer Boys Born After 9/11

Nationwide "grieving” could be responsible.

Fewer Boys Born After 9/11

Nationwide “grieving” could be responsible.

-Jane Farrell

A woman sitting in a waiting room

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, moms-to-be across the United States lost far more male fetuses than usual, according to a study just released.

The loss of male fetuses in September 2001 was 14 percent higher than in any other month studied in the six-year period the survey covered.

The authors of the study, which appears in the journal BMC Public Health, theorize that the loss of male fetuses may be due to “communal grieving”, a process in which communities grieve together after a disaster, although they may not know the victims personally.

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Study author Tim Bruckner, an assistant professor of public health/planning, policy and design at the University of California, Irvine, said that there is evidence that male births typically decline after “population stressors” – i.e. hard or traumatic times in a society. But experts aren’t sure why this is the case.

The authors theorized that male fetuses may have a stronger reaction than female fetuses to the stress hormones produced by a mother.

Another expert, Thomas O’Connor, a professor of psychiatry at Rochester Medical Center, said that even fetuses who survived a stressful pregnancy might face problems.

“Anxiety and stress during pregnancy can lead to neurobehavioral and developmental problem in children,” he told Yahoo!. “One needn’t think about something as severe as 9/11 to worry about stress and pregnancy as a public health issue.” (Yahoo!)

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