Stress During Pregnancy Affects Male Fertility

Oct 22, 2009
A new study shows that stress during pregnancy and exposure to chemicals found in common products is a dangerous combo for the development of the male reproductive system.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and Medical Research Council found that male babies, who were exposed to high levels of stress hormones glucocorticoids and phthalate chemicals, were more likely to have birth defects of the reproductive system. The negative influence of the stress hormones and chemicals may lead to such disorders as cryptorchidism, genital abnormality, when the testicles do not descend in the scrotum, or hypospadias, male birth defect of the urethra.

Stress during pregnancy can affect health of the baby and can lead to such complications as premature delivery or low birth weight of the baby. Also many studies linked stress during pregnancy to behavioral and developmental disorders in children.

Previous studies showed that exposure to the chemicals present in such products as plastic bottles, glues and paints affect male fertility in a bad way. Chemicals like phthalates are used in production of toys, medical devices and beauty products and other common items. They were found to affect male reproductive system. Now, scientists found more evidence that chemicals in combination to stress can increase the risk of the problems related to male fertility.

It is known that many birth defects are caused by exposure to high levels of chemicals. However, in combination with additional factors such as stress, even the low levels of chemicals could become harmful for male fertility.