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Prenatal stress, gestational age and secondary sex ratio: The sex-specific effects of exposure to a natural disaster in early pregnancy

Karine Kleinhaus
Human Reproduction

Previous research suggests that maternal exposure to acute stress has a negative impact on the duration of pregnancy, and that this effect may vary by the time of exposure. It has also been proposed that stress exposure reduces the ratio of male-to-female births. To date, no study has jointly examined both outcomes, although they may be strongly related. Using population-level data with no selectivity, we jointly study the sex-specific effect of stress on the duration of pregnancy and the observed sex ratio among pregnant women exposed to a major earthquake in Chile.