Study: Increase in mortality among male babies after 9/11

This is interesting: A newly-completed study of fetal death rates in September, from 1996 to 2002, found that 12% more male fetuses died in September 2001 (after the 20th week of pregnancy) than in the other years.

According to the BBC News, fewer boys were born in the U.S. three to four months following 9/11. Experts say this is support for the theory of “communal bereavement,” defined as “acute mental stress related to a major national event.”

I don’t think it matters whether a stressor is national or not. It sounds like an excuse to coin a new illness, to me. But it is true that certain people and groups are more prone to stress, and this includes pregnant women and unborn males:

Dr. Tim Bruckner, who led the research at the University of California, Irvine, said that miscarriages were grossly under-reported in the U.S. and that the real figure of male foetal losses was likely to be much higher.

Explaining the findings he said: “Across many species, stressful times reportedly reduce the male birth rate.

“This is commonly thought to reflect some mechanism conserved by natural selection to improve the mother’s overall reproductive success.” However, by studying birth rates nine months after the 11 September attacks, researchers say there was no evidence that the conception of male babies was affected.


Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Zo

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