Study has found stress of wage cuts and financial problems particularly harms male foetuses
The stress of wage cuts and severe economic downturn can cause pregnant women to miscarry, a study has found.
The conductors of the study, Simona Bejenariu, an economist from the University of Gothenburg, and Andreea Mitrut, an economist from Uppsala University and Uppsala Centre for Labour Studies, are urging politicians and the Royal Economic Society to acknowledge that ‘the effects of the recession may be more far-reaching than initially thought’.
The study looked at the impact of austerity measures in Romania, where public sector wages were cut by 25 per cent in May 2010.
All registered births in Romania were analysed over a three-year period and it was found that a big lifestyle shock during pregnancy particularly harms male foetuses.
Of all the babies born, it was 4.5 per cent less likely for it to be a boy than in 2009. Previous research shows that male foetuses are less likely to survive severe trauma than female foetuses.
According to Bejenariu and Mitrut, the findings demonstrate ‘induced selection’ in the womb. The Romanian birth rate decreased dramatically following the austerity measures.
In February 2011, nine months after the financial changes were made, the number of live births fell below 15,000 for the first time in 55 years, suggesting the stress of the recent economic downturn was causing women to miscarry.