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Smoking while pregnant 'makes babies gay'?

Bizarre study links stress and smoking in pregnant women to producing gay babies.
By Shaakirah De Vries

Pic: Shutterstock

Article originally in Parent24
Depending on the particular bias of researchers studies may be used to 'prove' almost any theory about links between the social/physical environment of parents and the way their kids turn out. An obvious example of 'research' which has questionable academic foundations is this latest study which links smoking in pregnant women to producing gay babies:

A pregnant woman’s lifestyle is believed to have an impact on the development of their babies – with drinking, taking drugs and even living in an area with a lot of pollution affecting children in later life.

According to The Telegraph, women who smoke or lead a stressful life during their pregnancy can influence their child’s sexuality and IQ, a neuroscientist has claimed.

While every woman tries to lead a healthy lifestyle, especially during pregnancy by eating healthily and leading an active life, there are often those women who can’t seem to kick the habit even after finding out that they’re expecting.

Dick Swaab, professor of neurobiology at Amsterdam University, suggests drinking and taking drugs can lower a child’s IQ while taking synthetic hormones and smoking can increase the likelihood of girls being lesbians or bisexual.

According to the book by the Dutch neuroscientist, which is yet another chapter in the debate about the origins and causes of homosexuality.

Professor Swaab believes that a child’s sexuality is determined in the womb and cannot be altered, while others argue that it is affected by  upbringing or ‘selected’ as a lifestyle choice.

In his book, We Are Our Brains, he writes: ‘Although it’s frequently assumed that development after birth also importantly affects our sexual orientation, there’s no proof of this whatsoever.

‘Children brought up by lesbians aren’t more likely to be homosexual. Nor is there any evidence at all for the misconception that homosexuality is a “lifestyle choice”.’

Professor Swaab says that the development of the brain during pregnancy is altered by the tiniest of chemical changes.

As an example, he claims that a drug prescribed to two million mothers to combat miscarriages during the 1940s and 1950s increased the likelihood of bisexuality and homosexuality in their unborn children.

‘Pre-birth exposure to nicotine or amphetamines also increases the likelihood of lesbian daughters,’ he writes in the book.

‘Pregnant women suffering from stress are also more likely to give birth to homosexual children, because their raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol affect the production of foetal sex hormones.’

He also said that the brain in foetuses begins to develop at two weeks, with anything that introduces toxins into the body having an impact on this development. Studies show women who took synthetic oestrogen between 1939 and 1960 to reduce the chance of miscarriage had a greater chance of bisexuality and lesbianism in their daughters.

Do you agree that 'studies' can sometimes be unhelpful?

Disclaimer: The views of this article does not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
Read more on: moms health  |  pregnant  |  gay  |  smoking  |  parenting


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2013-11-22 13:43

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