Common Chemical May Disrupt Healthy Pregnancy Hormones
Phthalates are chemicals that make plastics more durable, and they can be found in toiletries and electronics. However, a recent study suggests that they may harm the hormones that are produced in the course of pregnancy. More precisely, scientists found that phthalates may potentially disrupt an essential hormone necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
Back in 2008, the use of these chemicals in household items was limited, particularly in items designed or intended primarily for children. Yet, phthalates can still be found in many everyday products. The study focuses on the effect of phthalates on the placental corticotropin-releasing hormone (pCRH). The placenta and increases produce this specific hormone during pregnancy. Also, it has a vital role in promoting the onset of labor.
However, if the levels of this hormone increase very fast in the early stages of the pregnancy, that may lead to preterm birth and issues concerning fetal growth. Other possible adverse effects are hypertension, diabetes, and post-natal depressive episodes.
The research team evaluated data from low-risk pregnant women in their pregnancy’s second and third trimesters. It was discovered that several phthalates are linked to higher pCRH hormone levels in the second trimester but lower pCRH later in the third trimester of the pregnancy. These levels were highest in women who experienced complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and hypertension. In line with that, women with these health problems may be more vulnerable to hormonal disruption.
The most important strong point of this study is that it involved a considerable number of pregnant women, and about half of them were POC. However, there are also several limitations. For instance, each participant was examined only twice during the pregnancy. Furthermore, some of these harmful chemicals stay in the body only for a short amount of time, which means that a urine test would not demonstrate the levels of exposure with extreme precision.
To limit exposure to phthalates, scientists recommend that people carefully read the product information.
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash