Can lay-offs cause miscarriages?

They studied the birth records of the state of California from April 1995 to December 2007, and compared these with the number of new claims for unemployment insurance. Based on hints from earlier work, they looked specifically at unemployment claims that had wider social resonance than the firing of a few individuals—namely those in which an employer sacked 50 workers or more in one go…

The researchers discovered that mass lay-offs did, indeed, lead to fewer boys being born. Over the whole period 52.4% of births were of boys. In some months, though, that fell as low as 51.2%. Teasing out the statistics suggested that the stress of mass lay-offs probably caused these drops, but that the lay-offs in question could happen months after conception. Male fetuses were, in other words, being spontaneously aborted—presumably as a consequence of stress.

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