Born This Way: A Life Course Model of EDC Exposure and Pregnancy

By: Annabelle Leka, Zoe Liau, Lauren Mungo, Weenta Yacob, Lisa Zhou

How can exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals change your health trajectory before you were even born?

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Pregnancy, Baby and You aims to spread education and awareness about the consequences of endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) exposure on pregnancy to community members wanting to start families. EDCs are substances that mimic, alter, or interfere with the normal function of your body’s endocrine system. We frame our work with the interdisciplinary life course theory perspective to demonstrate the continuous accumulation of chemical exposure, their impact across generations, and the role of social contexts.

We examine, biologically, what EDCs are, how they affect our body in general, and specifically how they impact babies during pregnancy. Pregnancy is an extremely vulnerable period for both the mother and the fetus. EDCs can have various impacts during pregnancy, leading to potential negative health outcomes for gestational experiences and the neonate. Understanding how babies are exposed to EDCs preconception as EDCs cross the placental barrier, and why EDC exposure during pregnancy can harm child development is essential in tackling EDC-induced health effects. From a social perspective, we share what some major health outcomes are, health disparities associated with exposure, and how policies have/have not regulated EDC exposure to women and newborns. Additionally, we included real interviews with an expert in this field, a pediatrician/neonatologist, as well as pregnant individuals to understand the current knowledge and relationship folks have with EDCs to inform the educational aspects of our site. The purpose of this website is to understand the complex health issue between EDCs and pregnancy from different perspectives and make that information digestible to inform and empower mothers, pregnant individuals, and families.

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