Smoking and drinking during pregnancy could make your baby gay and stupid, claims neuroscientist Dr. Dick Swaab.
A controversial study has found that a pregnant woman’s lifestyle could influence their child’s IQ or sexuality.
Dr. Swaab, who is the professor of neurobiology at Amsterdam University, claims that drinking, taking drugs or living in an area with high pollution levels all potentially have an impact on the development of foetuses and could affect children later in life.
Taking synthetic hormones and smoking while pregnant can increase the chances of girls becoming lesbian or bisexual, while drinking and drug-taking could lower a child’s IQ, Dr. Swaab suggests.
Also, the more older brothers a boy has, the more it is thought to increase his chance of being gay, it is reported. The study claims this could be because the mother’s immune system develops stronger responses to male hormones with each son that is born.
Dr. Swaab also believes living in an area of high pollution is linked with an increased risk of autism.
He told the Sunday Times: “Pre-birth exposure to both nicotine and amphetamines increases the chance of lesbian daughters. Pregnant women suffering from stress are also more likely to have homosexual children of both genders because their raised level of the stress hormone cortisol affects the production of foetal sex hormones.”
He added: “In women who drink a lot, cells that were meant to migrate across the foetal brain can end up leaving the brain altogether.”
However, Swaab also recognised that lifestyle factors were a small influence and added that genetics play the most important role in child development.