Story on a study into the effects of stress on pregnancy by CNN appears to pick parts of the original article for a more interesting narrative
CNN’s article regarding the effects of stress on pregnancy, while technically true, somewhat underplays certain aspects of the original study to create a slightly more interesting narrative. The title defies convention and can be easily misinterpreted to believe that fetal sex can be determined by stress levels, which is not the case. The study found that stress was linked with lower rates of male births, not that being stressed caused the mother to conceive a female.
The author uses some details from the original research study and uses other sources to further drive home the impact of stress on fetal outcomes. While this may be driven by a motivation to create a better narrative, the author states the outcomes of the articles accurately and in a way that is representative of the original findings. The article is well written and reasonably easy to comprehend. In summary, while the title and story line of the article may be portrayed in a way that highlights the narrative the author wants to portray, the facts and findings of the article are presented in a factual and reasonable manner.
This CNN Health article reports on “Maternal prenatal stress phenotypes associate with fetal neurodevelopment and birth outcomes”, a study published this past October in PNAS. Upon first impressions, the article title itself is subject to misinterpretation, suggesting that stress during pregnancy may dictate the sex of the baby. Sex of the fetus is determined at the time of fertilization, not by stress levels during pregnancy, which the title seems to indicate. The author however clarifies this in the main body of the article, stating that males are more susceptible to pregnancy complications when the mother is stressed.
The author narrows in on girl to boy ratios and the role of stress throughout the article, only briefly mentioning other results presented by the paper, including pre-term delivery and neurodevelopmental issues. In my opinion, while the author cherry-picks from the original article for the sake of a narrative, they use other sources well to support their story, introducing studies on psychosocial stress and how it may be related to cortisol levels. Overall, the author communicates to readers that correlation does not mean causation and accurately presents the data that fits their narrative.
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