(CN) – You either love him or you hate him, but was a woman’s discontent following the 2016 election of President Donald Trump enough to affect her unborn child?
This isn’t an Onion article. According to research published in the journal BJM on Monday, analyzing the ratio of sexes born in a left-leaning portion of Ontario, Canada, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election can be stressful enough to impact the sex of the babies women give birth to, even in Canada.
At conception, fetuses have an equal chance of developing as male or female, and yet slightly more males survive to birth. But during adverse societal conditions, like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or economic downturns, fewer males survive to birth and the ratio skews closer to 1:1. And researchers don’t quite understand why.
While researching maternal/fetal influences on metabolism, Canadian diabetes specialist Dr. Ravi Retnakaran happened across research correlating changes in the sex ratio with tragic or stressful events.
“The day after the  election, I happened to be out in society and I noticed the atmosphere was very apprehensive. I wondered where I had seen that mood before, and it was after the Sept. 11 attacks,” said Retnakaran, who co-wrote this study.
In addition to the 9/11 attacks on the U.S, a decline in male births compared to female births was documented in peer-reviewed literature after the 2004 Madrid terrorist bombings, the 2005 London bombings, the 2011 Norway attacks and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
With the Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes in Ontario, Canada, Retnakaran hypothesized the election of a nationalist, right-leaning, potty-mouthed candidate predicted to lose by most polls might have shocked liberal-leaning women enough to impact their unborn children in a similar manner.
As researchers put it in the paper, “the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016, was perceived by most observers as a completely unexpected and stunning event, with unclear domestic and international ramifications that raised widespread societal concerns about the future.”
To put it to the test, researchers analyzed data collected by Canada’s Better Outcomes Registry & Network (BORN), a comprehensive database on pregnancies and births in the province of Ontario dating back to 2010.
The study corrected for potential seasonal influences but published its findings alongside the raw data. The differences are slim but notable. Whereas 1.043 boys were born for every girl in November 2016, that number dropped to 1.027 boys per girl in March.
There are specific windows when each sex is more at risk of being miscarried, and for males that falls between 20 and 25 weeks of gestation.
This wasn’t the biggest drop in sex ratio ever recorded, but the decline aligns with the period three to five months after the election as researchers predicted. This dip only occurred in Ontario’s liberal-leaning communities, and not in the three conservative jurisdictions recorded.
Within five months, the sex ratio at birth resumed the usual pattern.
“This imbalance at birth has been attributed to sex-specific differences in fetal vulnerability during specific time periods in pregnancy,” researchers explained in their paper.
“From the perspective of evolutionary biology, it has been suggested that, under adverse conditions, the loss of frail male fetuses may be beneficial to the species by yielding a ‘culled cohort’ of healthier males that are better able to reproduce and hence increase the likelihood of survival of the population,” researchers postulated.
The results broadly apply to the population at large and cannot be scaled to any particular individuals or experiences.
Retnakaran hesitates to give any advice to pregnant women, since no good can come from stressing over an unexpected event, and “for this type of event, you need an unexpected and shocking event, and the perception of that has to be adverse enough to cause stress.”
And regardless of who the American people decide to put in Oval Office this November, pregnant women can’t go wrong with sticking to a healthy diet of pickles and ice cream.