The Role of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Gestation and Pregnancy Outcomes

Nutrients. 2023 Nov 3;15(21):4657. doi: 10.3390/nu15214657.


Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are exogenous substances widely disseminated both in the environment and in daily-life products which can interfere with the regulation and function of the endocrine system. These substances have gradually entered the food chain, being frequently found in human blood and urine samples. This becomes a particularly serious issue when they reach vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, whose hormones are more unstable and vulnerable to EDCs. The proper formation and activity of the placenta, and therefore embryonic development, may get seriously affected by the presence of these chemicals, augmenting the risk of several pregnancy complications, including intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes mellitus, among others. Additionally, some of them also exert a detrimental impact on fertility, thus hindering the reproductive process from the beginning. In several cases, EDCs even induce cross-generational effects, inherited by future generations through epigenetic mechanisms. These are the reasons why a proper understanding of the reproductive and gestational alterations derived from these substances is needed, along with efforts to establish regulations and preventive measures in order to avoid exposition (especially during this particular stage of life).

Keywords: advanced maternal age; bisphenols; complications; endocrine disrupting chemical; fertility; gestation; maternal-fetal health; pesticides; phthalates; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes, Gestational*
  • Endocrine Disruptors* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Premature Birth*


  • Endocrine Disruptors

Grants and funding

This research was funded by the Plan Propio de Investigación de la Universidad de Granada of Spain (grant number PP2022.PP-07).