The etiologies of the male urogenital anomalies hypospadias and cryptorchidism remain unclear. It has been suggested that maternal diet and environmental contaminants may affect the risk of these anomalies via placental or hormonal disturbances.
We examined associations between organic food consumption during pregnancy and prevalence of hypospadias and cryptorchidism at birth.
Our study includes 35,107 women participating in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) who delivered a singleton male infant. Information about use of six groups of organically produced food (vegetables, fruit, bread/cereal, milk/dairy products, eggs, and meat) during pregnancy was collected by a food frequency questionnaire. Women who indicated that they sometimes, often, or mostly consumed organic foods in at least one of the six food groups were classified as organic food consumers in analyses. Hypospadias and cryptorchidism diagnoses were retrieved from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using multiple logistic regression.
Seventy-four male newborns were diagnosed with hypospadias (0.2%), and 151 with cryptorchidism (0.4%). Women who consumed any organic food during pregnancy were less likely to give birth to a boy with hypospadias (OR = 0.42; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.70, based on 21 exposed cases) than women who reported they never or seldom consumed organic food. Associations with specific organic foods were strongest for vegetable (OR = 0.36; 95% CI: 0.15, 0.85; 10 exposed cases) and milk/dairy (OR = 0.43; 95% CI: 0.17, 1.07; 7 exposed cases) consumption. No substantial association was observed for consumption of organic food and cryptorchidism.
Consumption of organically produced foods during pregnancy was associated with a lower prevalence of hypospadias in our study population. These findings were based on small numbers of cases and require replication in other study populations.