Expecting a Boy or Girl Baby? The Answer Might Affect Pregnancy
Now, researchers have demonstrated that knowing the sex of unborn babies could provide lifelong health benefits for the mother and child.
“Often parents don’t want to know the baby’s sex because they want it to be a surprise. But actually, knowing the sex would help to identify whether pregnancy may be at greater risk than another,” said Dr. Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, who carried out the research at the University of Cambridge.
It’s time to end the tradition of waiting until the baby is born to find out whether it is a boy or a girl. But remember In India, it is still illegal to determine the gender of an unborn baby.
Boys Grow Faster Than Girls In The Womb
Researchers have found that male baby pregnancies are more likely to result in complications because they grow faster in the womb and require more nutrients and oxygen than supplied by the mother through the placenta.
The placenta is just the temporary organ that attaches to the wall of the uterus during pregnancy to help the fetus grow and develop.
Researchers are not 100% confident why it happens but it might be related to the fact that male babies grow faster within the womb. So it might be that their demands for nutrients and oxygen supplied from the mother through the placenta can easily become limited, so the male baby may not be receiving all that it wants and needs to grow to its full capacity.
It may be that its resilience against stresses or poor conditions in pregnancy may be lower than say, for females, who have got fewer requirements.
These can all also change in response to different types of cues, whether it’s in a mother that has been eating a sugary, fatty diet, or in a pregnancy where there is the rivalry between the siblings when there’s more than one baby, but what they think is probably the most novel aspect is that the way the placenta does adapt seems to depend on whether the baby’s female or male.
Treatments decided based on the gender of the baby
These findings show the importance of designing sex-specific therapies for placental insufficiency and fetal growth abnormalities, as well as personalized lifestyle interventions or therapies for pregnant women.
Scientists already know that male and female risk for diseases such as type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease is dependent on gender – males tend to have a higher incidence of both. And so, the same rule applies to gender-specific treatment in pregnancies.
Considering the gender of the fetus, other factors such as body mass index, fetal growth, and gestational weight should also be considered.
Routinely, clinicians do consider gender when they’re looking at ultrasound images because it is an important determinant of how the fetus is growing. From now onwards, the gender of a fetus should give more information to the clinician about how to manage that pregnancy.
Currently, there are very few ways to treat women with pregnancy complications other than bed rest, dietary advice, or delivering the baby early, because of the risks of drugs passing over the placenta and affecting individual organs of the fetus, which are very sensitive.
Researchers are trying to think of ways to design treatments that just go to the placenta. These therapies would increase how the placenta functions to produce energy to support fetal growth.
A lot of this groundwork is reinforcing to us that the placenta is fundamental for healthy pregnancy outcomes, and also the gender of the fetus.