Researchers analyzed over half a million births in Australia to which they concluded that the gender of the baby can be directly associated with the health of the mother and the child. Doctor Petra Verburg from the Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide in Australia said that pregnancy complications and a baby’s sex are directly proportional. Baby boys stand a higher chance of being born earlier, opening avenues for health problems in their infant life. Similarly, women pregnant with boys had bigger risk of suffering from gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) and serious high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia) when about to deliver.

Relation of baby boys and pregnancy complications

Verburg said that the researchers are yet to clearly point out why this is so but explained that genes are more likely to be responsible.
Dr. Querube Santana-Rivas, a neonatologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami applauded the findings saying that they ring true. She did not take part in the study but said that she has had a personal experience on that.
The results are in agreement with previous studies. Health experts potentially try to explain this using the placenta. They cite that the placenta of a baby boy is different from that of girls.

Role of the placenta in pregnancy

The placenta is an organ that links the mother to the child for nutrients and waste exchange and also nourishment of the foetus. It plays the crucial role of ensuring that pregnancy becomes a success by producing appropriate hormones. Technically, it is for the baby and thus its genetic composition is in comparison to that of the baby.
Claire Roberts’ team, the study co-author and researcher from Robinson Research Institute, analyzed previous research on normal pregnancies. They found out that the 142 genes in the placenta were expressed in varying manner. The team then concluded that pregnancy complications will arise depending on how the placenta develops and works.

How the study was conducted

The new study involved Roberts, Verburg and their colleagues evaluating more than 574,000 births in Australia between 1981 and 2011. They made a comparison of the boys and girls in which the boys were found to have 24 percent higher risk for birth from 30 to 33 weeks; 27 percent greater odds of preterm birth from 20 to 24 weeks’ gestation and 17 percent early delivery.
In addition, women carrying boys had 4 percent higher chances to suffer from gestational diabetes and 7.5 percent higher risk with pre-eclampsia.
One thing about this research is that it did not give the causes of the gender differences but only exposed them. Roberts was quick to note that mothers should not be alarmed by the findings, no matter the baby’s sex. He gave a general advice to pregnant women with boys and girls saying that maintaining a healthy lifestyle before conceiving is crucial.
Santana-Rivas was in agreement saying that the message the women should carry home from this study is awareness of the risk factors. The researchers concluded by saying that prenatal programs may vary in the future depending on new findings.