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Baby Boys are More Likely to Experience Life-Threatening Pregnancy Complication than Girls, New Study Shows

Jul 13, 2016 03:05 AM EDT
Newborn Baby
A new study shows that baby boys are at higher risk of life-threatening pregnancy complication and can even increase the risk of their mothers developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
(Photo : China Photos/Getty Images)

A new study revealed that baby boys are at much more risk in potentially life-threatening pregnancy complications than girls.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that boys are more likely to be born spontaneously pre-term. Additionally, mothers carrying boys are at more risk of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy and suffer from gestational diabetes.

Our results indicate there may be a need for specific interventions tailored to male and female babies, to prevent adverse outcomes for both child and mother. We're investigating other factors that may predict pregnancy complications, taking fetal sex into account," said Dr Petra Verburg of the University of Groningen and lead author of the study, in a statement.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 574,000 South Australian births from 1981 to 2001.

After analyzing the data from the 30-year study, the researchers found out that baby boys show a 27% higher risk for a pre-term birth between 20-24 weeks' gestation, 24% higher risk for a pre-term birth between 30-33 weeks and 17% higher risk for pre-term birth between 34-36 weeks.

Spontaneous birth was defined as birth without any pharmacological, surgical or other intervention undertaken to stimulate the onset of labor, while Iatrogenic preterm birth was defined as preterm induction of birth and/or caesarean section due to other pregnancy morbidities, mainly preeclampsia or intrauterine growth restriction

Furthermore, mothers carrying a baby boy were four percent more likely to develop gestational diabetes and 7.5 percent more likely to suffer preeclampsia at term. However, mothers carrying baby girls have a 22% higher risk for early onset preeclampsia requiring a pre-term delivery.

Previous research conducted by the researchers tackled about the sex differences in the expression of 142 genes in the placenta from normal pregnancies. The researchers believe that placenta is critical in pregnancy success and differences in placental function could explain the different outcomes for newborn boys, girls and their mother.

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