Ma­ter­nal stress at preg­nancy is more likely to re­sult in girl

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Henry Bod­kin sci­ence Cor­re­spon­dent

WOMEN who feel stressed around the time they be­come preg­nant are more likely to have a girl than a boy, re­search has shown.

Would-be moth­ers who feel over­whelmed or de­pressed are at greater risk of suf­fer­ing a mis­car­riage if they are hav­ing a boy, sci­en­tists at Columbia Uni­ver­sity in New York have found.

They noted that the boy-to-girl ra­tio in 187 women who were phys­i­cally stressed was 4:9, and 2:3 in women who were psy­cho­log­i­cally stressed.

This is com­pared with a 105:100 boy­girl ra­tio across the whole pop­u­la­tion.

The study ap­pears to ex­plain long­stand­ing trends show­ing a rise in the birth of girls fol­low­ing na­tional trau­mas, such as 9/11 or earth­quakes.

Re­searchers say male foe­tuses take longer to com­plete their early de­vel­op­ment, leav­ing them more vul­ner­a­ble to sub­op­ti­mal con­di­tions in the womb.

Prof Cather­ine Monk said the study, pub­lished in the jour­nal of the Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Academy of Sci­ences, gives women “an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity” to man­age their stress.

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