Maternal stress at pregnancy is more likely to result in girl
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.