Study: Baby’s Sex Plays a Role in Pregnant Women’s Immunity

Women pregnant with girls have more severe symptoms of some health conditions

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Melissa Fox says the allergies she thought she’d outgrown flared back up while pregnant with her daughter. And, a study at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that could be because women carrying girls have a greater inflammatory response to immune challenges than those carrying boys.

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Most pregnant women have heard theories and old wives tales about the differences between carrying a girl and a boy. Some say you can tell what a woman will have, simply based on the foods she craves or the way she looks.

    But a new study, conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, has found some science behind the speculations. Researchers followed 80 women through pregnancy, exposing their immune cells to bacteria in the lab, and noticed some significant differences.

    “What the findings showed is that women carrying girls exhibited greater inflammatory responses when faced with some sort of immune challenge compared to women carrying boys,” said Amanda Mitchell, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher in the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “This could mean that inflammation may play a role in why some women who are carrying girls have more severe reactions to illnesses, making symptoms of conditions like asthma worse for them during pregnancy.”

    Scientists found that immune cell samples of women carrying girls produced more proteins called proinflammatory cytokines than those carrying boys, which is part of the inflammatory response. “Too many of these cytokines or too much inflammation can really be unhelpful for our bodies’ functioning,” Mitchell said. “It can create or contribute to symptoms like fatigue or achiness.”

    So, there’s now some evidence behind the notion that women carrying girls may be more likely to have a harder time with illnesses during pregnancy than if they were carrying a boy.

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Melissa Fox says the allergies she thought she’d outgrown flared back up while pregnant with her daughter. And, a study at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that could be because women carrying girls have a greater inflammatory response to immune challenges than those carrying boys.

Melissa Fox noticed her allergies suddenly flared up while pregnant with her daughter, which didn’t happen with her son. A new study suggests that might not be a coincidence. Researchers found women tend to react with stronger responses to immune challenges while pregnant with girls than with boys.

Researcher Amanda Mitchell led a study at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center that found pregnant women have a greater inflammatory response to immune challenges if they’re carrying girls compared to boys. The response could help us understand why some women experience greater symptoms of asthma or allergies when carrying girls versus boys.

A new study at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that inflammation may play a role in why some pregnant women have more severe reactions to viruses, infections or chronic illnesses, like asthma, while carrying girls versus boys.