So some new research notes that babies respond to stress in the womb differently depending on gender. I think this...
So some new research notes that babies respond to stress in the womb differently depending on gender. I think this is fascinating!

According to research being carried out by the Robinson Institute's Pregnancy and Development Group, the gender of your baby may determine the way he or she responds to stressors during pregnancy and his or her ability to survive pregnancy complications. Really interesting right!? Key points: Male and female babies show different growth and development patterns after being exposed to stressors during pregnancy. Stressors include things like disease, cigarette, alcohol and drug use or psychological stress. Baby boys in the womb, when stressed, seem to pretend the stressor is not not happening and keeps growing, so he can be as big as possible. Baby girls in the womb, when stressed are more likely to reduce her growth rate a little bit. This growth rate has not been shown to be too restricted, but growth does drop below average. THEN - when another stressor pops up during the same pregnancy - either a different stress or the same one again - the female does better, continuing to grow at a slower, but still good rate but a baby boy will do worse. When boys are exposed to additional stressors they don't cope as well and may stop growing or even die in the uterus. Associate Professor Clifton who championed the research says that gender-specific growth responses like this, "Have been observed in pregnancies complicated by asthma, preeclampsia and cigarette use but was also likely to occur in other stressful events during pregnancy such as psychological stress." The researchers are guessing that changes in placental function caused by the stress hormone cortisol is resulting in the baby responses. What this research means to you: Of course it's smart to avoid stressors during pregnancy. You can't avoid everything, but you can certainly avoid drugs and alcohol and get plenty of rest. Later, research in this area may lead to sex-specific therapies in pre-term pregnancies and premature newborns. It's weird because this study mimics what you often see among adults of different genders. Females I know do tend to flip with one stressor but do react better when stress piles up. Male adults I know go along okay so long as mostly everything is cool, but as soon as stressors pile up they freak. Weird. It's not across the board 100%, but it is what I see.

Tags: baby girl baby stress mama stress stress in pregnancy stressed baby


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