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Gender of the child influences the risk of pregnancy complications
For parents-to-be it is usually not so important whether they have a girl or a boy; they are simply looking forward to their offspring. But the gender of the baby apparently has an impact on the course of pregnancy, as has now been shown in a British study.
The gender of the baby influences the mother's metabolism
According to researchers at the University of Cambridge (UK), the gender of a baby affects the metabolism of the pregnant mother. This could explain why the risks of some diseases in pregnancy vary depending on whether the mother is carrying a boy or a girl, the scientists explain in a statement from the university. The results of the study were recently published in the "JCI Insight" journal.
Different genetic profile of the placenta
The studies of more than 4,000 first mothers showed that the genetic profile of the placenta was very different, depending on whether it was a female or male baby.
One of the consequences of this was that spermine was formed in different amounts. According to the experts, this metabolic product plays an important role in cells and is also essential for the growth of some bacteria.
Female placentas had much higher levels of the spermin-producing enzyme, and mothers who were pregnant with girls had higher blood spermin concentrations than women who expected a boy.
Risk of pregnancy complications
The researchers also found that the form of sperm, which was higher in mothers with girls, could also predict the risk of pregnancy complications.
Accordingly, high values were associated with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia (colloquially known as pregnancy poisoning), which is associated with high blood pressure and kidney disease.
A low spermine level, on the other hand, was associated with the risk of growth retardation of the fetus.
According to the researchers, the observed patterns were consistent with previous work, which showed that boys are more susceptible to the effects of fetal growth restriction and that pregnancy with a girl can increase the risk of severe preeclampsia.
New predictive tests
"In pregnancy and childbirth, the gender of the baby is a priority for many parents, but we don't think about gender when it comes to the placenta," said study director Professor Gordon Smith from Cambridge University.
"This work shows that the placenta differs greatly by gender," says the expert.
"These differences change elements in the composition of the mother's blood and can even change her risk of pregnancy complications," said Professor Smith.
"A better understanding of these differences could lead to new predictive tests and possibly even new approaches to reduce the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes." (Ad)