Does Your Baby’s Sex Play a Role in Pregnancy Symptoms?

“Women have claimed for years that their bodies react differently whether they’re pregnant with a male or female baby. Now evidence, published in the February issue of the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, shows the sex of a baby is associated with pregnant women’s immune responses.”

Researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center followed 80 pregnant women across the course of their pregnancy and examined whether women exhibited different levels of immune markers called cytokines based on fetal sex. Research found that “women carrying female fetuses exhibited a heightened inflammatory response when their immune system was challenged, compared to women carrying male fetuses.” This means women having a girl experience excessive inflammation that can be stressful to the body and can contribute to sickness-related symptoms, such as achiness and fatigue.

“It’s important to think about supporting healthy immune function, which doesn’t necessarily mean boosting it — it’s problematic to have too little or too great of an immune response. That being said, research has shown that exercise supports healthy immune functioning, as does eating some foods, like leafy greens, and relaxing with activities like meditation.”

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Materials provided by Ohio State University Wexner Medical CenterNote: Content may be edited for style and length.