Women who are stressed in their home, work or love lives in the months or weeks before conceiving are more likely to give birth to baby girls, a new study by Oxford University and US researchers suggests.
During the study, 338 women from around the UK who were trying to conceive (TTC) kept diaries and filled in questionnaires about the stresses in their lives. The levels of their stress hormones were also measured in the months before pregnancy.
The results of 130 women were “indicative of a strong female excess”, with 58 boys and 72 girls born to the group. The most stressed women were found to be 75% less likely to give birth to sons.
The gender of a baby is determined by the chromosomes in the dad’s sperm and is decided at conception, so more studies will be needed to prove that stress levels can affect a baby’s gender.
“It is important to put this new information into context by recognising it is a very small study and although it is the first time that research suggests that preconception stress may cause a difference in foetal sex, this hypothesis needs to be tested in other larger studies to confirm or refute this observation,” said Dr Cecilia Pyper from the Department of Public Health at Oxford University.
Were you stressed before falling pregnant – and if so, did you have a boy or girl?
Read on for more gender-determining stories…