It turns out there is a way to predict the nature of your pregnancy—if only arbitrarily. According to new research published in Health Day, women carrying baby boys are more likely to experience pregnancy complications than those carrying baby girls. The researchers from the Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide in Australia analyzed more than half a million Australian births—574,000, to be exact—between 1981 and 2011.
Birth complications can include gestational diabetes, preeclampsia (a serious high blood pressure condition), and premature childbirth, according to the researchers. Compared to baby girls, boys are 27 percent more likely to be born prematurely between 20 and 24 weeks' gestation, and 17 percent more likely at 34 to 36 weeks. What's more, women carrying boys were four percent more likely to experience gestational diabetes, and 7.5 percent more likely to have preeclampsia, according to the new findings.
"The sex of the baby has a direct association with pregnancy complications," said lead author of the study Dr. Petra Verburg, as reported by Health Day. While the reasons behind this finding aren't entirely clear, Verburg suspects that "there are likely to be genetic factors" at play. If anything, Verburg believes this study emphasizes the importance of prenatal care at the beginning of pregnancy, when there is "still a window of opportunity for a woman to reduce her risks for pregnancy complications."
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