Having a Girl? Your Immune System Might Take a Hit

A recent study found an interesting link between a baby's sex and his or her mother's immune system. But should you put much stock in these findings?

Sex of Baby and Mother's Health Aleksei Adzhem/EyeEm/Getty Images
While experts are skeptical about whether your baby's sex can affect your cravings or how high you're carrying, recent research suggests women who are carrying daughters might experience one thing their boy-carrying counterparts may not.

Researchers from the Ohio State University Wexler Medical Center studied 80 women to determine whether a baby's sex could have an effect on his or her mother's immune reactions to bacteria, and they found something surprising: Women who were carrying girls appeared to experience greater inflammatory responses when exposed to bacteria. 

What does this mean, exactly? Their findings suggest women who are pregnant with girls appeared to have more proinflammatory cytokines, which are proteins found in the immune cells, and they might struggle with illnesses more. Proinflammatory cytokines can lead to fatigue or achiness.

“What the findings showed is that women carrying girls exhibited greater inflammatory responses when faced with some sort of immune challenge compared to women carrying boys,” said study lead author Amanda Mitchell, according to a release for the study. “This could mean that inflammation may play a role in why some women who are carrying girls have more severe reactions to illnesses, making symptoms of conditions like asthma worse for them during pregnancy.”

But let's not forget that this study only surveyed 80 women—could the results be based on coincidence as opposed to a true link? There's no real way of knowing yet, and we suspect the subject will be given more attention now that researchers have found reason to explore it.

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