Pregnant Woman's Immune Response Shaped By Baby’s Sex: Study


The ambiguity over pregnant women showing varied immune responses while carrying a boy or girl has been scientifically cleared.

According to a new study, marked variations are visible in the body responses of pregnant women when carrying a male and female fetus.

Conducted by researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the study was seeking to build upon previous studies that indicated a correlation between the baby's sex and differences in pregnancy-related disturbances including escalated cravings and morning sickness.

The study has been published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.  

It makes a pitch that the sex of a baby has linkages with a woman's immune responses when she is expecting.

The Ohio University researchers studied 80 pregnant women and tracked their cytokines as indices of immunity to understand how far they are linked with the sex of the baby.

Their analysis of cytokines in the blood and comparison with those exposed to bacteria led to valid conclusions.

Inflammatory Cytokines Monitored

"While women didn't exhibit differences in blood cytokine levels based on fetal sex, we did find that the immune cells of women carrying female fetuses produced more pro-inflammatory cytokines when exposed to bacteria," said Amanda Mitchell, principal investigator of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.

A higher inflammatory response came from the mother when the female fetus had a bacterial exposure when compared with male fetuses.

Inflammation is a concrete immune response in pregnant women for curing wounds and resisting viruses and diseases during pregnancy. However, when high, it will add stress to the body and make it exhausted and painful.

The lead author said the research results will help doctors in considering the baby's sex as a factor in managing everyday immune challenges.

Mitchell added that more research is required in finding out the variation of immune function in the response of pregnant women to infections and conditions like asthma and impact on the health of the fetus.

Maternal Inflammation

The effect of maternal inflammation has been clear in many of the outcomes of the fetus including time of birth. The study asserted that more research is warranted in understanding how the sex variation of the baby is abetting inflammation in the pregnant mother.

Noting that that immune response at very high or low levels is not appropriate, Mitchell said functioning of immune systems during pregnancy can be managed better by proper exercise and regulated diet with a greater intake of leafy vegetables and relaxing activities like meditation.

Low-Dose Aspirin Can Reduce Infertility

Meanwhile, another study suggested that intake of a lower dose of aspirin on a daily basis can reduce infertility.

It claimed that aspirin can step up chances of conception for women with chronic inflammation.

The findings, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, said a low dose of aspirin would help women who had lost a pregnancy to carry a baby to the full term.

Infertility has been defined as the inability to conceive despite a year of unprotected sex. In the United States, nearly one in eight couples are affected by this.

The research conducted by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development probed the effects of low-dose aspirin on pregnancy rate, births and inflammation.

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