Why Learning the Sex of Your Baby Sooner Could Lead to a Healthier Pregnancy

We love gender reveal parties, but this study claims knowing your baby’s gender could result in a healthier little one and a healthier you.

By: Amanda Mushro
Overhead view of Asian pregnant woman holding a pair of blue and pink baby shoes in front of her belly. Expecting a new life, mother-to-be, gender reveal concept

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Overhead view of Asian pregnant woman holding a pair of blue and pink baby shoes in front of her belly. Expecting a new life, mother-to-be, gender reveal concept

Photo by: AsiaVision

AsiaVision

When it comes to finding out your baby’s gender, many parents are divided. While some parents want to know the gender as early as possible to start decorating the nursery or buying clothes, others don’t want a gender reveal party because they want the ultimate surprise to happen on the day their baby is born. However, a new study suggests that knowing your baby’s gender has more to do with their health and less to do with planning nursery decor.

According to the study, knowing the gender of your baby could lead to a healthier child and a healthier mom. Researchers say that boy babies tend to have more pregnancy complications than girls because they grow faster and need more nutrients and oxygen from the placenta. If male babies are growing faster, the placenta may become limited and the baby doesn't receive everything they need.

Knowing if the baby is a boy or a girl can give doctors key pieces of information and allow them to be more aware of any problems that may arise during the pregnancy. It could also lead to doctors performing more specific tests and treatments.

"We’re now building more and more evidence of what to measure in the mum in pregnancy like her starting body mass index, her growth, her gestational weight, but also considering fetal sex," says Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, a researcher on the study. "Routinely, clinicians do consider sex when they’re looking at ultrasound images, because sex is an important determinant of how the fetus is growing."

Finding out the baby’s gender is an option for parents, but researchers on the study say they’re hopeful parents will see the benefits of an early gender reveal. Women pregnant with boys may be asked to adopt different lifestyle changes while pregnant to ensure a healthier baby.

"We’ve not really understood before how that might be determined; how that might be interacting with the environment of the mother or the way in which the pregnancy is occurring," says Sferruzzi-Perri. "So our studies are giving more information to the clinician to provide more informed decisions about how to manage that pregnancy."

It’s estimated that one in ten pregnancies will have health complications, but if they are caught early, many are treatable. "Often parents don’t want to know the baby’s sex because they want it to be a surprise. But actually knowing the sex would help to identify whether a pregnancy may be at greater risk than another because we know that some conditions of pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia and fetal growth restriction can be more prevalent in women that carry male babies than females."

Researchers also noted that males have a higher rate of type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life. Their plan is to continue the research to see if these health conditions are connected to their growth while in the womb and the health of their mother’s placenta.

So, not only could this research lead to healthier babies now, but also healthier adults in the future. While more research is needed on this issue, it’s a step in the right direction for parents, babies, and doctors.

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