Stressed mums-to-be are most likely to have a baby girl
If you want a boy, you might need to relax more...
Will you have a baby boy or girl? It’s the age-old question that has blurred the lines of fact and fiction for generations. Bet you’ve heard the myth of you’ll get a baby girl if the baby bump is carrying high. Others say it’s related to what you crave to eat, or whether you’re having wild mood swings. But what if we tell you that experiencing emotional stress during pregnancy increased the likelihood of you having a girl?
Well, a study from the Department of Public Health at Oxford University says women who suffer from long-term stress conceived girls. The study also found that women with short-term anxieties are more likely to have trouble getting pregnant. So it seems emotional stress during pregnancy does affect the result!
Emotional stress during pregnancy could affect your baby’s sex
The study analysed 338 women from Britain who were trying to conceive. They each kept a daily journal about their lifestyles and sex lives.
The research also recorded the levels of two hormones, cortisol and alpha-amylase in the women. Cortisol is related to long-term stress, like work, health worries and money. Alpha-amylase levels, on the other hand, increases when adrenaline rises such as after a fight.
One hundred and thirty women eventually gave birth, resulting in 58 boys and 72 girls.
The results found that women with high cortisol levels had a 75% lower chance to have a boy, and 69% lower in those with the second highest levels. The study also showed women who had higher levels of short-term stress and adrenaline had more difficulty getting pregnant.
Theory of “emotional stress during pregnancy” needs to be tested in larger studies
Dr Cecilia Pyper, from the Department of Public Health at Oxford University, recognised that it’s the first study of its kind and it is small. The hypothesis needs to be tested in a much larger study to ascertain the link between stress and pregnancy.
She says the study is important to identify how to make pregnancies and babies as healthy as possible, and how parents can improve their chances of having a healthy baby.
Already mums know not to smoke and to check if they are immune to rubella. So if this study is confirmed by larger studies, women can also be advised about how important it is to reduce stress.
Dr Allan Pacey, fertility expert and Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield feels the results of the study doesn’t confirm that stress will result in baby girls for sure. He stresses that there are plenty of other factors involved, and there is no way to 100% influence the sex of a baby. In his view, parents should be happy whether the baby is a boy or girl, and we can’t disagree with that.
7 ways to manage emotional stress during pregnancy
It feels like only yesterday you were having fun doing whatever you wanted. But right now, you’re stuck with your little one crying her eyes out and wondering what happened to your life.
Bringing new life into the world can be a shock to your system, but we’re here to help. Try these 7 summarised guidelines from WebMD to keep your mind at ease and start to feel normal again:
1. Draw up a parental plan
If you’re the type to stay organised, sit with hubby to discuss baby-related issues. Talk about who will crawl out of bed at night for the baby, or how will either of you feel about letting the baby cry. When you’re both on the same page, everything will start falling into place.
2. Be flexible
Even though there’s a solid plan in place, a baby means you will need to make room for changes. Parents need to adapt a lot to a baby’s first year. The two of you need to work as a team to respond and adapt to your baby’s issues – it can be life-changing, in a good way.
3. Write stuff down
Keep a list on your baby’s sleeping, feeding and crying habits – it can be useful to whoever taking care of your baby. Also, write down to-do lists, but only important things that relate to your family’s health and safety are considered important. Try to outsource other things like cleaning the house or do your grocery shopping online. Don’t be shy to order meal delivery for the first month or longer.
4. Keep the relationship alive
The backbone of a strong new family is the relationship you share with your husband. Get some TLC when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Set dates every week, dress up and have fun together. One good ground rule is you two can only talk about the baby for ten minutes.
5. Don’t be a superwoman
Don’t take on all the responsibility or you’ll wind up exhausted. Speak up and let go some of the work, like rotating night duty with your spouse. Don’t feel guilty about leaving the pile of dishes in the sink – it’s not like your baby understands anyway.
6. Exercise with baby
We’re not saying you should do vigorous exercises during the pregnancy, but you should keep active throughout the pregnancy. But what is more important is the first year of parenthood. It is physically and emotionally demanding, so the focus should be on nurturing yourself and baby, not about getting back into shape. So start slow with pelvic or isometric exercises while you cook or abdominal contractions when you nurse. If you’re up for it, how about stretch or squats when you’re putting on your baby’s diapers. Maybe go for a walk with hubby and baby before dinner or take the baby for swimming lessons (4 months and above).
7. Think of the bigger picture
Yes, the experience is stressful, but this phase will pass faster than you expect. You can do it!