The Baby's Gender May Affect The Pregnant Woman's Immune System

Admin | Published 2017-02-13 01:51
Researchers from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center conducted a study on how the baby's gender affects pregnant women. According to the study, there may be a link between the baby's sex and the mom's immune responses. In the study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, experts followed 80 pregnant women across the course of their pregnancy. They monitored the women's different levels of immune markers called cytokines based on fetal sex. Prior to the tests, levels of cytokines in the blood and levels produced by a sample of immune cells were conducted, then were exposed to bacteria in the lab.

Increased inflammation is observed among women carrying female fetuses (c) Scary Mommy

“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. This means that women carrying female fetuses exhibited a heightened inflammatory response when their immune system was challenged, compared to women carrying male fetuses,” Amanda Mitchell, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and principal investigator of the study said in a statement. The results mean, the increase of inflammation observed among women carrying female fetuses could play a role in why women tend to experience worse symptoms of some medical conditions, such as asthma, when carrying a female versus a male fetus.
“This research helps women and their obstetricians recognize that fetal sex is one factor that may impact how a woman’s body responds to everyday immune challenges and can lead to further research into how differences in immune function may affect how a women responds to different viruses, infections or chronic health conditions (such as asthma), including whether these responses affect the health of the fetus,” Mitchell said. Though other factors, like the timing of the birth, can cause variation in the results, it may also possible that the sex hormones or other hormones in the placenta affect the maternal inflammation levels. “It’s important to think about supporting healthy immune function, which doesn’t necessarily mean boosting it – it’s problematic to have too little or too great of an immune response. That being said, research has shown that exercise supports healthy immune functioning, as does eating some foods, like leafy greens, and relaxing with activities like meditation. Of course, it’s always important to check with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your routine or diet,” she said.
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