It apparently dates back to the point of birth to differentiate who can handle stress better amongst the opposite sex.
It’s been discovered that Newborn girls have a better response to stress than boys, according to new research.
What’s more, giving birth to a girl is less ‘aggressive’ for the mother than giving birth to a boy, claims the study.
Carried out by the University of Granada (UGR) in collaboration with San Cecilio Clinic Hospital (Granada), the research proved that newborn girls show a greater antioxidant defense and less oxidative stress on their cell membranes than boys, along with higher antioxidant enzymatic activity.
Oxidative stress is what happens when the body doesn’t have enough antioxidants to neutralise free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that react with other substances in the body, damaging cells or even creating new, abnormal ones.
Oxidative stress is thought to be involved in the development of various conditions including Alzheimer’s Disease and depression.
The study found mothers that give birth to girls also have a greater antioxidant defence and less damage to the main biomolecules, compared to mothers that give birth to boys.
They were also found to have a lower inflammatory response during labour.
As Julio José Herrera and Javier Díaz Castro, researchers from the department of Physiology at the UGR and main authors of this work, explain, ‘our findings open a new, exciting field of research centered on the neonate’s [newborn’s] sex as a risk factor for several functional alterations, with a great impact on their life expectancy and the development of future pathologies’.
The researchers carried out the study with a sample of 56 healthy, pregnant women.
Of those 56, 27 gave birth to boys while 29 of them gave birth to girls, all of them at San Cecilio Clinic Hospital in Granada.
Following labour, researchers took blood samples from the vein and artery in the umbilical cord and also from the baby.
These were later analysed for oxidative stress and the assessment of the inflammatory signaling.
The results showed that girls deal with oxidative stress and inflammation better than boys.
The researchers said that this is because girls possess more developed enzymatic systems when they are born.
These reduce the damage caused to the cells and improve cell metabolism.
‘Therefore, the newborn baby’s gender determines not only how the mother deals with the labour process, but also the way neonates [newborns] confront the hyperoxic [high-oxygen] environment which the extrauterine world [outside the uterus] is, which shows that the neonate’s sex is a decisive factor related to several functional alterations with a great post-labor impact for the mother, and for the baby for the rest of their life’, the authors explain.
This is thought to be the first study that highlights the affect gender has over oxidative stress in newborns.
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