Baby’s Sex Influences Maternal Immunity

Baby’s Sex Influences Maternal Immunity

Does the baby’s sex play any role to tell how would mother’s immunity system react? The recent scientific study has explained the link between the gender of a fetus and the mother’s chance to improve or decline her immune system.

Pregnancy itself is a good news for the mothers which add an emotional factor to their health and immunity. In the past, many cases of pregnancy and fetal studies aroused a new question that if the gender of the baby in womb plays any role to determine the immunity of the mother.

To investigate this question, the research group from Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Centre conducted a detailed research. The prime area to examine was whether or not there is any correlation between sex of the unborn baby and the immune status of the pregnant mother.

The team head was a post-doctoral researcher, Amanda Mitchell who is a student of Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Wexner Medical College, Ohio.

The research was not just a qualitative but quantitative research plan. It studied the anecdotal and scientific events suggesting the factors which may be of any importance for the research question. These factors included a glycemic index, blood pressure, cholesterol and uric acid which were all different in most of the subject matters of the research.

The women studied for this research plan were 80 in number. They belonged to early, middle and late stages of their pregnancies. This variation was to check the factors at all stages of pregnancy. Almost all of these pregnant mothers were already checked for the sex of their babies. Out of 80, 46 were pregnant with baby boys and 34 were pregnant with baby girls. No pregnant woman was reported with twins or triplets.

The research team planned to check the immune cells for the opportunistic infections.  The immune cells were exposed to common bacterial strains to check the resistance and sensitivity towards the opportunistic bacterial strains. The results were so astonishing that they were complied and later on published in Journal of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

It told that the female fetus caused a high rise in pro-inflammatory cytokines levels of the mother. There are certain cells in a person’s immune system which helps to communicate with the other cells of the body. To make this communication possible, the cells need cytokines which are basically the proteins that are secreted by the cells of immune system. In other words, they are chemical messengers of the immune system. So even if there is a risk of an infection or prevalence of an infection, these cytokines help the body to fight back against the disease. The communication between cells is carried to tell which part of the body is having an inflammation. Inflammation is the first sign of an alien attack (pathogen attack).

Mitchell and her fellow researchers examined these cytokine levels in all pregnant women which were the subject matter in this study. Cytokines are a natural part of the body and they help to identify the inflammation at the most initial stage.

The study analyzed cytokine levels in blood and the bacteria exposed cells in the laboratory. The results showed that the pregnant women with baby girls showed more serve symptoms of the bacterial illness. There was no difference in blood samples among all pregnant women, regardless of the sex of their baby.

This means that sex does play a role to enhance the immune system. The immune system of the women which were carrying baby girls in their bodies produced a high amount of inflammatory cytokines when they were tested for the bacteria. So it suggests that the inflammatory response with female fetus was more obvious and quick as that of women pregnant with a male fetus.

This increased inflammatory response is also a precursor to explaining that why most of the pregnant women have severe symptoms of preexisting medical conditions which are now clear that it’s the gender of their baby which does that.  These pre-existing medical conditions include asthma, allergies and even tooth infections which are more common in women pregnant with a girl child than a boy.

This study is very important to explain the significant reasons of pregnancy symptoms and minor medical conditions which are not common among all women. This research is a help for the women and also their doctors to recognize that it is sometimes the fetal sex which makes the immune response different for different women. For future, it can suggest the chances of getting affected by a virus, bacteria or any chronic health condition predicting the sex of the baby, in case if it still unknown.

There is need to study the subject matter in more detail that how exactly the pregnancy influences the inflammation. One of the suspected reasons behind it is the role of hormones present in the placenta. Chances are that these hormones can affect the inflammatory levels of the mother.

However, there are certain supportive functions which need to be studied more for the linkage with this particular condition. Hopefully, the time is not very much far when the details of sex-based immunological differences could have been explained with ease. This specific study has opened a new gateway for the imminent and potential researchers to widen the horizons for the possible reasons and the interlinking phenomena with this particular matter. In no time, any further addition to this subject will be a part of leading health news agencies.



The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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