Different growth patterns for male and female babies during pregnancy stresses

I just read a very interesting article that stated that recent research suggests that male and female babies will respond differently to stresses the mother undergoes during pregnancy.  The article has me absolutely fascinated and looking at my children and husband for evidence of them doing the same thing since birth.

Dr. Vicki Clifton the leader of the study at the Robinson Institute’s Pregnancy and Development Group, based at the Lyell McEwin Hospital said that baby boys who are introduced to stresses such as maternal smoking, or disease and possibly other stresses during pregnancy will basically ignore stress and continue growing as big as possible until a second stress comes along and then they are at a higher risk (than their female counterparts) for death, preterm delivery, and not continuing to grow.

Girls on the other hand will respond to the initial stress and something in the placenta alters at this time, the girl will slow her growth rate down, as if in preparation for a second stress, then if the second stress happens she has already prepared for it and has less of a chance for preterm birth, death or growth restriction.

Now is when I stop following the article and just throw out my random thoughts… What if we all actually still handle things this way?

In my family my daughter breaks down at the slightest thing, but then when something truly horrible happens she is perfectly fine and dandy happy as a lark and presses on.  My sons, are different, they act as though they do not hear me, they go about what ever they are attempting to do as if I am not there, not watching, or don’t care, until they are pressed harder to do what they are told, at which point the whole world must be ending.

In my personal health, for whatever reason if I am sick or injured I press on, and press on, and press on… pain is currently collected in my neck and was so bad this morning that I thought I had contracted a virus or something because of a sudden onset of nausea and a hot flash so bad I was dripping sweat… after the nausea decreased I was fine and though still in pain I have done whatever I set my mind to do, adjusting little things so I don’t hurt myself further.

If it were my husband, or even my father who I observed during the same situation I know without a doubt they would stop everything and just lay in bed until the pain was gone, waiting for their bodies to do what they were meant to do and get better.  Not taking any chances that they could aggravate the injury further, but resting and taking care of themselves (which often means that the women near them are taking care of them while they rest).

I don’t for a moment believe one way is better than the other, I am often jealous that I can’t just drop everything and just rest and take care of myself, like my husband, but on the other hand I’m incredibly irritated when I’m the healthy one and he isn’t doing anything, as if he might die or something (my overly dramatized version of why someone might sit around and do absolutely nothing).

Back to the babies…

female infants in utero seem a little dramatic at first, slowing everything down and adjusting things in preparation for another disaster.

male infants in utero seem to think the world just experienced a little glitch and no preparation for the future is required…

Women (at least in my family) seem to do the same as their infant counterparts, slowing down a bit, but not stopping…

Little girls (in my family) seem pretty well the same, overly dramatic but prepared for the future.

Men (in my family) seem to skip the first step (unless it is a very very minor one) that infant males in utero have taken, and just go straight to the world is ending scenario.

Little boys (in my family) still seem to behave as if nothing is happening at the first incidence, but the second is an all out world ending break down.

This is all very vague and not an absolute in any way shape or form, just an observation about my own family… what about yours?  I’m interested to hear how the men/boys and women/girls react to stresses.

If you want to check out the actual study please do so by clicking here.


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