Sex of the baby may play important role in would-be mother's immunity
Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 11 : A study reveals would-be mothers, carrying female fetuses may exhibit a heightened inflammatory response that can contribute to sickness-related symptoms, such as achiness and fatigue.According to researchers, women, over the years, have claimed that body of a mother, carrying male and female baby, react differently.
The study, published in journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, shows the sex of a baby is associated with pregnant women's immune responses.
Inflammation is a critical part of the immune response involved in wound healing and responses to viruses, bacteria and chronic illnesses and excessive inflammation is stressful to the body and can contribute to sickness-related symptoms, such as achiness and fatigue.
Researchers from the Ohio State University's wexner medical center in the US followed 80 pregnant women across the course of their pregnancy and examined whether women exhibited different levels of immune markers called cytokines based on fetal sex.
The analyses were conducted on levels of cytokines in the blood and levels produced by a sample of immune cells that were exposed to bacteria in the lab.
"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," said principal investigator of the study Amanda Mitchell.
"This means that women carrying female fetuses exhibited a heightened inflammatory response when their immune system was challenged, compared to women carrying male fetuses," Mitchell explained.
Adding, "This research helps women and their obstetricians recognise 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)."
While maternal inflammation can affect outcomes related to the fetus, like timing of birth, but more research is necessary to understand how fetal sex is associated with maternal inflammation. It's possible the sex hormones or other hormones in the placenta affect maternal inflammation levels, Mitchell said.