By Sola Ogundipe
Pregnant women with high blood pressure are more likely to have a boy as scientists say those who have hypertension – caused by a diet high in salt, smoking or drinking too much – are more likely to have a boy, according to new research, while the reverse is also true.
Researchers from the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto examined whether blood pressure had a role in determining sex ratio of babies. They recruited 1,411 Chinese women who were planning to have a child in the near future.
The women were assessed both at the start and during pregnancy by measuring their blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose levels.
They found systolic blood pressure before pregnancy was higher in women who had boys.
Their findings proved to be true even after accounting for age, education, smoking and BMI.
Study author Dr Ravi Retnakaran said: ‘In humans, the sex of the foetus is determined by the sex chromosome of the fertilising sperm.
Experts warn the findings ‘could be dangerous in populations which may favour the birth of one sex over the other’
“Maternal blood pressure before pregnancy is a previously-unrecognised factor that may be associated with the likelihood of delivering a boy or girl.”
But he warned the findings ‘could be particularly problematic and potentially dangerous in populations which may favour the birth of one sex over the other.
In the study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, he warned that this could allow for mother’s blood pressure to be artificially manipulated.
Before the advent of the ultrasound which provided a definite answer, numerous old wives tales were used to guessing the sex of an unborn baby.
Some thought if a baby was carried low it would be a boy while a girl was more likely to sit higher in the womb.
Another myth was that if a wedding ring was held above the baby and began to swing in a circle it was boy whereas if it moved from side to side it would be a girl.