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Birth of boys more problematic than girls: Study

London, April 1 -- A difficult labour often presages the birth of a boy, which also comes with a bigger package of associated risks than the birth of a girl, say the authors of a new study.

In a study of 66,000 births, Marek Glezerman, obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Tel Aviv University (TAU) School of Medicine, with Yariv Yogev and Nir Melamed, found that while females were at a higher risk of restricted growth in the uterus, risks associated with male foetuses were more common.

"Pregnancies with a male foetus are more often complicated," said Glezerman. "They're more likely to result in a premature rupture of the embryonic sac and suffer from premature delivery.

"And those male foetuses which make it to term are more likely to suffer from excessive growth in the uterus, making delivery more difficult and leading to more caesarean section deliveries."

In a study presented to the Israel Society for Gender Based Medicine, researchers concluded that male foetuses come with "a higher association of risks", but noted that the findings should be viewed in the proper light.

"Boys are riskier to an extent," said Glezerman, but pregnancies involving boys should not be classified as "high-risk" for that reason alone. "It's only one factor for doctors to consider when looking at the whole picture," he said.

"But in general, boys are more vulnerable in their life in utero, and this vulnerability continues to exist throughout their lives," said Glezerman, an expert in gender-based medicine.

"Men are known to have a shorter lifespan, are more susceptible to infections, and have less chance of withstanding disease than women. In short, men are the weaker sex."

This new evidence, Glezerman noted, confirms the old wives' tale that boy foetuses are more troublesome in the womb and the delivery room, said a TAU release.

"This research not only confirms an old wives' tale, but adds to what we know about the male gender. Males are also associated with higher risk in the neonatal period after birth, and are more likely to expose themselves to risky behaviour later in life," he added.

copyright 2009 by IANS.

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