There are countless wives tales that exist surrounding pregnancy. While some of them have a glimmer of merit, many are silly games to add some excitement to the predictions women make about their baby. Some women try tricks to predict the sex of their baby, such as testing the color of their urine or forecasting the gender based on acne patterns. It’s fun to make such predictions, but most are completely unrelated to the physiology of your birth. However, a recent study shows that there’s a very simple way to help you predict whether or not you might experience preterm labor. If you had a baby boy as your first child, there is a higher chance that you’ll deliver your baby preterm the second time.

This is by no means a strict fact, but the study explored the possibility and found that women who had a baby boy the first time consistently had a higher chance of preterm birth. This could be because of the hormones that are produced during a male pregnancy. There is a higher level of estrogen production in a male birth, so the uterus could be permanently affected by this change.

There are multiple risks associated with preterm birth. If born too early, your baby may not have fully developed in the womb, so he or she could have some cognitive or physical issues associated with this stunted development. While you cannot necessarily delay your baby’s birth, you should try to take extra precaution if your first-born was a boy. Preterm birth has been associated with smoking, so you should especially avoid cigarettes so as not to increase your chances. Similarly, women who gain too much excess weight during their pregnancy often give birth preterm, so make sure you eat a healthy diet and exercise if your first baby was a boy. That way, your chances might be high, but they will be as low as possible given the situation.

If you’ve already given birth to a boy and you’re expecting, don’t panic. Every pregnancy is different, and you might be the minority of any statistic. Near the end of your pregnancy, make sure you get frequent check ups to see that everything is on schedule. However, it’s good to be prepared, so if you’re in this situation, you might as well pack your overnight bag a week or two before your predicted due date, just in case.

Source: Laust Mortenson et al: Sex of the First-born and Risk of Preterm Birth in the Subsequent Pregnancy. Epidemiology Volume 22 Issue 3 May 2011

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