27/08

So you have morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum: Are you having a girl or a boy?

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I have morning sickness! Am I having a girl or boy?

The smell of eggs makes you sick to your stomach. Every one is giving you their best advice on how to avoid morning sickness (mostly ginger ale and crackers, or maybe small meals, or even lollipops). Maybe it’s like the worst hangover ever, every single day. And vomiting is an frequent occurrence. Does this mean you are pregnant with a baby girl?

First, did you know the sex ratio, defined as number of boys born vs. number of girls is 107:100 worldwide?

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So, for every 207 births, 107 are boys and 100 are girls. In the United States, the probability of birth is 51% male and 49% female. So, pregnant women statistically stand a slightly greater chance of having a boy vice a girl (no morning sickness taken into account).

But, does the onset and severity of morning sickness give you any clues as to whether you personally are having a girl or a boy? It’s estimated that 85% of pregnant women experience morning sickness, defined as nausea in pregnancy that typically occurs during the first few months. So we assume most women experience some form of morning sickness.
Since it’s hard to narrow down typical morning sickness to a expected birth result, we can assume that most women will fall under the trend of 51% male, 49% female if you are dealing with/dealt with standard morning sickness.

However, the onset of severe morning sickness, or, hyperemesis gravidarum, provides more research towards an expected birth result. Its easier in this respect – these women were hospitalized at some point in their pregnancy and were tracked following their deliveries.
Lets look at the evidence regarding hyperemesis gravidarum and sex of child:

1. A study by the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington published in the BJOG found that HG is associated with an increase in female births. The study examined 2110 pregnant women hospitalized for HG and 9783 women without HG. Pregnant women hospitalized for HG in the first trimester had a 50% increased odds of having a female compared with controls. Women hospitalized for three or more days had the greatest odds of having a baby girl.

2. A study published in the Lancet, a well-respected British medical journal, reported a female predominance among the offspring of mothers with HG. In fact, they showed that 55·7% of babies whose mothers were admitted for hyperemesis gravidarum in the first trimester were female.

3. Another study in the Epidemiology Journal found that pregnant women diagnosed with HG in the first trimester give birth to a higher proportion of females than all other mothers, regardless of whether they are hospitalized. The study found a decreased proportion of male fetuses among women who developed hyperemesis gravidarum in the first trimester of pregnancy; this decrease was unrelated to age or severity of hyperemesis gravidarum.
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4. A further study, again published in BJOG found that severe HG, noted by ketonuria (the excretion of abnormally large amounts of ketone bodies in the urine, characteristic of severe HG and starvation) and high urea, resulted in an astonishing 83% of female offspring. This study involved 166 Asian women hospitalized for HG.

5. Another study, completed in Sweden, found that among the general population 51% girls and 49% boys. From the mothers with hyperemesis gravidarum, 56% of births were girls, and 44% boys.

6. Finally, a study published by the Journal of Obstretics and Gynecology concluded the following: women presenting with HG are more likely to have a female fetus and that women with HG and a female fetus tend to a higher level of ketonuria and an increased number of hospital admissions.

In our personal very non-scientific study, we polled 147 moms who experienced morning sickness and 71 who were hospitalized for severe morning sickness. We’ll call the first group the “morning sickness group” and the second the “HG group.”

Group Name Morning Sickness Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Boy 78 (53%) 32 (45%)
Girl 69 (47%) 39 (55%)

The results for HG fall in line with studies referenced above. Take it with a grain of salt, it was an email survey 🙂

So, our conclusion is as follows:

If you are dealing with morning sickness but not hyperememsis gravidarum, you are slightly more likely to deliver a boy (51% to 49%)

If you’ve been diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, research shows that you have an increased likelihood of delivering a girl.

Would love to hear your personal stories in the comments section!

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