Smoking During Pregnancy Cuts Chances of Having a Boy

Apr 10, 2008
Parents' smoking habits can reduce their chances of conceiving a baby boy by almost half, scientists say.

The study conducted by paediatricians at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine implied that smokers are less likely to have a boy. Besides, smoking during pregnancy may prevent male embryo implanting in the womb and may become a cause for miscarriage.

The data on 9,000 women who gave birth at Liverpool Women's Hospital between 1998 and 2003 showed that the proportion of female birth was dramatically higher among parents who smoke. Mothers who smoked during pregnancy had one-third less chances to have a boy, while in case the father also smoked this possibility reduced by almost half.

It was also found that passive smoking can also increase the likelihood of conceiving a girl. The non-smoking mothers, who are exposed to smoking from their partners are less likely to have a boy.

Scientists explain that nicotine contained in cigarettes is known to affect sperm. Sperm carrying male chromosomes is more sensitive to cigarette smoke than sperm cells carrying female chromosome. It is also suggested that smoking contributes to changes in mother's cervix and reduces oestrogen level.

Smoking during pregnancy has a negative effect on health of both a woman and her unborn baby. Previous studies showed that smoking can lead to the birth of low-weight baby, which is a result of poor fetal growth and increase women's chances of having a preterm delivery. Such problems may lead to several health problems such as lifelong disabilities and even death.

Secondhand smoking is also very harmful for woman's health and those women who are regularly exposed to cigarette smoke may face the same problems as mothers who smoke.