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Baby boys vs baby girls Part I: Survival and what gender has to do with it

babyboysgirlsgenderwithit2.jpgWhen it comes to mortality rates among newborn babies, it seems that gender has a lot to do with it.

A recent study shows that baby boys are more likely to die than baby girls in industrialized countries like Europe, Canada, the United States, Japan and Australia. In 1970s, boys had about a 30 percent higher chance than girls to die before they reach their 1st birthday. Recently, however, the gap has narrowed down to 20 percent. This improvement in survival rates is most likely due to medical practices that helped more infant boys survive, including more Cesarean sections and intensive care units for premature babies.

So why are baby boys at a disadvantage compared to girls?

? Boys have 60 percent more likelihood than girls to be born prematurely.
? Boys have higher chances of having neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, a condition that makes it difficult for a baby to breathe. This syndrome can occur in premature babies whose lungs have not yet fully developed.
? Boys also face a higher risk of injury and death during term delivery because they tend to have larger bodies and bigger heads

Reading this report and the statistics therein made me realize how lucky I am. My twin boys were born prematurely and spent 2 weeks in a neonatal station for low birth weights and respiratory problems. It seems like a miracle that they are now very healthy almost 5-year olds?

Sources:

MSNBC 24 March 2008Drevenstedt et al. The rise and fall of excess male infant mortality. Proceedings National Academy of Sciences April 1, 2008 vol. 105(13)5016-5021.


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