Your baby’s placenta, is a delicate cushion that holds your baby inside you.
It is part you, part babe.
It both separates and binds simultanesously.
It is the source of strength and the point of weakness.
When it fails……….. the consequences can be tragic. Miscarriage. Pre-eclampsia. Still birth. Prematurity. Low birth weight.
And, what it looks like………. depends on the sex of your developing baby.
Pink versus blue placenta
This is what a group of Australian researchers discovered when the probed which genes were firing on all cylinders, in a collection of placentas. The placentas came from 300 normal healthy babies and were collected at the time of delivery.
The team found that 142 genes were firing differently between the sexes.
As expected, some of the differences could be attributed to the fact that the genes were located on the girl chromosome i.e. the X chromosome or the boy chromosome i.e. the Y chromosome. But the vast majority of the differences, had absolutely nothing to do with the “sex” genes, the differences were happening on genes located on the chromosomes assembling the body.
Many of the genes showing changed gene expression, were genes involved in regulating lots of other genes, the scientific name for these is transcription factors. So the assembly of a boy baby is different from a girl baby.
Male babies are pushing the envelope
The findings explain why male babies develop faster. A male placenta is a lot more efficient.
This heightened efficiency means that male babies end up pushing the envelope. Great when everything is going well, but it also means, there is no wiggle room for shortages.
If something goes wrong – the male baby’s development is hampered.
Girl babies concentrate on the basics
The pattern of genes firing off in girl babies seem to
- ensure the placenta is well developed
- help sustain the pregnancy
- work on suppressing Mom’s immunity
The approach is slow and strategic. And it pays off….
Male babies more vulnerable
Epidemiological stats have long suggested pregnancy complications and poor health outcomes are more likely in male babies. This research hints that the placenta is at the route of some of this increased vulnerability.
Amazing isn’t it – even when they are the size of a grain of rice, boys like taking risks. It is quite literally in their genes.
Sexual inequality begins early
Boys and girls develop differently in the womb, but whether you’re expecting a boy baby or a girl baby, know that Mother Nature is following an ancient blueprint.
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