Having boys could shorten a mother’s lifespan as they put more strain on their mother’s body during pregnancy, suggests a study. The study found that son producing women lived about 8.5 months less as compared to the women, who gave birth to female child.
Many people are convinced that a male child may shorten life expectancy of his mother and so the present study can be seen as another add to this continuing conception. The study also found that the effect was felt with mothers regardless of wealth or social status.
The research confirmed no affect on the father’s lifespan irrespective of the gender of his offspring, which points towards presence of some biological reason of the aforementioned proposition.
The researchers, led by Dr Samuli Helle of the University of Turku in Finland examined the post-reproductive survival of more than 11,000 mothers in pre-industrial Finland from parish records kept by the Lutheran Church.
The subjects of this case were born in eight different Finnish parishes, in between 17th to 20th centuries. And the society, from where these mothers hailed was an agriculture dominated society, which did not have access to modern birth-control or medical care, suggesting about the accuracy of the study.
Chief Researcher Dr Helle said that a mother who had six sons would live for a further 32.4 years on average after the birth of her last child, while a woman who had daughters could expect to die 33.1 years following her last pregnancy. He mentioned that it is the biological reason which actually decides lifespan of the mother during pregnancy. A male child demands more biological cost as compared to a girl.
The research also anticipated social and cultural reasons for the difference, as mothers usually get help from a girl child in household works. But according to Hell this may not be true in case of British mothers as family sizes are too small and nutrition and medical care have improved greatly, but it can be the probable reason up to some extent for the mothers in the developing countries.
According to some other theory women expecting boys have more testosterone, which weakens the immune system. Again, male children grow faster in the womb and are usually heavier to carry, which brings more strain to the mother.
The findings of the research were published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.