Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stress leads to more baby girls?

Here is one of those facts that appears to e widely-known, but had somehow passed me by. Societal stress leads to more baby girls born, while male fetuses are spontaneously aborted.

IT HAS been known for a while that stressful conditions such as famine result in more girls being born than happens in good times. The shift in the sex-ratio is tiny—around 1%—but in a large population that is still noticeable. A possible evolutionary explanation is that daughters are likely to mate and produce grandchildren regardless of condition, whereas weedy sons may fail in the struggle to have the chance to reproduce at all. In hard times, then, daughters are a safer evolutionary bet. Regardless of why the shift happens, though, it has long been argued that the moment when it happens is conception—or, more probably, implantation. A womb exposed to stress hormones, runs the hypothesis, is less likely to accommodate a male fetus.
One wonders what the current Recession is doing to the future demographics of the nation. Will a shift in gender numbers change attitudes of the culture in general?


mrs. Bowhunter said...

There are two nice little girls in our family...hhhmm. Wonder what that says about our household? Stressful house or maybe just God's plan.

Nomad said...

Can't both be true? :-)

shadowmom1 said...

I always heard that lots of boys were born in anticipation of war times. Lots of girls were in preparation of peacetime.