More Twin Pregnancy Complications With Boys

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There's a new study on twins .... but before I tell you any more, let me first say that this news should in no way panic moms expecting twins in which one or both babies are boys. That's the doctor who did the research himself talking, not me.

But I found this report sort of interesting in terms of the famed "boy disadvantage" we've heard about.

What's the "boy disadvantage"?

Well, it means singleton boys are more likely than girls to be born prematurely, need a cesarean delivery, or have newborn health problems. That's all well known.

And the latest study published in the nation's top gynecological journal suggests that having a male twin may also raise the odds of complications, according to Reuters.


This is what researchers gleaned from 2,704 fraternal twin pregnancies:

  • The risk of preterm delivery was highest when both twins were male and lowest when both were female.
  • The risks of certain complications, such as lower birth weight and newborn breathing problems, were higher among males and females who had shared the womb with a brother rather than a sister.
  • Babies had a slower growth rate when they had shared the womb with a brother rather than a sister.
  • Girls who had shared the womb with a brother were more likely to have neurological complications or breathing problems from underdeveloped lungs.

So what's up with the boys? Yep, testosterone. Not only do the hormones make men want to challenge each other to head-butting contests, but they also have been shown to limit lung development, for instance.

Expectant twin mamas having one or two boys need not do anything different -- there are no new recommendations for managing a twin pregnancy.

But, next up, doctors do want to look at the long-term effects of boys' mental, physical and behavioral development to see if the pre-natal issues are related in any way.

Did you find any of the above true of your boy/girl or boy/boy fraternal twins?


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