New Study Finds Rich Moms Have Boys, Poor Moms Have Girls

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Babies

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Poverty may play a role in a baby's gender. Image: Richard Dunstan, sxc.hu

Ever feel like a baby's gender is just a matter of the universe flipping a giant coin? Think again: Various studies have found that gender might be dictated by environmental factors.

In January 2009, a researcher out of Newcastle University suggested that men have a gene that decides if they're going to father girls or boys. A 2007 study found that stressed out mamas are more likely to give birth to girls. And then there's the Shettles method, which claims that gender can be influenced by timing intercourse a certain way around ovulation.

The latest finding? Women who are poor are more likely to give birth to girls, but women with a higher social standing have more boys. I know, I know: Your well off sister-in-law has six girls, but you've got four boys bunking in a two-bedroom bungalow. We won't notice this influence here in America, because the gap between the rich and the poor may not be wide enough.But in places like Rwanda, where the study took place, the gap is significant. Strong mothers make strong babies, and -- according to this theory -- a strong healthy boy is a mother's best chance at her genes being passed for several more generations. On the other hand, if the mother is weak, sick or malnourished, a girl is a better gamble. Girl babies are tougher (say researchers), so they're more likely to survive and thrive.

This might partially explain why boys are revered in some cultures -- a sign of prosperity, perhaps? Or, it all might be bunk. After all, look at America's version of royalty: In 80 years, only one First Family, the Kennedys, has brought a boy to the White House.

What do you think? Is this theory a plausible one? Or does it just add fuel that old notion that boy children are preferred?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.