A research team of the University of Nancy, France, conducted a study, which showed that giving birth to a boy could lead to higher levels of severe postnatal depression (PND) than giving birth to a girl.
The team studied 181 women in a French community where there were no cultural pressures over the sex of their baby.
AdvertisementTheir ages ranged from 19 to 40 and averaged 29. Nine per cent of the women in the study had severe PND and just over three quarters of those had given birth to boys.
The research was launched mainly to study the effect that gender had on postnatal depression PND.
'Postnatal depression can have a considerable impact on women as it can affect both their physical and mental health,' said Professor Claude de Tychey, who led the research team.
The study also showed that women who gave birth to boys were more likely to experience a poorer quality of life in the months after delivering the baby.
A validated questionnaire was used to measure the quality of life of the women in the study. It covered 36 points including health, physical functioning, physical role, bodily pain, mental health, emotional role, social functioning, vitality and general health.
A report of the study that appeared in the Journal of Clinical Nursing showed that 70 per cent of women who had given birth to a boy reported lower quality of life, whether they suffered from PND or not.
It was also discovered that being a first-time mother had no effect on quality of life scores. Women had the same general scores irrespective of whether the recent birth that was under study, was their first or second baby.
The researchers did not find proof of any reason behind this difference, and called for further research to discover it. 'This requires further research so as to better apprehend the ways in which the birth of a boy can have - on average - a more damaging effect on the mother's quality of life than the birth of a girl,' said Professor de Tychey.
However, Dr Cosmo Hallstrom, a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, was of the opinion that though the study was interesting, it required further proof to validate the findings.
'It's probably a statistical quirk,' he said.