Stressed mums could have girls

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Women who are stressed while trying for a baby could be more likely to have a girl, a new study suggests today.

But academics at The University of Sheffield say more research is needed into the findings, by experts from America and Oxford University.

In the first study of its kind, experts found high levels of the stress hormone cortisol were associated with the birth of more girls than boys.

During the study of 338 UK women, who all kept diaries relating to their stress levels, 207 became pregnant. Of the babies born, 58 were boys and 72 were girls, indicative of a “strong female excess”, the researchers said.

But Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer from the academic unit of reproductive and developmental medicine at The University of Sheffield, said more research is needed.

“We have known for a long time that some environmental factors, such as war, natural disasters and also occupation can affect the sex ratio at birth,” he said, but added: “Nature has a wonderful way of balancing everything out.”