STRESS in pregnancy is more likely to lead to the birth of a girl, a study found.
There is also a higher risk of premature birth among stressed mums-to-be. On average, around 105 males are born for every 100 females.
But among women experiencing physical and psychological stress, the chances of having a daughter rose to ratios of 4:9 and 2:3 respectively.
Results were compared with patterns seen after the 9/11 terror attacks when the number of newborn boys decreased.
Previous studies found males are more vulnerable to adverse prenatal environments.
Prof Catherine Monk, from New York’s Columbia University, said: “The womb is an influential first home.”
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Physically stressed mums with high blood pressure and calorie intake are also more likely to give birth prematurely.
Their foetuses had lower heart rate and movement coupling, a sign of slower central nervous system development.
Prof Monk said: “Maternal mental health matters, not only for the mother but also her future child.”
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