Girl Fetuses Lungs More Developed Than Boys?

Is this true? Maybe I should be posting this on TAO but as it is birth-oriented I'm guessing here. Anyway, I am only asking this question because I am flabbergasted to hear that there is something I have never, ever heard or read (and I read a lot) about babies in the womb. Yesterday, at the baby shower for my friend I was talking to her sister in law, who is due around the same time, only a couple of weeks later. Her due date is April 24 but she is having a scheduled c-section on the 14th. I asked why is she having it early. She said, why would I wait? I'm uncomfortable. I said the first thing that popped into my head: because isn't it best for the baby to be inside you for the proper amount of time so for example the lungs are as fully developed as possible, have that vernix or whatever it's called on them? She said that girl babies lungs (she knows she's having a girl) are way more developed than boy babies--about a month ahead. This woman is a doctor so I thought she may know but I was surprised I had never heard this before. Is this commonly known and I've just been out of the loop about it? She also said, a few weeks before the due date, no problem at all for a girl baby to be born. Somehow I don't quite feel right about this info--she being a doctor I thought perhaps she's right. But if she isn't, I'd love to have some solid info because I'm beginning to worry that she is too much of an influence on my friend who I is having her first and is a bit wobbly in some areas (not bfing thankfully but co-sleeping maybe).


Answers:

It's surfactant in the lungs that they need to breathe. Vernix is what's on their skin. Girls lungs usually do mature more quickly than boys but I've never heard it put in so concrete a manner as she is. My DD had respiratory problems at birth and we were told girls usually recover from this more quickly than boys. For whatever reason girl premies have fewer breathing problems than boys do. But I don't think it's as quantifiable as she's acting. Now she's right that a baby's lungs are usually fully developed by 38 weeks and she's going 10 days early. But there are no quarantees on that issue. My DD was born the day after her due date (dates were totally certain due to a m/c just before conceiving her) and yet she still just didn't breathe at birth. Even a full-term baby might be born with immature lungs. Of course I also follow the school of thought that my baby will come when she's ready and I don't want to force her out before then because there are just too many risks.


Answers:

The dear doctor is right. There is a book called the Differences Between Males and Females. Its a book mostly on useless trivia or stuff that is funny. I got it when I was 16 and the book was old then, but anyway it laid out and even gave sources to the info. I am sure this can be found online, and its also mentioned in one of the Dr. Miriam Stoppard books.
Female fetus' have a lot of advantages over their male counterparts, not just in the fact their lungs develop more quickly. They have a better survival rate, have less birth defects, are less likely to die of sids or be stillborn, more likely to survive from premature birth, can often breathe on their own unassisted at 34 plus weeks, etc etc etc.


Answers:

Wow, how interesting. Thanks for replying. I agree though, that it is still a cavalier attitude to take toward the whole issue. Although ten days isn't long, I myself would never do this because I just would rather leave things as much in the hands of nature as possible. I can sympathize with wanting to get the baby outside of one's body of course, my own son was born a week after the due date.


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Well for me its interesting and good information to know and calculate in determining when I should have a csection. Because of a uterine anomaly, I do not go to 40 weeks, but normally deliver around 37-38 weeks by csection. With a male child, I was more willing to push the envelope, but with a female child (and this being our last child) I am less likely to do that because I feel more comfortable with a female child being born earlier.


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I agree if you had a medical reason to have a baby early certainly you could feel a bit better about it if you were having a girl but for no reason? No I wouldn't use the idea that girls generally have more mature lungs as a reason to have a c-section two weeks prior to my EDD because I was tired of being pg.


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Even with that being true my first thought is they could have the due date wrong and if the baby is really ready she will come early anyway. I say leave it up to your body and your baby. Why take the chance they have the date off by two weeks?

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