Cross sectional study in China: Fetal gender has adverse perinatal outcomes in mainland China

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Background: The association between fetal gender and pregnancy outcomes has been thoroughly demonstrated in western populations. However, this association has not been thoroughly documented in China. The primary objective of the present study is to determine whether the association of adverse pregnancy and labour outcomes with male fetuses applies to the Chinese population. Methods: This cross-sectional hospital-based retrospective survey collected data from thirty-nine hospitals in 2011 in mainland China. A total of 109,722 women with singleton pregnancy who delivered after 28 weeks of gestation were included. Results: Of these pregnancies, the male-to-female sex ratio was 1.2. The rates of preterm birth (7.3% for males, 6.5% for females) and fetal macrosomia (8.3% for males, 5.1% for females) were higher for male newborns, whereas fetal growth restriction (8.0% for females, 5.4% for males) and malpresentation (4.3% for females, 3.6% for males) were more frequent among female-bearing mothers. A male fetus was associated with an increased incidence of operative vaginal delivery (1.3% for males, 1.1% for females), caesarean delivery (55.0% for males, 52.9% for females), and cephalopelvic disproportion/failure to progress (10.0% for males, 9.2% for female). Male gender was also significantly associated with lower Apgar scores (<7 at 5 min, adjusted odds ratio 1.3, 95% CI 1.0-1.6), as well as a neonatal intensive care unit admission and neonatal death, even after adjustments for confounders (adjusted odds ratio 1.3, 95% CI 1.1-1.5, adjusted odds ratio 1.4, 95% CI 1.1-1.8). Conclusion: We confirm the existence of obvious neonatal gender bias and adverse outcomes for male fetuses during pregnancy and labour in our population. Further research is required to understand the mechanisms and clinical implications of this phenomenon.




Hou, L., Wang, X., Li, G., Zou, L., Yi Chen, & Zhang, W. (2014). Cross sectional study in China: Fetal gender has adverse perinatal outcomes in mainland China. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14(1).

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