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Baby’s Gender Influences Neonatal Care, Study

New research from Vietnam shows that girls to a greater extent than boys are delivered at home, without qualified midwives or access to emergency surgery.

| November 27, 2012 | Health

AsianScientist (Nov. 27, 2012) – Female babies are more likely than male babies to be delivered at home, without qualified midwives or access to emergency surgery, according to new research from Vietnam.

The study, based in Quang Ninh province of Vietnam, was published in the journal Gender Medicine.

A significantly larger proportion of girls than boys do not get access to hospital delivery, notes the collaborative study conducted by researchers at Uppsala University and Vietnam-Sweden General Hospital in Sweden, and the Ministry of Health in Vietnam.

Families expecting boys tend to opt for Cesarean sections at hospitals, and the fetus’ sex is a determining factor when choosing the place of delivery, says the lead author of the study, Mats Målqvist.

The statistic used is Sex Ratio at Birth, SRB, which is the number of boys per 100 girls born. SRB is normally between 103 and 107 boys per 100 girls, since there are more boys born than girls naturally. In India, China, and countries in Southeast Asia, however, it is not uncommon to find a clearly elevated SRB; for instance in China values of up to 122/100 have been reported.

In Vietnam, although the SRB at 109/100 was only slightly above the normal level, 94 boys per 100 girls were delivered at home, whereas 113 boys per 100 girls were delivered at a district-level hospital.

An elective C-section surgery (Cesarean) was performed on mothers expecting boys in hospitals, whereas girls were delivered at home by untrained midwives without proper medical facilities.

A widespread notion that Cesarean sections are safer and better for the child, and common belief that certain times are better for giving birth than others, drives this development according to the researchers.

However, gender discrimination goes both ways, the researchers say, as mothers of boys are to a higher degree subjected to unnecessary surgery.

The article can be found at: Hoa DTP et al. (2012) Sex of Newborns Associated With Place and Mode of Delivery: A Population-Based Study in Northern Vietnam.

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Source: Uppsala University; Photo: Funky Shapes/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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