The sex ratio of pregnancies complicated by hospitalisation for hyperemesis gravidarum

Authors

  • Melissa A. Schiff,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
    2. Division of Public Health, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
      *: Dr M. Schiff, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Box 355960, 325 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98104-2499, USA.
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  • Susan D. Reed,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
    2. Division of Public Health, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
    3. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
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  • Janet R. Daling

    1. Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
    2. Division of Public Health, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
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*: Dr M. Schiff, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Box 355960, 325 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98104-2499, USA.

Abstract

Objective  To evaluate the sex ratio among pregnancies complicated by first trimester hyperemesis gravidarum and extend previous findings to include a measure of severity.

Design  Population-based case control study.

Setting  All non-federal hospitals in Washington State.

Population  Two thousand and one hundred and ten pregnant women hospitalised for hyperemesis gravidarum and 9783 pregnant women without hyperemesis gravidarum.

Methods  The infant sex ratio for pregnant women admitted to the hospital for hyperemesis gravidarum was evaluated using the Washington State hospital discharge database linked to the birth certificate database for years 1987–1996. Cases were pregnant women hospitalised for hyperemesis gravidarum (International Classification for Diseases—9th edition [ICD-9] diagnosis code 643) in the first trimester. Controls were women who experienced a singleton live birth and were not hospitalised for hyperemesis in Washington State during the same time period. Regression analysis with general estimating equations was used to calculate an odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) to assess the association of hyperemesis gravidarum with infant sex ratio.

Main outcome measure  Infant sex ratio.

Results  Pregnant women hospitalised for hyperemesis gravidarum in the first trimester had a 50% increased odds of having a female infant compared with controls (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.4, 1.7). Women hospitalised for three or more days had the greatest odds of having a female infant compared with control women (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.5, 2.0).

Conclusion  Hyperemesis gravidarum is associated with an increase in female live births and may be a marker for high oestrogen levels in utero.

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