Here is another study that sorts the girls from boys. Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia have found that, faced with issues like a mother smoking, drinking alcohol, suffering from asthma or having an infection, girls appear more resilient and better able to cope with multiple events before birth.

But the news isn’t all bad for boys, with the research also showing they do better than girls if the mother only faces a single stress, like asthma, or a single infection.

“Basically, what we see, when mum has a stressful event during pregnancy, is that boys make themselves as big as they possibly can and ignore what is happening in mum’s body,” Associate Professor Vicki Clifton told reporters.

“Girls make themselves just a little bit smaller and that means that they have a greater chance of surviving if something else goes wrong in the pregnancy.

“With boys, if something else goes wrong, they are more at risk of delivering pre-term or, in the worst case scenario, being stillborn.”

“So in the uterus girls do cope better with stresses than boys.

“Girls are lean and mean and they’re survivors.”

Early preparation for the demands of motherhood, no doubt.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet