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Obstetrics - Pediatrics and Child Health - Women's Health

Sex Ratio at Birth in India, Its Relation to Birth Order, Sex of Previous Children and Use of Indigenous Medicine
Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Author: Samiksha Manchanda et al.

by Samiksha Manchanda, Bedangshu Saikia, Neeraj Gupta, Sona Chowdhary, Jacob M. Puliyel


Sex-ratio at birth in families with previous girls is worse than those with a boy. Our aim was to prospectively study in a large maternal and child unit sex-ratio against previous birth sex and use of traditional medicines for sex selection.

Main Outcome Measures

Sex-ratio among mothers in families with a previous girl and in those with a previous boy, prevalence of indigenous medicine use and sex-ratio in those using medicines for sex selection.


Overall there were 806 girls to 1000 boys. The sex-ratio was 720:1000 if there was one previous girl and 178:1000 if there were two previous girls. In second children of families with a previous boy 1017 girls were born per 1000 boys. Sex-ratio in those with one previous girl, who were taking traditional medicines for sex selection, was 928:1000.


Evidence from the second children clearly shows the sex-ratio is being manipulated by human interventions. More mothers with previous girls tend to use traditional medicines for sex selection, in their subsequent pregnancies. Those taking such medication do not seem to be helped according to expectations. They seem to rely on this method and so are less likely use more definitive methods like sex selective abortions. This is the first such prospective investigation of sex ratio in second children looked at against the sex of previous children. More studies are needed to confirm the findings.