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Lancet. 2001 Aug 18;358(9281):560-1.

Length of gestation and birthweight in dizygotic twins.


Despite the longer gestation of girls, their birthweight is less than that of boys. Because unlike-sex twins provide a natural situation in which to investigate the influence of sex on gestation, we compared birthweight and gestation of 1929 same-sex and unlike-sex dizygotic pairs. Length of gestation in unlike-sex pairs was similar to that of female same-sex pairs, and significantly (0.4 weeks; p=0.02) longer than that of male same-sex pairs. Birthweight of girls from unlike-sex pairs was similar to that of girls from same-sex pairs, but boys from unlike-sex pairs weighed 78 g more than boys from same-sex pairs (p=0.001). These data show that in unlike-sex pairs it is the girl that prolongs gestation for her brother, resulting in a higher birthweight than that of same-sex boys.

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