Background:Male preterm infants are more likely to experience respiratory distress syndrome than females. Our objectives were to determine if sex-related differences in physiological adaptation after preterm birth increase with time after birth and if the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) reduces these differences.Methods:Unanesthetized lambs (9F, 8M) were delivered at 0.90 of term. Blood gases, metabolites, and cardiovascular and respiratory parameters were monitored in spontaneously breathing lambs for 8 h. Supplemental oxygen was administered via a face mask at 4 cmH 2 O CPAP. At 8 h, lung compliance was determined, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was analyzed for total protein and surfactant phospholipids. Surfactant protein (SP) gene expression and protein expression of SP-A and pro-SP-C were determined in lung tissue.Results:For 8 h after delivery, males had significantly lower arterial pH and higher Paco 2, and a greater percentage of males were dependent on supplemental oxygen than females. Inspiratory effort was greater and lung compliance was lower in male lambs. Total protein concentration in BALF, SP gene expression, and SP-A protein levels were not different between sexes; pro-SP-C was 24% lower in males.Conclusion:The use of CPAP did not eliminate the male disadvantage, which continues for up to 8 h after preterm birth.