Do you have your heart set on having a boy? Looking for a way to stack the odds in your favor? Heard that changing your diet may help?
There’s no proven evidence for a special diet to conceive a boy — or, for that matter, to conceive a girl. According to the Mayo Clinic, “There’s not much the average couple can do to affect a baby’s sex.”
But there are some proponents who believe otherwise. Here, we take a look at the theories and their evidence — or lack thereof.
“Sex” and “gender” are evolving terms. In this article, biological sex refers to a baby’s X and Y chromosomes, with XX determining female and XY determining male.
Although there’s no clinical proof that changing your diet can help you conceive a boy, there are many supporters of traditional and natural remedies that feel it can. One of the most popular suggestions supported by anecdotal information is to make your body more alkaline.
This unproven remedy suggests that people with a more alkaline (high pH) “environment” are more likely to conceive a boy. This method recommends:
- increasing intake of fresh fruits and vegetables
- increasing intake of foods that contain potassium, such as bananas, salmon, avocados
- increasing foods with high alkalinity, such as citrus fruits, root vegetables, nuts
- avoiding dairy products
While there’s no evidence backing this theory, there’s rarely any harm in adding fresh fruits and veggies to your diet!
If you want to conceive a girl, on the other hand, this theory suggests increasing your body’s acidity.
A 2008 study of 740 women concluded there was a higher probability of having a male baby when the mother increased her calorie intake and ate breakfast cereals. Researchers hypothesized that this may be because higher blood glucose levels favor having a boy.
However, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) suggests the conclusions of this study include inaccuracies that make it “ill advised” to suggest that increasing a woman’s caloric intake and eating breakfast cereals could increase chances of having a boy.
Different folks have different opinions about having a boy or girl. For some parents, it’s about balancing out their family with boy children and girl children. According to a 2011 Gallup poll, the most popular reasons for wanting a boy include:
- men can relate to males better and have more in common (23 percent)
- boys can carry on the family name (20 percent)
- boys are easier to raise (17 percent)
With reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF), you might have high-tech options such as sperm sorting and preimplantation genetic screening to improve your chances of having a boy. Sex selection done this way is much more common now than it was just a few years ago, when Chrissy Teigen and John Legend did it.
However, this practice has a wide range of ethical, religious, legal, and social implications and is considered controversial. If you’re doing IVF and have this option, keep in mind that it’s not necessarily a purely medical decision.
Planning on getting pregnant? You might have heard that certain diets can impact fertility.
There have been studies about the relationship of diet to fertility, but they lack the details to be of real use to people trying to conceive. For example, there’s positive fertility impact of vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, omega-fatty acid, and vitamin B12, but it’s not always clear how much of these supplements to take.
It’s good for both men and women to eat a healthy diet whether they’re trying to get pregnant or not. Prenatal vitamins (with vitamin B12 and folic acid) are already routinely recommended for people trying to conceive.
This desire to have a baby of a specific sex is often met with suggestions that haven’t been clinically proven, such as changing your diet one way to increase your chance of having a girl or another way to have a boy. However, there’s no scientific evidence that this works.
If you’re focused on having a boy, talk to your doctor about your hopes. They may have a suggestion or two and, importantly, they’ll have advice and recommendations on helping you have a healthy, happy baby, whether it turns out to be a boy or a girl.