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Can You Influence the Sex of Your Baby?

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Research shows controversial information about whether environmental factors before conceiving can actually affect the gender of the child. Is there anything men or women can do to alter the odds of having a baby boy or girl?

Here is a little background information: men produce two types of sperm: X (female) and Y (male). According to Dr. Shettles, MD, author of How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby, male Y sperm are faster and weaker while female X sperm are stronger and slower. He mentions several concepts that may help influence the outcomes to favor the male or female sperm.

Dr. Shettles ranks timing of intercourse as the most important aspect. The closer intercourse is to ovulation (ovulation occurs around day 14 of the monthly menstruation cycle, the better your chances are of having a boy. So start counting from day one of your period, and day 14 is often ovulation for your next cycle. Shettles said this may increase your chances of having a boy because the male Y sperm are faster and can get to the egg first. If you happen to have intercourse a few days (two to three) before ovulation, the stronger and slower female X sperm will likely have a greater chance of survival until the egg is released during ovulation.

Another important aspect is the acidity level of the female vagina. A lower acidic pH will more likely favor girls because the weaker male sperm will die in the harsher acidic environment. (Normal pH of the vagina tends to be on the slightly acidic side to help prevent bacteria and urinary tract infections). Certain acidic or alkaline diets have been shown to affect this pH. Along with pH, Mark Moore, MD, author on pregnancy.org, explains how certain elements of diet may be associated with baby genders. Diets high in potassium and sodium (like meats, fish, vegetables, and bananas) may be associated with greater chances of conceiving a boy. Diets higher in calcium and magnesium (milk, beans, cereals, cheeses, and nuts) may cater to baby girls.

The depth of penetration may also affect the pH environment of the vagina. If penetration is closer to the opening of the vagina, the environment is more acidic and female sperm will be favored.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.