Dr. Amos Grunebaum, OB-GYN, is the man I turn to when I need advice on anything related to conception, pregnancy, or delivery. He is a specialist in high-risk pregnancies (maternal-fetal medicine) with over 30 years of experience in his field. You can read his full bio here. Dr. Grunebaum’s incredibly informative website, BabyMed, is a one-stop fertility and pregnancy resource center with advanced technology designed to help you get pregnant faster and healthier. I’ve asked Dr. G to give us tips on how to conceive a boy or how to get pregnant with a girl; read on to find out more, including one method that had an 81% success rate!
Many couples trying to get pregnant want to know if it’s possible to improve their chances of having a baby boy or girl especially when they have had several babies of the same gender and now want some variety. There are no foolproof ways to guarantee the sex of your baby, but why not try?
Here are the basics (consider this a Biology 101 refresher, with more info here from BabyMed): The sperm determines whether your baby will be a boy or girl. When the sperm fertilizes the egg, the baby’s gender is determined by whether the 23rd chromosome on the sperm is an X or a Y. Approximately 50% of the sperm will have an X-chromosome, and 50% will have a Y-chromosome. X-sperms make a girl and Y-sperms make a boy.
Since X and Y sperm have slight behavioral differences, couples can take steps to increase the odds that either the X or Y sperm gets the fertilization job done first. Specifically, X-sperms are slower but heartier in the cervical environment than their speedy but quick-to-die Y-sperms. If you make the sperms wait a few days before they meet the egg, then chances are there will be more X sperms up to the task of fertilizing. On the other hand, if you make it easy for the sperm to reach the egg, then the faster Y-sperms will have a better shot at winning the fertilization race.
Here are some methods that have been suggested, most notably in the Shettles Method, a long-standing theory named for Dr. Landrum Shettles:
Timing of Sex
According to Dr. Shettles, you can improve your chances of having a boy by making love only the day of ovulation, while making love 3-4 days before ovulation (but not the day of ovulation and the 2 days before) may increase your chances having a girl.
It is possible to conceive a boy or girl in any position you may choose, but deep penetration is ideal if you want to have a boy because it makes it easier for the male sperm to reach the egg. Choose those positions that allow for shallow penetration if you’re hoping to conceive a girl.
Boxers or Briefs?
If you want to conceive a boy, it is thought to be helpful if your partner keeps his testicles cool and unrestricted by tight underwear and pants. Want a girl? Go for the opposite: more restrictive undergarments may be helpful.
Female Orgasm and Conception
We all know that men must have an orgasm in order to procreate, but what about women? It is said that if a woman has an orgasm when getting pregnant, it’s more likely to be a boy. Research is beginning to indicate that when a woman has an orgasm the contractions of the uterus may be beneficial in helping the Y-sperm move into the womb. This works best when the woman has an orgasm at the same time as, or soon after, her partner. This may take some practice!
Eat for a girl
The most recent study focused on the ideal diet and timing of intercourse to conceive a girl. The diet was started 9 weeks before planned conception and lasted until a pregnancy home test provided proof of pregnancy. The diet was high in magnesium, calcium and vitamin D, but restricted potassium and sodium. The bulk of the calcium and magnesium came from approximately 500 grams per day of dairy products, or the equivalent of 17 ounces. For a frame of reference, one serving of milk is 8 ounces, cheese is 1 ½ ounces, and 1 egg is 1 ¾ ounces. This was further supplemented by 400-600 mg of magnesium, 500-700 mg of calcium and 5-7.5 micrograms of vitamin D, depending on the initial amount of these minerals found in the woman’s blood. Potatoes, which are high in potassium, were severely limited and additive salt was eliminated.
The results were fairly astounding: of the thirty two women in the study who combined the prescribed maternal diet with timing of intercourse, 81% of them conceived a female baby!
The pre-selection diet will entail a few months of strict diet adherence and willpower for many women. But as research suggests, if your gender preferences match up with your taste preferences, your chances of conceiving your desired gender may be easier than you think!