You know you have a 50/50 chance of having a boy or girl when you decide you’re ready to have kids, but did you know that there are actually a couple of natural methods to increase your odds of having one over the other? Here are a few methods you can try that have been around for generations. (Remember, there’s still a 50/50 chance you won’t get that precious pink bundle you’ve been hoping for; there’s no guarantee using these methods.)
Shettles This is probably the most well-known method for attempting to choose your child’s gender. In the 1970s Dr. Landrum Shettles introduced his theory (in his book How to Choose the Sex of your Baby) which involved trying specific sexual positions and timing intercourse to a woman’s cycle.
Shettles says that if you want to have a boy, don’t have intercourse for four or five days prior to ovulation. Instead, it’s best to have sex as close to ovulation as possible; the Y-chromosome (male sperm) are faster, smaller and have a better chance of getting to the egg before the X-chromosome (female sperm).
Read more: Are you having enough sex?>
Other ways to increase your odds of having a boy, according to Shettles: • Try a position that allows for deep penetration. Shettles says that the closer the sperm is to the cervix the better (this way “boy” sperm are more likely to reach the cervix before they die—they have shorter life-spans than the “girl” sperm). The cervical fluid right around the cervix is also ideal for Y-chromosome sperm.
• Dads-to-be should wear loose-fitting underwear and pants because tight clothing can can kill sperm and the Y-chromosome sperm die quicker than the the X-chromosome sperm.
• Moms-to-be should have an orgasm because the secretions caused by orgasms are less acidic and more Y-chromosome-sperm-friendly.
To increase your odds of having a girl, according to Shettles: • Don’t have sex on the day you ovulate. Instead, have intercourse two to three days before ovulation then abstain until a couple days after. Shettles says that having sex before ovulation will increase the chances that the X-chromosome sperm will be waiting to fertilize the egg when it’s released.
• Try a position that allows for shallow penetration (such as missionary or other positions that will leave sperm farther away from the cervix).
• Moms-to-be shouldn’t have an orgasm because the secretions caused by orgasms are less acidic, which benefts the “boy” sperm.
How effective is it? Shettles and followers claim there’s a 75 percent success rate using this method.
Whelan Also based on timing intercourse to your cycle, Whelan believes the opposite of Shettles. Dr. Elizabeth Whelan says that there are changes in our body’s chemicals that favour Y-chromosome sperm earlier in your cycle and X-chromosome sperm later.
To increase your chances of having a boy, Whelan says you should have sex four to six days before ovulation (and before your basal body temperature rises).
To increase your chances of having a girl, she says you should abstain until two to three days before ovulation.
How effective is it? Whelan claimed there was about a 68 percent success rate for boys and a 56 percent success rate for girls.
Chinese gender predictor This one’s been around for hundreds of years. They believe that comparing the mother’s age at the time of conception and the month of conception will predict what you’ll have. (Don’t paint baby’s room pink just yet—this chart works 50 percent of the time.)
Old wives' tales Wondering what other methods are floating around? Here are a few worth noting (but not necessarily worth trying!)
Trying for a boy? • Eat as many salty foods as you want • Load up on red meat • Have intercourse standing up • Have intercourse on odd-numbered days • Have intercourse during a full moon
Trying for a girl? • Eat sweets, sweets and more sweets • Eat lots of fish and veggies • Mom-to-be should orgasm before dad • Have intercourse on even-numbered days • Have intercourse when the moon is a quarter full
Originally published in June 2010.
Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners