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Want a baby girl? Here’s how to conceive a girl naturally

Is there really a way you can increase your odds of seeing pink at your gender reveal?
Newborn Baby Girl Sleeping in Bowl
Hoping for a baby girl? Here are methods people swear by.katrinaelena / Getty Images stock

Before Kelley Kitley became a mom, she had a clear picture of the family she wanted — two boys and two girls. After having her first three kids, two boys and one girl, she was well on her way to her picture-perfect family. 

“As someone who has two brothers and two sisters, I desperately wanted our fourth child to be a girl,” Kitley told TODAY Parents. Her method for increasing the odds? The power of positive thinking. 

“I always practiced visualization for career, school, etc. and it worked, so I figured this wouldn’t be any different,” she said. Turns out, her visualizations did work because nine months later she delivered a healthy baby girl. 

There are plenty of old wives' tales about how to conceive a baby girl naturally, from what you eat to the time of month you conceive. But is there really a way you can increase your odds of seeing pink at your gender reveal?

“While there is no clear medical evidence for parents to conceive a certain gender, there have been anecdotal stories and believed methods that may help. From a personal perspective, as I have both a teenage daughter and teenage son, there is probably some luck that also goes into it,” said Dr. Davis Liu, a board certified family physician.

If you’re willing to press your luck and try a few other methods, here are some places to start.

Diet to conceive a baby girl

On your next trip to the grocery store, be sure to pick up some green leafy veggies and a gallon of milk, because some data suggests that a diet high in magnesium and calcium may increase your odds of conceiving a girl. 

Adding magnesium and calcium-rich foods like whole grains, salmon and plenty of fruits and veggies to your diet may not guarantee you’ll have a girl, but these healthy food options are always a good choice when you are trying to conceive. 

There’s also plenty of anecdotal stories of eating acidic foods and avoiding foods that produce alkaline to change the pH in a woman’s body to be more favorable to conceiving a girl. For this theory, load up on lemons, plums, grapes, grapefruits and blueberries and avoid bananas, potatoes and watermelon. 

Vitamins to conceive a baby girl 

It’s important to start taking prenatal vitamins that contain at least 400 mcg of folic acid when you are trying to conceive, but can other vitamins help you have a girl? The study that looked at diet also had participants take magnesium, calcium and Vitamin D supplements in addition to their prenatal vitamins. The study reported that the women who took these supplements — in addition to their diet and timing of sex — gave birth to baby girls. 

Best month to conceive a girl

If you follow the Chinese Conception Calendar system, the month you conceive could predict your baby’s sex. The tradition of using the calendar goes back some 700 years, and practitioners of Chinese astrology believe that these charts can predict the sex of your baby. 

Here’s how the calendar works. First, you’ll need to calculate your lunar age — which might be different from your actual age. Then, you’ll cross-reference your lunar age with the months in the year to see in which months you are likely to have a girl. Again, there’s no hard science behind the calendar, but many families swear by it. 

Fertile days for a baby girl

There are three popular methods for finding a woman’s most fertile days to conceive a baby girl.

The Shettles Method

Developed in the 1960 by Dr. Landrum B. Shettles, this theory is all about the timing. It's based on the notion that female-producing sperm (X-sperm) are slower swimmers than male-producing sperm (Y-sperm). However, the female-producing sperm are stronger and live longer. The Shettles Method recommends having sex two to four days before ovulation. When the egg drops, the X-sperm will be there to fertilize the egg. According to Shettles, the success rate of conceiving a girl with this method is 75 percent.

The Whelan Method

Developed by Elizabeth Whelan, this method revolves around the times when a woman’s body is more favorable to either the X-sperm or the Y-sperm based on her menstrual cycle. For a girl, a couple should have sex two or three days before ovulation or on the day of ovulation to increase their odds of having a girl. According to Whelan, the success rate of having a girl with this method is 57 percent.

The Babydust Method

This method was created by Kathryn Taylor and focuses on the  timing and frequency of sex to increase the likelihood of having a girl. For this method, a woman should track her luteinizing hormone (LH) twice a day for three months. This is done once in the morning and once in the evening and can be done with ovulation predictor kits. According to Taylor, during these three months, a woman will learn more about her cycle and will be able to determine when she ovulates. 

After the three months of tracking, couples are encouraged to have sex once two or three days before ovulation so that the male-producing sperm are no longer viable and the female-producing sperm are ready to fertilize the egg during ovulation.  

The research is inconclusive for all three methods, but many couples say these strategies for having a girl worked for them. Since most doctors recommend having sex every day or every other day around the time of a woman’s ovulation to get pregnant, following these methods may actually take you longer to get pregnant. 

The bottom line

If you choose to try any of these methods, Dr. Liu recommended talking to your doctor first. “The main goal is to have a healthy baby, which means it is key for both future parents to be healthy,” he said.  

Even if these methods don’t increase your odds of having a baby girl naturally, you still have a 50/50 chance of conceiving a little girl, and no matter the gender, those are odds we like.