Can You Choose the Sex of Your Baby? The Folklore
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For hundreds of years, couples have been going to drastic measures in the hope that they will conceive a baby boy or girl. For example, in France in the 18th century, men who were desperate for a boy went so far as to tie off their left testicle. They mistakenly thought that each testicle held gender-specific sperm, with the left testicle producing female sperm.
The right sex position
Some cultures reckon that certain sexual positions will produce the baby boy or girl you want. These beliefs date back as far as ancient Greece: if a couple yearned for a son, the man would lie on his right side during sex.
The advice of Italian folklore is to have sex in the missionary position for a girl. The theory behind it is that shallower penetration will position the sperm furthest away from the cervix. This means the sperm will have to travel for longer through the acidic environment of the vagina. Interestingly, we now know that female sperm are more comfortable in these acidic conditions. Male sperm swim faster, but resilient female sperm are more likely to make it successfully to the egg.
Old wives' tales
There are countless old wives' tales that claim to help you conceive either a boy or a girl, but sadly no scientific evidence has ever concluded that any of them actually work.
Old wives' tales even go so far as to analyse your dreams. The folklore is that whatever sex of child you dream of having, you will have the opposite.
Remember that your chances of having a boy or a girl are pretty much the same, although it seems that the odds are tipped slightly in favour of boys. The Office for National Statistics has shown that for every 1,000 girls born in the UK there will be 1,052 baby boys.
In Western Europe, the statistics show that October and November are the best months for conceiving boys, and April is the best month for girls. It is thought this could be because baby boys are generally weaker than girls and so they are more vulnerable to illness. It could be that having more baby boys born in the summer is Mother Nature's way of protecting them from the cold winter months.
If you want to try and beat your odds, have a look through some of the folklore suggestions below.
If you want a baby girl:
- Put a wooden spoon under your bed and a pink ribbon under your pillow.
- You (the woman) seduce your partner.
- Have sex in the afternoon.
- Have sex on even days of the month.
- Have sex a lot. Frequent love-making lowers your partner's sperm count and so this increases the chances of female sperm reaching the egg.
- Make sure penetration is shallow, for example use the missionary position.
- Have sex 2 to 4 days before you ovulate. (Read more about the Shettles method).
- Make sure your partner reaches orgasm before you do. If you orgasm, your vagina will produce an alkaline fluid which helps male sperm survive the acidic environment.
- Get your partner kitted out in his best Lycra! Tight-fitting underwear and trousers keep his genitals warm, which favours female sperm (although be careful as this isn't good for his general fertility).
- Stock the fridge with dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Avoid salty foods. Eat rice, pasta, fresh fruit, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes. Best of all, eat chocolate!
If you want a baby boy:
- Your partner wears his socks during sex.
- You partner seduces you.
- Have sex at night.
- Have sex on odd days of the month.
- Avoid sex for the week before ovulation to keep your partner's sperm count high. Male sperm are not as resilient as female sperm and so the higher the sperm count, the better a male sperm's chance of reaching the egg first.
- Make sure penetration is deep, for example with you on top or your partner behind you.
- Have sex on the day you ovulate because male sperm are faster swimmers than female sperm and so should reach the egg first. (Read more about the Shettles method).
- Reach orgasm before your partner to release an alkaline fluid into your vagina. This helps male sperm survive the acidic environment.
- Let your partner hang loose! Loose-fitting underwear and trousers keep his genitals cool.
- Stock the fridge with red meat and fish but avoid dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Eat bananas, cabbage, lettuce and carrots. Make sure you have a good breakfast every day, eating cereal regularly.