After having two boys, I was hopeful that the next time I got pregnant, it would be with a girl! I always wanted three children but knew that the odds were that after having 2 of the same sex, the third was more likely than not to also be the same sex.
Technically, the odds are 47.7% of having a girl after two boys. So, it’s not that lopsided. Still, I went into trying for our third child with the mentality ‘it’s going to be a boy and how lucky am I to have three children’ and ‘if it’s a girl, how fun! Let the shopping begin.’
Those odds however didn’t stop me from asking friends with 2 boys and then a girl if they did anything different when trying to get pregnant. I also researched using Dr Google how potentially I could influence the odds of having a girl vs a boy. There are 6 figure and up businesses based on helping families select or choose the sex of their babies or at least The Babydust Method touts itself as one.
With odds that are literally 2.3% points away from being 50/50, did I really have a shot at influencing this?! But also, why not give some of the suggestions/recommendations I found a try if they are harmless???
Well… spoiler alert.
First off, I acknowledge this again is likely just 50/50 and we got lucky. There are multiple books about this topic. I did not read these books because as a parent to 2 young children, who is self employed, I did not have time to read a full book about something that probably is just a 50/50 lottery. I did attempt to do some of the things that were running themes throughout the books or at least what I read about them online.
The Shettles Method
Like most things on the internet, you can find arguments for and against this method. “The Shettles Method is a child conception idea that is reputed to help determine a baby’s sex. It was developed by Landrum B. Shettles in the 1960s and was publicized in the book How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby, coauthored by Shettles and David Rorvik.”
The Shettles Method claims to have an 80% success rate. It is based on the timing of sex, position, pH of body fluids and ovulation. If you want to attempt to use this method, you will need to regularly track ovulation, have a regular cycle and a partner who doesn’t travel a ton…
What I took from the Shettles theory is that he believed that male sperm tend to swim more quickly and female sperm tend to survive longer.
So according to this method, to have a boy, you should have sex on the day of ovulation or 2-3 days before. I believed Connor was the result of an ovulation day of baby. To conceive a girl, you should have sex up until 3 days before ovulation, so like between 3-6 days before ovulation.
Critics argue this is too far away from when the egg is released to even get pregnant since most sperm allegedly don’t last that long. Different sites say they last from only a few days to up to 7 so again… conflicting arguments all over. The average answer is 3-5 days.
There’s a lot about pH level and your diet. It has diet recommendations but that seemed like a lot work on my part to remember and take grocery shopping. I honestly didn’t have time for it. The book is $14 on Amazon if you’re interested in reading more but I did not buy it because I don’t have time to read a book on this topic. While I wanted a girl, it wasn’t worth $14 or the time it would take me to read. There are enough free resources like this blog post to get the gist.
*If you are struggling to conceive, do not know when you ovulate or have an irregular period, this is not the method for you! It will decrease your chances of getting pregnant if you are trying for a girl.*
The Babydust Method
This is a newer book that alleges that it reveals the “flaws in the Shettles method, O+12, egg polarity, pH, and acidic/alkaline/ion diets, and offers a brand new approach involving a combination of precise timing and frequency that has been proven to work based on several published clinical studies.” Again, a lot of fancy talk but basically similarly wants you to track your cycle to time sex and ovulation. It ALSO has you taking test strips 2 times a day for 3 months before you start trying! So if you’re in a time crunch or want to just go with the flow, this ain’t the method for you either.
The Babydust Method has women chart their luteinizing hormone (which surges around 24 hours before ovulation) twice per day for at least three months before trying to conceive – of course the Babydust Method sells these strips… the goal is to collect data and help women recognize the patterns in their cycle. “The morning test is the most important because you’ve been holding your urine the longest,” Taylor writes in her book. “The second test should be done in the evening before you go to bed. Testing at least twice a day is critical, because if you only test once a day, you may detect and record your LH surge much later than it actually occurred, or even worse, you could miss your surge completely.”
Again I did not have time for this or desire to buy all these LH strips. However, the theme between the two methods was 3 days before ovulation for a girl! For a boy it’s every other day up to ovulation.
Again, there was a lot about diet in this book. As someone who works in the health and fitness industry primarily, I struggle with any diet and this was no less.
The Babydust Method does have a Facebook group that is free to join, no book or tests required. They claim to have a 94% success rate!
I used Ovia, a free app to start tracking my cycle when it finally came back after I stopped nursing Connor at the end of the summer last year. With Intermittent Fasting, it shortened to just 28 days but was VERY regular. I was able to track it for about 3 -4 months before we were ready to start trying. I get a pain in one of my ovaries when I ovulate so I thought I could intuitively track that ovulation. I did try LH strips for a couple months but did not do them morning and night, just afternoons. In fact the cycle I got pregnant, they never showed a surge at all which is why I was super shocked I got pregnant. I thought all the stress/change from March to April with Corona took a toll on my body.
Every book spoke about diet and it was very complex and layered, and how one sex preferred acidic vs another more alkaline and it just got to be too much. If you just google, “diet to conceive a girl” 4.6 million results come up! For a girl, here were my take aways that I actually implemented:
- I upped my calcium by starting to take calcium supplements (chews from Target to be exact, random brand) and ate more yogurt.
- I ate less meat, more tofu and vegetarian entrees (during quarantine this was easy and partially unintentional… hello pasta and beans, lol)
- I also attempted to eat low sodium so I stopped adding salt to meals and also stopped eating bananas. Can’t remember why but bananas, oranges, watermelon and potatoes were to be avoided.
So I started doing all these things for about 2 months but when the pandemic got bad at the end of March, I kinda stopped making them any sort of priority. We decided to put our plans on hold for baby #3. Looking back, I think I still kinda ate this way not paying attention.
So what worked?
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was in shock and my first thought was that, “It must be a girl” due to timing (4-5 days before ovulation) but who knows!? Maybe the *slight* changes in my diet effected it as well. However, most people locally who I know that are having a quarantine baby due in January or February are also having girls! It’s crazy. Of course 100% of us aren’t having girls but when I was expecting T and C, it felt like everyone was having boys and now it’s the opposite.
Side note on gender/sex preference
When I was younger, if I was mentioned on a snarky website I would read it but as I’ve gotten older, I can’t! It doesn’t do any good and just makes me upset and anxious. I can’t even defend myself against these people who don’t know me and often times, things are taken WAY out of context. I do from time to time check in on these boards to see what’s pissing people off so I can be better at my job by avoiding them. I can’t look at my own thread and I’m not allowed to comment for some reason to defend people but I check in.
There are currently a number of bloggers (Peanut Butter Fingers, Liz Adams, Mrs Nipple and more) right now pregnant with our third with two boys already, and for some reason, these snarky people are wishing some another boy like they’d be super disappointed if they were to have another boy but also making it seem forbidden to admit we might want a girl. How dare people have a preference!?
I don’t get it… As a female, why is it a bad thing to want to have a mother/daughter relationship like I have with my mom with my own child? My daughter likely is not going to be super girly, she’s probably going to want to play sports like I did, especially with two older brothers, and if she wants to do more girly things like dance, I’ll let her try those too, and if she’s into science or animals, awesome! And after watching Little Fires Everywhere, I’m pretty terrified of mother/daughter relationships now.
Edited to add: A few people messaged me on Instagram to voice their very real “gender disappointment” and that this method did not work for them. A few suggested that it’s important to be careful what is said around children who may not be the sex the parent desired due to a lifetime of feeling unwanted. This makes me so sad to think about for children. If I were having a third boy, I know I wouldn’t love him any less but to those of you in the position it’s OK to also mourn the loss of not having a relationship you once thought you’d have. I am a liberal lady so yes, I’m aware of the possibilities of everything these days and will meet them with open arms.
Anyone who goes into having a third knows that you don’t “Go for the girl” or vice versa. Someone joking said to me, “So you went for third boy?” I genuinely thought it was funny. I was expecting blue to shoot out of that smoke cannon. I’m still in disbelief and having not been to a doctor since early July, part of me is nervous that it’s still not a reality and that she somehow stopped growing weeks ago undetected by my body.
The point of this post is to share what I did to conceive a girl, not judge others. My parents read my blog and I’m still awkward around them about this topic so I apologize if it’s vague… If I had gotten a boy, I would have shared this post and said, well, it didn’t work, lol! Guess it really is 50/50!
Did you try any of these methods? Share your own story below.
I am a girl after two boys, and I love the story of how my parents were so happy to want a girl and cried when they found out I was going to be me. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting the chance to parent boys and girls.
Emily T says
I am also a girl after 2 boys and my mom said she had to wait to get pregnant until she was ready to have 3 boys. She wanted a girl so badly. I think it’s a sweet story! I’m not sure why people think it’s any of their business and why it would make you a bad person to want a girl but to also love a boy just as much. We tried the Shettles method with both kids and we got what we planned for. Boy then girl. Who knows if it actually worked. Congrats again! (My girl is way more chill than my boy)
I’m hoping for ANY chill lol.
So do you know what your cut off was/how many days before ovulation? Or do you think the main thing is diet? Mom of two boys here 🙂
I think ovulation -- 3-5 days before
So you only had sex 3-5 days before projected ovulation and then didn’t again until after ovulation? Thanks for posting this!
Thanks Sarah! I’ve been following you since I was at university and in two months I’ll be going off contraception. I’m really hoping we’ll be able to conceive. I’ll love the child regardless but it would be nice for one of our children to be a girl
I feel like that method may be accurate. I say this because- it was like the one time ever that we did it during my period, gross I know, but we conceived a boy. I remember thinking back, like what was it that we did differently and all I could remember was having sex during the period. (Our first son we conceived via IVF so the second one was a happy surprise!)
Congratulations on your good news!
Amber Nash says
Oh my gosh, congratulations!!!
Congratulations on the girl! I just had my second boy in June! I thought both of them were girls lol but the second time I was devastated! I wasn’t expecting the disappointment it just hit me. I’m afraid to try for a 3rd because I don’t want to feel that disappointment again. I need to be ready for a 3rd boy, but I desperately want a girl. Thanks for your article and research it was very helpful and gave me some hope!
Have you tried again? Did you try any methods? We’re considering a third and I’d like a girl but following everyone’s progress to see if it’s worth doing something different.
Thank you for sharing your experience! I’m also very much aware that changes are 50-50, however after having 1 boy I would like to try this time for a girl. If it will be a boy (if we are lucky enough to get pregnant again), then at least I can think ‘I’ve tried’.
Apologised for asking, but did you try 3-5 days before ovulation 1x or multiple times? Reading the internet there are different thoughts about that…