How to Get Pregnant with a Girl

How to Conceive a Girl

Mother with baby girl cut out dolls
Photo © Steven Errico/Getty Images

If you'd also like to see it, here's How to Have a Boy.

Trying to choose the sex of your baby, girl or boy, is a very old practice.In fact, one of the questions I'm asked most frequently is about how to get pregnant with a girl or boy. Old customs for sex selection were centered around the woman, because it was not understood that the determination of the sex of a baby really lay with the man. Though as wisdom grew, the practices changed to include men in the process of deciding, but the methods were still really out there, like tying up one testicles, believing that boys had one side, girls the other; sleeping with certain objects under the bed to influence the sex of the baby; or even medicines and poultices of odd combination including animal feces.

The desire to choose the sex was that strong.

Today's desire is just as strong. In fact some places report that up to 90% of people would choose the sex of their baby if it were easier. The biggest change in the minds of sex selection is that having a girl is a high priority in some locations now. Please keep in mind as you read these, that each one has different data, if any behind it. Some is simply folklore that is passed down, while some does have some research behind it. Before you attempt any of these methods, a discussion with your partner and your practitioner is in order. 

How Sex Selection Works

Each parent contributes half of a baby's genetic make up. The female or mother is genetically an XX, so she is only able to contribute an X to the future baby. The father of the baby is XY and can contribute either an X or a Y. This means that sperm is the deciding factor in how your baby's sex is determined.

Over 200 million sperm are ejaculated into the vagina during intercourse, a mixture of X and Y. Most likely only one will be the one to penetrate the ovum.

Shettles Method

Dr. Landrum Shettles is known for his popular book on how to use low tech ways to conceive a baby of a particular sex, but particularly baby girls.

This was true for girl or boy. The theory behind this girl getting Shettles method is that Y bearing sperm are faster but die more quickly. Therefore the goal is to stack the deck and have more X bearing sperm near the ovum at the time of conception. Following the "rules" of Shettles would mean that by the time the egg is released you have mostly the X bearing sperm left to impregnate the ovum. The basics are as follows:

  • First you must know your menstrual cycle and chart it using your basal body temperature (BBT) charts.
  • Once you have done this for a few months you can more accurately pinpoint ovulation.
  • You will begin to have unprotected intercourse after your period ends.
  • You should have sex once a day.
  • Stop having marital relations about three days before you expect ovulation.
  • For added optimism for a girl, you will want to choose sexual positions that place the sperm close to the entrance to the vagina, making the sperm have to swim further. An example would be the missionary position. (Note: If you're having trouble conceiving at all, this is not recommended.)
  • Women should avoid orgasm during sex during conception attempts, this is to prevent the vaginal environment from being more alkaline, which supposedly is not favorable to baby girls.

    Previously Shettles recommended certain douches to deal with the alkalinity issue, but has since backed off that because of the risk of infection.

    The Girl Diet

    There are some who say that what you eat will determine whether your baby is a girl or a boy. This is thought to be because the diet of the female will influence the environment that the egg develops in as well as the environment that the sperm will travel through. Here are some foods to stock in your pantry if you're trying to have a baby girl:

    • Chocolate
    • Fresh vegetables
    • Fish
    • Sweets, general

    O+12 Method for Conceiving a Girl

    This sex selection method talks about the timing of sex to occur after ovulation.

    It is only useful for girls and the creator proclaims a 90% success rate:

    Other Helpful Girl Hints

    This is a random collection of folklore that has been passed on in families and now around the Internet.

    • Have sex in the afternoon, rather than at night.
    • Woman has an orgasm first.
    • Only have marital relations on the even days of the month to have a baby girl.
    • Woman initiates sexual relations.
    • Woman on top or dominant positions during sex. (Sitting or lying down.)
    • Have sex during the full moon.
    • Use the Chinese Gender Chart to help you decide when to conceive.

    Other Forms of Sex Selection

    If you are still interested in other method of sex selection, these might be ones that are helpful to you.

    (It is important to note that many of these are based on old wives tales or loose science. Be sure to talk to your practitioner about sex selection techniques with the best chances of success should this be very important to you.)


    Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Use of reproductive technology for sex selection for nonmedical reasons. Fertil Steril. 2015 Jun;103(6):1418-22. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.03.035. Epub 2015 May 5.

    France JT, Graham FM, Gosling L, Hair PI. A prospective study of the preselection of the sex of offspring by timing intercourse relative to ovulation. Fertil Steril. 1984 Jun;41(6):894-900.

    Muhsam HV. The selection by parents of the sex of children -- feasible but not practised. Genus. 1994 Jul-Dec;50(3-4):197-203.

    Scarpa B. Bayesian Inference on Predictors of Sex of the Baby. Front Public Health. 2016 May 24;4:102. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2016.00102. eCollection 2016.

    Silverman AY, Stephens SR, Drouin MT, Zack RG, Osborne J, Ericsson SA. Female sex selection using clomiphene citrate and albumin separation of human sperm. Hum Reprod. 2002 May;17(5):1254-6.

    Shettles L, Rorvik D. How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby. Harmony. October 2006.

    Weiss R, Steinberg J. Guarantee the Sex of Your Baby. Ulysses Press. December 2006.

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