Mum’s diet may influence baby’s sex

What you eat when trying to conceive or in the early part of your pregnancy does influence your unborn baby’s sex and health, research suggests.

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If you’re having full breakfasts and a high fat diet at the time you conceive, scientists think you’ve got a greater chance of having a boy. A low fat diet with longer spells of not eating means your chances of having a girl are higher instead.

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Researchers looked at the genes in the placentas of pregnant mice. The mice were fed either high-fat or high-carbohydrate diets, low calorie diets, or a more normal diet for mice. The researchers found that, as well as changes in the babies’ sex, female foetuses were more sensitive to mum’s eating habits and their genes were more likely to be affected or altered.

“High calorie diets generally favour birth of males over females, whereas low calorie diets tend to favour females over males,” said the University of Missouri’s Dr Cheryl Rosenfeld and colleagues.

A study two years ago suggested a woman’s diet around the time she conceived might have some influence on her baby’s sex. A high-calorie diet and regular breakfasts increased the chances of a baby boy. Lower calorie diets meant a baby girl was more likely.

A mum-to-be’s diet or body condition also seems to be associated to boys’ and girls’ different risks of disease later in life, reports the Telegraph.

“The reason why a maternal high fat, low carbohydrate diet favours survival of sons and a maternal low fat, high carbohydrate diet results in more daughters continues to elude us,” Telegraph quotes the researchers as having said.

“The effect was such that the more women ate the more likely she was to have a boy.

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“Women who had sons were also more likely to have eaten a higher quantity and wider range of nutrients including potassium, calcium and vitamins C, E and B12. They were also more likely to have eaten breakfast cereals.”

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