Can Stress Affect the Gender of Your Baby?

Read This Before You Decide to Get Pregnant Again


A new study by American and British researchers reveals there may a link between a woman’s stress level and whether she has a boy or a girl. High stress, measured in this study by both subjective participant reports and serum cortisol levels, seemed to increase the chance of conceiving a female. The results suggest lower stress levels make it more likely you will bring home a blue bundle.

Personally, I find this fascinating, because it makes sense in my own reproduction. Madelyn – doing my residency. Serena – also doing my residency with a 6 month old at home. Lorelei – my mother was sick and the girls were 2 and 1. Charlie and Shane – in retrospect, things seemed pretty chill ten years ago at the time they were conceived. I was working part time, the girls were a little older and easier, and I had great help at home.

Scientifically, this is interesting because we know the sperm dictates the sex of the baby. Gender trends have been tracked after wars or natural disasters, indicating stress is a factor. This new study, albeit small suggests this association may be due, not just to the effect of stress on a man, but how it affects a woman. Researchers think the environment in the mother’s body may contribute to the survival and speed of all those little wiggly sperm, giving the X sperm an advantage.

Of course, this is a limited study and the results are preliminary. There is no absolute way to determine the sex of your offspring (other than in a lab.) What fun would it be if there was? But, if you are thinking pink, maybe a little stress isn’t so bad.

(Also, I can find a bunch of reports about this study, but still have not come across the actual publication. I’ll add the link as soon as I find it.)


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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine and Caribbean Travel & Life, Heather is chauffeur to 3 busy kids; the president of her Home and School Association; and VP of Marketing for TipsFromTown. And she's passionate about all 3!

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