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Mom's Diet May Influence Her Baby's Sex

Study Shows Women Who Eat Breakfast Cereals Give Birth to More Boys
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Fewer Calories, Fewer Boys continued...

Of those who reported eating breakfast cereal every day, 59% gave birth to boys compared with 43% of women who reported rarely or never eating cereal for breakfast, says Mathews.

In addition to consuming more calories prior to conception, women who gave birth to boys were also more likely to have eaten higher-quality diets with a wider range of nutrients, including potassium.

If nutrition does affect fetal sex selection, Mathews says it is not clear whether it is calories or nutrients that makes the difference.

What the mothers ate during pregnancy did not seem to influence the sex of their babies.

"The mothers who had boys took in about 300 milligrams more of potassium and about 180 more calories a day than the mothers of girls," she says. "That is the equivalent of a large banana."

The Importance of Breakfast

So should a woman who wants her next child to be a girl skip breakfast and limit calories?

Absolutely not, says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman and registered dietitian Elisa Zied.

Breakfast foods, especially breakfast cereals, are among the best dietary sources of folic acid, a nutrient that is critical during conception and early pregnancy for preventing birth defects.

"Whole-grain cereals are loaded with folic acid, and so are oranges and orange juice," she says. "If you skip breakfast, you could easily not get enough."

She adds that eating a balanced diet prior to conception and during pregnancy is one of the best things a woman can do to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

"That means eating regular, frequent meals, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and foods rich in folic acid and other nutrients, and avoiding alcohol," she says. 

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