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Does Being Pregnant With a Boy Feel Different Than Being Pregnant With a Girl?

Does Being Pregnant With a Boy Feel Different Than Being Pregnant With a Girl?

Expecting a little one on the way? Even if you’re only on week three, it’s hard not to imagine who’s inside your belly, and that includes your baby’s gender. You’ll often wonder, am I having a boy or girl? Until the doctor comes through, can you tell whether the stork is bringing a boy or girl?

In short, the answer is a maybe. It could depend on your early pregnancy symptoms.

When wondering how to tell if you're having a boy or girl, you’ve probably heard the old wives’ tale or pregnancy myths about predicting the baby’s gender. You have pregnancy acne? It must be a girl! Fortunately, we have some backup to shed some light on these superstitions—from scientific studies to stories from mothers.

Early Signs You Could Be Carrying a Girl

Is a pink-wrapped bundle on the way? You might be able to know before the ultrasound tells you.

During pregnancy, nearly all moms-to-be experience physical and mental symptoms (besides a growing belly). Some of these early symptoms could indicate an XX-chromosome human coming to life inside of you. If you develop these symptoms during the first trimester, it might just be your beautiful baby girl knocking.

You’re Very Sick in the Morning

The most established early sign of a female fetus? Morning sickness.

It’s an old wives’ tale and a researched topic. Studies have shown that a pregnant woman who has morning sickness is more likely to be carrying a baby girl.1 However, this only applies to severe morning sickness—a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum.

While 70% of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness, only 3% experience hyperemesis gravidarum.2 This pregnancy condition includes symptoms like:

  • Severe and consistent vomiting
  • Constant nausea
  • Food aversions
  • Significant weight loss
  • Decreased urination
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Fainting
  • Low blood pressure

    Worried about first trimester fears? During the first trimester, your body’s spike in human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)—a hormone your placenta produces during pregnancy—may kick-start morning sickness. If you’re having a baby girl, that could kick morning sickness into even higher gear.

    According to research, female fetuses contribute more HCG than male fetuses.3 One study found that women hospitalized for morning sickness were 50% more likely to be pregnant with a girl. The longer the hospitalization, the more likely the fetus was female.

    Stories from mamas-to-be can back this research. Read McKinzie’s experience with severe morning sickness (and more) when pregnant with her little girl:

    I definitely had a harder pregnancy with my little girl than with my little boy. With my little boy, I had morning sickness until about 22 weeks, with my girl it was more like 28-29 weeks and it was way more intense. With my little girl's pregnancy, it seemed like I had ALL of the pregnancy complications too, gestational diabetes, gallbladder attacks, kidney stones, acid reflux, you name it. I got it. However, with my little boy, I avoided those, but I had migraines during the first trimester.

    Your Memory is Fried

    Leaving keys in the garbage? Forgetting your friend’s phone number? You just might be experiencing “baby brain”—and possibly expecting a little girl.

    Nearly 4 out of 5 women experience some forgetfulness or memory addlement during pregnancy.4 However, studies show that excess forgetfulness during pregnancy could indicate a baby girl is on the way.

    One case in particular compared cognitive capabilities of women carrying boy babies to women carrying girl babies over their entire pregnancies.5 Women who gave birth to girls scored lower in tests for:

  • Listening
  • Working memory
  • Computational skills
  • Spatial memory
  • Your Stress Levels are Spiking

    Pregnancy can be a beautiful miracle, but it’s also a long journey. It’s normal for moms-to-be to experience some stress in the process. But it’s important to know that extreme stress levels can impact your baby’s health—and even hint at their gender.

    Research shows high prenatal cortisol (the stress hormone) can lead to mom and baby health risks like:6

  • High blood pressure
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Low fetal growth
  • Preeclampsia
  • Postnatal developmental delays

    However, studies also show that women with high stress levels before pregnancy and during their first trimester were twice as likely to have a girl.7,8, Science suggests that girls' fetuses may be less vulnerable to hazardous conditions in the womb, enabling a stressed-out mother’s body to adapt.

    Compared to her son’s pregnancy, Monica + Andy friend Tayla, @themotherfix, experienced more stress while pregnant with her daughter:

    I had a very easy pregnancy. I did not really have any uncomfortable symptoms or major cravings. I carried mostly in my belly and felt great up until delivery. When I got pregnant with my daughter, it was a totally different experience! I knew I was pregnant before I even took a test because of how I was feeling! I was nauseous and sick for most of the first trimester. I had a feeling was a girl immediately because my symptoms were so different from my pregnancy with my son. It was a much more difficult nine months. I was more tired and irritable, but ironically my skin was great!

    Signs You Could Be Carrying a Boy

    Are baby boys messier than girls? We’ll have to leave that up to the mom jury. However, it is possible that boy fetuses do create different symptoms early in your pregnancy.

    In general, research shows male fetuses may require more physical energy from their mother than female fetuses. After all, they will probably grow bigger (but only by a little).9

    Let’s explore how these needs differentiate boy vs girl pregnancy symptoms.

    You’re Hungry…Like Really Hungry

    Teenage boys are notorious for their hunger. Turns out, a baby boy might have a head start on that teenage hunger while growing inside your belly.

    According to research, male fetuses turn mom’s hunger switch to “ON.”10 In one study, women who gave birth to boys had a 10% higher caloric intake than women who gave birth to girls. Even while eating more, these women did not gain more weight.

    Since the average newborn boy weighs four ounces more than a newborn girl, it’s clear why they might need that extra fuel.9

    Similarly, your diet during conception could influence your baby’s gender. In one study, women with the highest caloric intakes during conception were more likely to conceive a boy.8

    You’ve Got the “Ick” at Dinner

    Everyone knows about pregnancy cravings—but some mamas-to-be also experience the “ick,” or aversions to certain foods. Food aversions are quite common while pregnant, but if you’re experiencing a lot of them, they might hint that a baby boy is on the way.

    Compared to girl fetuses, boy fetuses may be more sensitive to health risks in the womb (researchers aren’t yet sure why).11 As a protective measure, your immune system may develop an “EW!” reaction to certain foods and stimuli when pregnant. One Polish study found that over the first two trimesters, a pregnant woman carrying boys showed more food disgust and squeamishness.

    Can’t stand your favorite rice pudding anymore? Don’t worry, it just might be your little guy fighting for your love. Typical pregnancy food aversions include:12

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Milk
  • Onions and garlic
  • Greasy foods
  • You Have Gestational Diabetes

    Gestational diabetes can be a risky prenatal condition, usually appearing just around the third trimester. But can it suggest that your baby’s a boy? Let’s take a look at the condition and what it might reveal.

    If your body can’t produce enough insulin during late pregnancy, you may develop temporary insulin resistance—a condition known as gestational diabetes. This condition occurs in up to 10% of pregnancies, raising the baby’s risk for:13

  • High birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Cardiovascular and breathing issues
  • Low blood sugar
  • Type 2 diabetes

    While scientists are uncertain why, research shows that male fetuses have a slight link to higher rates of gestational diabetes in pregnant moms.14, 15, One of Monica + Andy’s moms Amy, @thedailyhostess, experienced this while carrying her own son:

    I was pregnant for the first time in 2013 with my daughter...that pregnancy was really easy. No morning sickness, no complications, just a little tired off and on. My labor and delivery were also very normal with no complications...Fast forward to 2016/2017 and the pregnancy with my son. It started off fairly similarly, just a little tired without any sickness. I was also hoping for a boy this time around, although the pregnancy didn't feel any different I did have more complications with this second pregnancy including gestational diabetes, and a lower placenta that thankfully moved up and wasn't an issue.

    Common Misconceptions about Predicting Your Baby’s Gender

    Science may offer a few peeks at your growing little guy (or girl). Yet, for the most part, guessing strategies tend to miss the mark by a long shot.

    From superstitions to health vitals, most gender-predicting experiments are more misleading than helpful. So far, these popular gender prediction “methods” have no science to back them:16

  • Fetal heart rates or tones
  • Belly shape or size
  • Timing of conception (day or month)
  • Urine acidity
  • Weight of biological father
  • The mother’s skin condition (acne, oily, dry, etc.)
  • Specific food cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Ring tests (swinging a ring over mom’s belly)

    Most importantly? Even if your pregnancy symptoms point towards “girl” or “boy,” you might not want to place any bets—your symptoms are not foolproof guides. For example, Ashley, @ashley.kimler, experienced atypical morning sickness with her baby boys:

    When I was pregnant with my boys, I craved jalapeno-stuffed olives every single day, to the point that I would push myself to excruciating heartburn. With my daughter, I craved more sweets and baked foods. Also, I noticed a difference in morning sickness -- I had none with my girl, but with my sons, I was throwing up every morning for months. I don't know whether this was coincidence or if there were actual biological differences. It does seem that the pregnancies were different, but there were a few years between each, so it probably just felt this way because of the changes my body had gone through.

    How Doctors Determine a Baby’s Sex

    Want a confident answer to the question, “Am I having a boy or a girl?” You’ll need the help of one person—your medical professional.

    To determine your baby’s gender, you’ll need a thorough look inside your belly. Only medical professionals have the tools and expertise for that task. Over the course of your pregnancy, consult your doctor about these tests to learn more about your child’s gender:

  • Ultrasound – The most common test, an ultrasound uses safe radiation to view your growing fetus.17 By week 18, almost 99% of ultrasounds can accurately guess your baby’s gender. You can go up to 7 weeks earlier, but the results may be less accurate. The technician will determine gender based on detected genital shapes like a “hamburger” (female) or “hot dog” (male).
  • Amniocentesis – Accurate yet riskier, amniocentesis is not a common procedure for testing a baby’s gender. This test inserts a long needle through mom’s belly into the amniotic sac to extract its fluid. Since this fluid contains the baby’s DNA, amniocentesis tests are often performed to test for genetic conditions, rather than for gender.
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) – Another more invasive procedure, this test analyzes placenta tissues for any chromosomal abnormalities or conditions. It can also reveal a baby’s gender, although that’s not its medical purpose.
  • Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) – A newer test, an NIPT searches for free strands of cfDNA in the mom’s blood to test her child’s gender. If any cfDNA has a Y chromosome, it’s possible a boy is on the way. This non-invasive option is an excellent alternative for moms who don’t prefer ultrasounds. However, because this test is new, its accuracy is not yet fully known.
  • Set the (Pink or Blue) Stage with Monica + Andy

    Whether it’s week two or 32, it’s never a bad time to feel excited about your child.

    Predicting their gender can add to the excitement—but more than anything, you’ll probably be over the moon to welcome your bundle of joy regardless of gender.

    While you’re picking out your baby nursery furniture and decor or planning showers, we can help you prepare for your little guy or girl.

    At Monica + Andy, we offer an incredible collection of organic newborn clothes and accessories. Snuggle your baby in oh-so-soft cotton baby blankets, or dress her in adorable limited edition prints.

    Whether pink, blue, or gender neutral, our baby clothes can give your newborn a warm welcome. 


    1. American Pregnancy Association. Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-complications/hyperemesis-gravidarum/
    2. Cleveland Clinic. Morning Sickness with Pregnancy: Causes, Treatment & Prevention. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16566-morning-sickness-nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy
    3. Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The sex ratio of pregnancies complicated by hospitalisation for hyperemesis gravidarum. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1471-0528.2003.00005.x
    4. ABC News. 'Baby brain' is a real, measurable phenomenon, Australian scientists say. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-15/baby-brain-exists-australian-study-finds/9324664
    5. Research Gate. Selective and persistent effect of foetal sex on cognition in pregnant women. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7880522_Selective_and_persistent_effect_of_foetal_sex_on_cognition_in_pregnant_women
    6. PARENTING SCIENCE. Stress hormones during pregnancy: How a natural rise in hormone levels may benefit babies and re-program mothers’ brains.https://parentingscience.com/stress-hormones-during-pregnancy/
    7. Universidad de Granada. Women who experience more stress around the time of conception are twice as likely to give birth to a girl. https://canal.ugr.es/uncategorized/women-who-experience-more-stress-around-the-time-of-conception-are-twice-as-likely-to-give-birth-to-a-girl/
    8. PNAS. Stress during pregnancy: Fetal males pay the price. https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1916909116
    9. MedicalNewsToday. What is the average baby weight by month? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325630
    10. New Scientist. Sons make mums eat more in pregnancy. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3803-sons-make-mums-eat-more-in-pregnancy/
    11. Today News. New way to predict baby's gender during pregnancy: How grossed out are you? https://www.today.com/parents/new-gender-predictor-during-pregnancy-how-grossed-out-are-you-1d80370191
    12. Parents Magazine. Pregnancy Food Aversions: Why Your Favorite Foods Are Now Gross. https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/nutrition/food-aversions-in-pregnancy-why-are-your-favorite-foods-suddenly-gross/
    13. CDC. Gestational Diabetes.https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/gestational.html
    14. NCIB. Fetal sex and maternal risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: the impact of having a boy. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25693837/
    15. Endocrine Web. Carrying a Boy May Increase Mom's Risk of Gestational Diabetes. https://www.endocrineweb.com/news/diabetes/15446-carrying-boy-may-increase-moms-risk-gestational-diabetes
    16. Very Well Family. Facts About Predicting the Sex of Your Baby. https://www.verywellfamily.com/predicting-the-sex-of-your-baby-4580299
    17. Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine. Accuracy of sonographic fetal gender determination: predictions made by sonographers during routine obstetric ultrasound scans. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.2205-0140.2014.tb00028.x
    18. New Scientist. Breakfast cereals boost chances of conceiving boys. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13754-breakfast-cereals-boost-chances-of-conceiving-boys/
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