What Is the Cravings Gender Theory & Is it Legit?

When my friend Rachel was pregnant, everyone from close relatives to complete strangers would accost her with their gender predictions. “Random people would shout across the street at me that I was carrying low or that my shinier hair meant I’d be having a boy,” says the now mom to two girls in Brooklyn, New York. “They were all pretty certain, but I was certain, too, that I was having a girl!” How could she be so sure? Apparently, by deciphering her pregnancy cravings.

What is the cravings gender theory?
According to this theory, the type of food that you’re craving determines whether you’re pregnant with a girl or a boy. Many people believe that if you often find yourself craving salty, sour, spicy, and high-protein foods, you’re carrying a boy. Sweeter foods, such as chocolate, fruit, and dairy products, suggest that you’re having a girl.

Does it work?
There are a lot of theories about why pregnant women have certain cravings. Pica, a disorder in which pregnant women crave non-nutritive things like dirt, clay, and paper, for instance, is associated with iron deficiency, says Dr. Melissa Goist, an ob-gyn at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, in Columbus, Ohio. Other reasons for cravings include hormonal shifts, a lack of specific nutrients, or the baby’s increased need for certain nutrients.

But, do cravings indicate your baby’s gender? No, according to Dr. Goist. “It’s an old wives tale,” she says. “Cravings such as pickles and ice cream don’t have any real science behind them.” 

Despite the lack of science, it’s a popular theory that a lot of people believe in. According to Steve Crawford, author of Old Wives Tales For New Mothers, theories like this one go all the way back to the Pharaohs. “The fact that wives tales garner so much attention and interest tells you a lot,” he explains. “It’s fascinating, and there’s no harm buying into it.”

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Photo: Getty