Blog Nutrition Food Cravings When Pregnant With A Boy: Here’s What Science Says

Food Cravings When Pregnant With A Boy: Here’s What Science Says

food cravings when pregnant with a boy

It’s common for pregnant women to crave various foods or odd food combinations. These urges have a lot to do with the changing hormonal levels and increased nutritional needs. For many women, these food urges tend to fall into two categories:  sweet or salty (spicy and savory fall into this category too). 

Following these specific urges, numerous myths have been formulated about what women carrying different sexes crave. But do these myths have any backing to them? Can you fully rely on your food cravings to tell you if you’re carrying a boy or a girl?

Read on to learn more about what these myths say about food cravings when you’re pregnant with a boy. Have they been proven to be real and what does science say about it all? Do cravings matter? Does the position of your bump also tell what gender you’re carrying? 

Let’s find out!

How Can I Tell the Sex of My Baby: Scientifically Proven Methods

Did your pregnancy test come out positive, and are you dying to find out your baby’s gender? Well, if we choose to do this via the medical route, you would need to be patient and wait for a couple of weeks or months to know. 

This is because during the early weeks, it’s difficult for your doctor to tell the gender of your child. Those who choose this route can then get their baby’s gender revealed at

  • 10 weeks – This is done through a test that is known as non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). This is a blood work test that screens for chromosome abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome, or Patau’s syndrome in your baby (6, 5).

If you choose, the NIPT can also help tell the sex of your baby as it also scans for the presence of the Y chromosome. Girls have 2 X chromosomes while boys have one X and one Y chromosome (16).

  • 18 to 22 weeks – This is known as the 2nd-trimester scan/ultrasound. At this time, your baby is big enough and its genitals are developed enough for the doctor to tell if it is male or female.

One study examining the accuracy of 2D ultrasound prenatal sex determination stated that this test has a 99% accuracy for males and females (12).

Betterme will keep you laser-focused on your weight loss journey! Nutrient-packed meal plans, fat-blasting workouts, galvanizing challenges and much more. Try using the app and see for yourself!

How Early Do You Get Cravings During Pregnancy?

According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, pregnancy cravings can be present early in pregnancy, with peak frequency occurring during the second trimester (15).

See also
Chaga Mushroom Benefits: What Does The Science Say?

What Are the Food Cravings When Pregnant with a Boy?

While the above-mentioned scientific routes are the most accurate ways to predict the sex of your baby, some women are unwilling to wait till then. Instead, they rely on fun old wives’ tales to try and guess the gender of their babies, such as:

  • Food urges
  • Fetal heart rate
  • Size and positioning of the baby bump
  • Presence or absence of acne
  • Severity of mood swings

We could go on and on listing these factors, but for today, let’s focus on food cravings.

Many women tend to crave chocolate during certain parts of their menstrual cycle. So, chocolate craving has been associated with menstruation. Some women use this as an indication to tell when it is their time of the month. 

Some pregnant women have adopted the same theory, and they believe that specific food cravings can indicate a baby’s sex. With that being said, let’s delve into the pregnancy food craving myths that are associated with having a boy.

Pregnancy Cravings Myths

Learning the gender of the fetus is important for many pregnant women as it helps them prepare for several things. For a lot of women, the insight allows them to concentrate on shopping for baby stuff related to a specific gender. Baby girls are often associated with the color pink, while boys are often associated with the color blue. 

Unfortunately, knowing the gender of your unborn child can take longer than expected. As many women can hardly wait to know, they use several purported methods to discover the gender.

One of the methods used to figure out a baby’s gender is a pregnant woman’s cravings. It’s believed that women who are pregnant with baby girls or boys will have different food cravings. This leads us to the concept of what pregnant women carrying boys crave. Well, let’s find out!

food cravings when pregnant with a boy  

What Food Cravings Do Pregnant Women Carrying Boys Have?

Before we get into these supposed food cravings, what causes food cravings? To date, researchers are still unsure as to why expecting mothers tend to have a heightened desire for certain foods and drinks when they’re expecting. 

The lack of enough research and knowledge on this is rather surprising as in the United States alone, an estimated 50 to 90% of women experience cravings for specific foods during pregnancy. 

Some of the most commonly craved foods by expecting mothers in the U.S include options such as sweets (i.e. ice cream and candy), dairy, starchy carbohydrates, fruits and/or fruit juice, vegetables, desserts, chocolate, fast food such as pizza, and pickles (9). 

See also
Do Spices Have Gluten? A Spice Lover's Guide To Avoiding Gluten In Their Meals

Despite the lack of studies in this area, researchers from one review published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2014 theorized that pregnancy food cravings could be caused by four factors (9):

Hormonal changes

During pregnancy, the body secretes more of certain hormones than usual. It has been theorized that these hormones work overtime, changing the taste and olfactory sensitivity in pregnant women. 

It is thought that this could be meant to discourage the consumption of potentially toxic foods during pregnancy and could also be responsible for changing food preferences and patterns of consumption. This change in taste perception increases the cravings for certain foods and creates an aversion to others.

Nutritional deficits

Being pregnant means your body is housing another being who needs nutrients from you to grow and develop. Whatever you eat and drink is shared between both of you. 

Because of this, you need more energy, protein, and other nutrients, particularly during the second and third trimesters – which is why pregnant women generally eat more than they did before they were pregnant.

It is now theorized that food cravings may serve to prevent or alleviate nutritional deficits, or perhaps simply encourage the expectant mother to consume foods that provide added energy, both for her and her growing baby.

Pharmacologically active ingredients in the desired foods

Researchers have theorized that pregnant women sometimes crave certain foods because they may prevent or alleviate unwanted pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. 

Similarly, researchers have also claimed that food aversions leading to nausea and vomiting may exist to protect the mother and fetus from foodborne illness. They’ve even claimed that nausea and vomiting – while absolutely horrible to deal with – have been associated with positive pregnancy outcomes, including lower risk of miscarriage and preterm or stillbirth

Read more: Staying Fit While Pregnant: Diet and Exercise Hacks for Prenatal Fitness

Cultural and psychosocial factors

Many pregnant women will have food cravings, but these cravings will not be the same across the board. Some specific food cravings during pregnancy can have ties to the person’s culture or their individual lived experience.

These women may crave foods that are only known and eaten in their cultures, something that is familiar and comforting to them. They may also be averse to foods that remind them of roles or things in their life that they don’t like, thereby bringing in the psychological aspect.

From this, we can see that pregnancy cravings may be caused by many different factors. Despite this, some believe that the sex of your child can affect the cravings you get. Women who are expecting boys are sometimes said to have specific food fantasies. Some of these include:

See also
Brown Rice Protein: The Best Muscle Building Protein Powder?

Salty and Savory Foods

Craving salt before a period is a common symptom of PMS that is often associated with a myriad of reasons, including simple boredom, increased stress levels, lack of sleep, or dehydration.

However, according to Medical News Today, some believe that craving savory and salty foods while pregnant means you will be having a boy and if you crave sweet foods, chances are that you will be getting a girl. These salty food urges range from potato chips, pretzels, and beans to fried chicken.

Medical News Today goes on to acknowledge that there is no scientific evidence to indicate that such food urges can help determine a baby’s sex (4). Instead, experts say that this specific craving could be due to the normal hormonal fluctuations experienced in pregnancy and also be due to other factors such as boredom, fatigue, or stress (14). 


There’s also a belief that women with an unquenchable longing for pickles will most likely deliver a baby boy. However, evidence suggests that food cravings cannot tell the sex of an unborn baby.

Instead, pregnancy cravings are linked to complex factors, including the availability and access to certain foods (9). This means that women who have easy access to pickles could find themselves craving them more when pregnant and those who can’t easily access them or those who’ve never had them will have no desire for them.

WebMD also suggests that an overwhelming pickle craving may be an indication of your body asking for more sodium. According to the Food and Drug Administration, one dill pickle spear (40.4 g) contains 326 mg of sodium (8).

As previously mentioned, nutritional deficits are one of the main theorized reasons why expecting mothers gravitate toward certain foods. If you’re not consuming enough sodium for you and your baby and your increased blood volume, you may find yourself craving high-salt foods such as pickles.

The daily recommended intake of sodium is less than 2,300 mg per day for an adult (11). If you have hypertension during pregnancy or are at risk for preeclampsia, your doctor may recommend further limiting your sodium intake. Instead of constantly eating pickles – and very high levels of salt – speak to your doctor and see if they can offer you a better alternative. 

food cravings when pregnant with a boy  


Another theory is that women who crave cheese will have a baby boy. Unfortunately, this food urge doesn’t mean so. Instead, a cheese craving may suggest that you’re not consuming enough fats, protein, or calcium (7). However, it could mean nothing at all. Perhaps you simply feel like eating cheese, which is perfectly normal and okay.

See also
Foods To Prevent Dementia, As Well As Other Lifestyle Changes That May Help

Instead of suppressing such an urge, you can talk to your dietitian or doctor and feel free to eat some cheese or any other food that provides these nutrients. They will help validate if your cheese craving is a mere food urge or if it indicates your body’s need for fats or another nutrient. If this is the case, they may recommend adding healthy fats to your diet, such as olive and avocado oil, or foods that are rich in whatever nutrients you may not be getting enough of.

BetterMe app will kick you out of the mental funk, shake off your extra weight, rid you off your energy-zapping habits, and help you sculpt the body of your dreams. Intrigued? Hurry up and change your life for the better!

Are These Food Cravings Realistic in Determining a Baby Boy’s Sex?

No, they’re not.

From the discussion above, it’s safe to say that most pregnancy cravings cannot help you figure out your unborn baby’s gender. As we’ve seen, most of these food desires are associated with something more profound such as fluctuating hormones, the body’s desire for a specific nutrient, or cultural and personal preferences. Sometimes, it’s as simple as being hungry and desiring a specific food or taste. 

Do Women Who Are Pregnant with Boys Have More Food Cravings?

Not particularly.

The reason we say this is that despite there being multiple sources claiming that this is the case, none provide any scientific backing to prove their claims. The only thing we can say is that women who are carrying boys may tend to eat more than those who are carrying girls.

According to an article published in 2003 in The Harvard Gazette,  a study looking at the diets of 244 pregnant American women via a food frequency questionnaire during the second trimester found that those who were carrying male embryos ate more (10).

The researchers found that these women had:

  • An 8% higher intake of protein – They could perhaps be among the women who end up craving meat or other protein-rich foods
  • A 9% higher intake of carbohydrates
  • An 11% higher intake of animal fats
  • A 15% higher intake of vegetable fats 

than women who were carrying a female embryo.

These mothers also had an energy intake approximately 10% higher than those carrying girls (2). Whether this extra food intake comes from simply eating more calories throughout the day (aka hunger) or through random cravings is something we cannot say. These are also averages from one group of pregnant women and individual experiences may vary. 

See also
Healthy Soul Food: The Guilt-Free Way To Eat Your Favorite Comfort Food

What Happens If You Ignore Pregnancy Cravings?

Most likely nothing. As long as you consume a well-balanced diet,  eat the right amount of calories and protein, take a prenatal vitamin, and follow any other recommendations from your OB/GYN, you have nothing to worry about. You can eat the foods you crave as long as they’re safe during pregnancy. You must be mindful of your overall diet, as eating too many high-calorie foods may lead to excess weight gain during pregnancy (3). 

According to the CDC, not only is the excess weight gain not ideal for the mother, it can also lead to giving birth to a baby that is too large. A larger-than-average baby can cause delivery complications, may result in cesarean delivery, and could increase the risk of childhood obesity (13). It can also increase the weight that you hold onto after pregnancy. 

At the same time, not gaining enough weight during pregnancy is also not good for fetal development and can lead to complications. Work with your OB/GYN to make sure that you and baby are on the right track throughout your pregnancy.

Read more: 22 Weeks Pregnant Diet: What To Eat And Avoid To Keep Yourself and Your Baby Healthy

food cravings when pregnant with a boy  


  • How do you know if your baby is going to be a boy?

The only way to accurately tell if your baby will be a boy is by doing noninvasive prenatal testing at 10 weeks or via the second-trimester ultrasound that is generally scheduled anywhere between 18 and 22 weeks.

  • Can you tell if it’s a boy or a girl by your stomach?

Not really.

While many people believe that if you have a high bump, you’re having a girl and that carrying low indicates a male fetus, there’s no truth to this belief. In fact, one study published in 1999 proved that this was nothing but a myth, and such predictions are more often than not wrong (1).

How high or low you carry has nothing to do with the baby’s gender and is probably more dependent on your anatomy and the number of babies currently in your womb.

The Bottom Line

What are the food cravings I should expect when pregnant with a boy? You’ve probably seen this frequently asked question online. Unfortunately, no food urge has been scientifically proven to indicate an unborn baby’s gender.

However, the myth is that cravings for salty and savory food, cheese, and pickles indicate a baby boy. Experts have acknowledged that this is a myth. They have explained that a salty food craving may signal your increased needs for a certain nutrient, but it could also mean nothing at all.

Similarly, craving pickles may indicate that your body has low sodium content, while a cheese craving may mean your body lacks enough fats, protein, or calcium. You may also simply be craving those foods because you like them, because you saw someone else eating them, or for any other reason. You can give in to these food urges as long as they’re safe foods for pregnancy and your overall diet is balanced and sufficient. Talk to your OB/GYN about any questions or concerns you may have during your pregnancy.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Are women carrying “basketballs” really having boys? Testing pregnancy folklore (1999,
  2. Average energy intake among pregnant women carrying a boy compared with a girl (2003,
  3. Food cravings in pregnancy: Preliminary evidence for a role in excess gestational weight gain (2016,
  4. How can you tell if you are having a boy or a girl? (2024,
  5. Noninvasive Prenatal Testing: The Future Is Now (2013,
  6. Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) (2024,
  7. Nutritional and clinical associations of food cravings in pregnancy (2016,
  8. Pickles, cucumber, dill or kosher dill (2019,
  9. Pickles and ice cream! Food cravings in pregnancy: hypotheses, preliminary evidence, and directions for future research (2014,
  10. Pregnant women carrying boys eat more than those carrying girls (2003,
  11. Sodium in Your Diet (2024,
  12. The accuracy of 2D ultrasound prenatal sex determination (2012,
  13. Weight Gain During Pregnancy (2022,
  14. What causes salt cravings? (2023,
  15. Women’s Experience and Understanding of Food Cravings in Pregnancy: A Qualitative Study in women receiving prenatal care at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill (2020,
  16. ​Y CHROMOSOME (2024,
150 million people
have chosen BetterMe

I've struggled to maintain programs…

I've struggled to maintain programs before, but somehow I've been able to stick with this. I enjoy the workouts and have made healthy changes to my diet with the challenges. Its nice for something to really have stuck and worked. I did the sugar free challenge and it's really changed how I relate to the signals my body is giving me about the food I'm eating.

Our Journey

This has been an awesome journey for my wife and I. Not only are we losing weight , but we are living a new life style. Our eating habits have been reformed by following the meal plan and our bodies have become stronger by simply doing the ten minute, sometimes twenty minute workouts. It really has been easy and convenient to transition into a healthier routine and has truly re energized our lives moving forward into the future.

It Works! This program is working for me!

lynne R.
This program is working for me! After a little over a month, I have lost 10 pounds. Slow, but steady. Guided exercises are done daily and there is an option to do other routines beside the one chosen for the day. It is very helpful having the recipes for all meals plus a snack. Would like if we could know the ingredients the day before. Makes preparing alot easier. I like the fact that alternative foods are suggested in case you can't eat(or don't like) the recipes listed. This is a very good program. Stick to it and YOU will see results. I have!