Pregnant women's diet affects gender of baby, research suggests

The types of food women eat during the early stages of pregnancy affect the gender of their child, according to new research.

Those who eat a full breakfast and a high fat diet at the time of conception are more likely to have a boy, scientists at the University of Missouri, US, claim.

Pregnant women are more prone to giving birth to a girl if they have a low fat diet with long periods of fasting.

"High calorie diets generally favour birth of males over females, whereas low calorie diets tend to favour females over males," Dr Cheryl Rosenfeld from the University of Missouri explained.

The researchers analysed the genes in placentas of pregnant mice fed diets high in fat or carbohydrates and low calorie diets.

Female foetuses were also found to be more sensitive to their mother's diet and their genes were more likely to be affected.

The diet of pregnant women can also impact infants' allergies, according to researchers from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown, Australia.

Children whose mothers avoided potentially allergenic foods during late pregnancy were less likely to develop asthma symptoms and allergic sensitisation.