More expectant mothers want baby girls despite historically hoping to have a boy, a survey by website Netmums has found.
The study found 45% of mothers secretly wished to give birth to a daughter while only 22% hoped to have a boy.
The prime reason for mothers wanting daughters was because women felt they would "bond and understand" them better, felt by a third of women, while 32% wanted to dress up their child and decorate the nursery for a girl.
A further 15% were brought up in a "female-dominated household" and wanted the same for their child. But for fathers the reverse was true with 27% hoping their newborn will be a boy while only 15% want a girl.
Fewer than a third of the 1,560 parents polled expressed absolutely no preference for the sex of their child.
The desire to have a child of a preferred sex is so strong that one in 10 mothers described themselves as "desperate" for their chosen gender while a further quarter claimed to "really want" either a girl or a boy.
About 2% would consider a termination if their unborn baby was the "wrong" sex with one in 1,000 women saying they have gone through with the procedure. Having the 'wrong' sex has become one of the main reasons for parents to keep adding to their family, with 22% revealing they became pregnant again in a bid to have the opposite gender.
Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard said: "On finding out they are expecting, almost every mum and dad says they don't mind what they are having as long as the child is healthy - but this study uncovers the real truth that parents actually have very strong preferences on their baby's sex.
"While for hundreds of years the pressure was on for mum to produce sons, this has now switched and families around the country have a stronger desire for daughters.
"Gender preference is one of the last taboos of parenting with many mums and dads reluctant to admit how they feel. But the good news is that even when the baby wasn't what they were expecting, the vast majority of parents fall head of heels in love with the new bundle of joy."