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If a Pregnant Woman is Carrying Low, Is It Really Going to be a Boy?

If you've ever been pregnant, someone surely gaped at your stomach and, without an ounce of doubt, exclaimed, "Ahhh, it's a boy!" or "Ooohh, it's definitely a girl!"

Every pregnant woman will inevitably hear many magical ways that others know for sure that it is a boy or girl ... The left breast is bigger than the right, so it's a girl. No morning sickness? That means it's a boy!

In fact, there are even many old wives tales that dictate what you should do to increase your chances of conceiving a boy or a girl. There are books, kits with fancy charts, and thermometers and vitamins to help create the "ideal" environment to produce that little girl or boy you always wanted. Or, according to some, certain "positions of conception" make it more likely to produce a boy or girl.

One of the most common wives tales states that you can tell the sex of a baby by the way a woman is carrying the baby during pregnancy. The general story goes - and what pregnant woman has not heard this? -- that if a woman is carrying low, it is a boy; if a woman is carrying high, it is a girl.

But is there any truth to this method?

Well, don't go painting that nursery just yet!

It is estimated that about 50-70% of parents-to-be want to know if they are having a boy or girl. Of that, 80% will consult books, folklore, Chinese astrology, etc. to help predict their child's gender.

Say It Isn't So

Dr. Michael Benson, a Chicago-area obstetrician and author of Pregnancy Myths: An Obstetrician Demystifies Pregnancy from Conception to Birth, says "pregnancy myths are just as prevalent as they've ever been - even in our enlightened Internet age."'

However, most pregnancy myths - while they can be fun to consider - are just that: myths.
In fact, researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health asked 104 pregnant women to use whatever method they liked, including folklore, dreams and hunches, to guess their unborn child's sex. The women were right 55 percent of the time - about the same as would occur for a random guess.

Carrying High, Carrying Low

So what about the most followed pregnancy myth of all? Does it work? Sorry, but the popular belief that women carrying boys carry low, and that women carrying girls carry high, just isn't true.

Actually, the shape and height of an expectant belly is determined by muscle tone, uterine tone, and the position the baby is in. Someone may think it is a boy because it seems to be carrying low, but instead it is likely the baby just dropped lower into the pelvis because the woman is closer to delivery.

Any Accurate Way to Find Out?

Determining the gender of your unborn baby can be detected through ultrasound, or genetic testing (Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis).

According to Dr. Morag Martindale "the only effective ways of identifying the sex of your baby during pregnancy are ultrasound scanning, amniocentesis, or chorionic villus sampling (CVS)."

Ultrasound Scanning

There are many types of ultrasounds that can be performed, but ultrasound scanning during pregnancy uses real-time scanners that depict a continuous picture of the moving fetus on a monitor screen. Although it is by far the most commonly used method, safety and accuracy have always been a huge concern.

To date, there is no strong evidence to suggest that an ultrasound harms babies. However, there is a small amount of research suggesting a few babies could be affected. While some believe more long-term research needs to be done in order to make sure ultrasound is safe, others feel it is so widely used that any serious problems would have shown up by now.

"Even though studies are now reporting 100 percent accuracy in determining fetal gender between 11 to 16 weeks of gestation, in the average clinic situation, fetal gender identification is often not undertaken until at least 16 weeks, and is often not reliable until 20 to 24 weeks -- and this is when the baby cooperates fully!" says Peg Plumbo, certified nurse-midwife.

Genetic Testing

Two main types of genetic testing are amniocentesis, taking a sample of your amniotic fluid (the fluid surrounding the baby in the uterus), and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), taking a tiny tissue sample from outside the sac where the fetus develops. Although genetic testing is 99.1% accurate in determining the gender of your baby, it carries the risk of losing the pregnancy or harming the pregnancy.

Amniocentesis is usually quoted as having a 1-2% loss rate and an additional 1-2% infection and/or problem rate (leaking membranes, pre-term labor, etc.). CVS reports about a 3-5% loss rate.

It Is Fun, However

The size of a pregnant woman's breasts, the way she carries her child, the non-existence of morning sickness ... none of the old wives tale methods have proven to indicate the sex of a baby any more than pure guessing.

But many of these myths have persisted for eons, and even with articles like this they will continue to do so. So if you are pregnant, and as long as the myths are safe and free, just smile and enjoy everyone else's utter certainty about the gender of your forthcoming bundle of joy.

A Few More Ways Not to Determine Gender

Here are several other common - and widely unproven - methods that are supposed to determine an unborn baby's gender ...

  1. Wedding Ring Swing - Hang your wedding ring from a strand of your hair (or use your spouse's ring/hair). Rub the ring with our index finger a couple of times, and hold it above the top of your outstretched right hand. If it moves in a circle, it's a boy. If in a straight line, it's a girl. (There are many variations of this theory)

  2. Heart Rate - The theory states that if your baby's heart rate is 140 beats per minute and above, it's a girl. If the heart rate is under 140 beats per minute, it's a boy.

  3. Chinese Gender Chart - Legend states that the Chinese Gender Chart was buried in a royal tomb near Beijing over 700 years ago. Using the chart, cross reference mother's age at time of conception with month of conception to determine the sex of your baby.

  4. Drano Test - Warning: Do NOT try this! Very harmful fumes result! (We just wanted to share how silly some superstitions are.) This "test" is performed by mixing Drano and mother's urine. Depending on the color, you'll find out if it's a boy or girl.

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