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