9 Old Wives Tales About Baby Gender Debunked

Whether you want to find out as soon as science allows or have decided to wait until the little one pops out, the most anticipated factor of your pregnancy (besides them coming out happy and healthy) is whether it’s a boy or a girl. Some parents anticipate a specific gender while others don’t have a preference, but either way, it’s something you’ll likely not be able to stop thinking about for the duration of your pregnancy.

As parents, while we would never discriminate between genders, it certainly has a large impact on what your lives will look like for the next long while. Whether you’ve always dreamed of having a little princess or can’t wait to have a miniature version of your partner, having a boy or a girl are certainly very different. As her mother, you’ll relate to them more than anyone and will go from being mommy to best friend as she grows up (hopefully…) 

Even if you don’t want to know the gender, it’s always fun to speculate. Theories (some zanier than others) of why you’re having a boy or girl have existed pretty much since women started getting pregnant (and that’s a long time). As above it all as you think you may be, there’s something fun about looking for signs (whether scientific or not) that may reveal the gender before doctors can tell you. 

In the end, though- as fun as they are- they are completely unscientific. With tons of mommies-to-be testing these theories, half are bound to get the right result while half are not- giving the theory a strong 50% of women saying it was right. The following are 8 of the most popular Old Wives Tales about baby gender debunked.

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9 Carrying High vs. Low

The idea that carrying high signifies you’re having a girl and carrying low points to a little baby boy (or carrying wide vs. narrow) is probably one of the more well-known theories. While it seems at least somewhat realistic that the position or shape of your belly may indicate the gender, there really is no correlation between the two. 

If you look back far enough, you’ll find that this theory stems from old English folk wisdom that believed boys carry low because they need more independence and girls carry high because they need more protection. That’s about as unscientific as it gets.

Carrying high (meaning the most protruding part of the belly is high on the abdomen) or carrying low (meaning the bump is closer to the pelvis) is actually related to a woman’s muscle tone and body type. The tighter the woman’s abdominal muscles are, the higher the bump will be. Older women, women with a lower fitness level or women who have had previous pregnancies often have bellies that lay lower towards the pelvis.

You could carry to the right, it still wouldn't tell you whether you're having a girl or a boy

Carrying wide or narrow is also directly related to a woman’s body. A shorter torso provides less room for the uterus and thus results in a wider belly. In contrast, women with a longer torso have more room between their pelvis and their rib cage and therefore often have a narrower bump. Your little munchkin’s position will also have an effect on the shape of your growing belly- a baby who is stretching sideways versus lengthwise will also make a difference. In no case, though, is the child’s gender a reason for carrying a certain way. Sorry ladies.

8 The Ring Swing

This tale is probably the most groundless and unscientific of all. It’s hard to understand how someone could believe the direction that a ring swings near your belly could be connected to the gender of your baby. Then again, though, pregnant women are filled with excitement and hormones and the mix of those might lead them to believe just about anything (hormones are POWERFUL).

This test has you hanging your wedding ring (preferably gold) from a string over your belly. If the ring swings around in a circle then it’s a girl. If it swings back and forth, it’s a boy. 

The ring isn't going to predict anything, sorry!

The ring will definitely swing, but that’s probably because you’re hanging it from a long string and aren’t able to be 100% still, causing it to swing depending on your movement. You can hang an old toe ring from a string and hang it over the stove and it’ll likely swing, too. Science.

7 The Heart Rate Debate

This old wives tales will tell you that if your baby has a heart rate beating over 140 beats per minute, you’re having a girl. If your baby has a heart rate beating below 140 BPM, it’ll be a boy.

While this particular theory at least sounds physiological and has been around for decades, it is - like the others- a myth. While one lone study done by the University of Kentucky in 1993 found a strong correlation between a baby’s heart rate and their gender, every other study conducted before or after came back with the opposite results. There’s no connection.

There's many factors that go into your baby's heart rate, so it's not accurate enough tot predict gender

The fetal hear rate normally ranges between 120 and 160 beats per minute. This rate will likely differ at each prenatal visit and will change depending on age and activity level at the time of visit. While it’s fun to speculate that a lower heart rate means you’re having a baby boy, it probably just means they’re sleeping. 

6 Beauty Stealing

While pregnancy does wonders for some women’s skin, for others, it wreaks havoc. Instead of attributing this to normal things like hormones or physical/mental stress, a group of old wives (who are these old wives, anyways?) came up with the theory that you’re breaking out because your little girl is stealing your beauty. 

For starters, this is horrible, based solely on the fact that you’ll probably resent your unborn baby before they even have a chance to explain themselves. We can all act holy and say we’d never dislike our babies, but stealing our beauty really isn’t very nice. Secondly, who’s to say our little baby boys wouldn’t want to be beautiful too?

Your own physiological reaction to pregnancy is stealing your beauty, not your unborn child

Breaking out doesn’t mean you’re having a girl, it means your hormones are raging and your skin doesn’t know how to handle it. Other things affecting your skin include diet, stress levels and using products with ingredients your skin doesn’t like. It’s definitely not a devious, immoral, thieving little girl cooking in your belly, though.

5 The Drano Test

This theory is great purely based on the thought of expectant mommies testing it out. The Drano test involves pouring a tablespoon of Drano into a cup and peeing in it. It is said that if the mixture turns green, you’re having a girl. If it turns blue, you’re having a boy. 

Other versions include a brown/no color change result. The thought is that there is something in the woman’s urine that indicates whether it’s a boy or girl. If that were true, though, I’m sure the pharmaceutical companies would have monopolized that by now and come out with a take-home gender test. Come on.

Looks like the only one winning with this myth is Drano

Besides this being pretty silly already, pregnant women shouldn’t be dealing with the chemically laden anti-clog substance to being with. If you absolutely need to pee in a cup of Drano, avoid breathing it in too much and avoid contact with your skin.

4 Sweet ‘n Salty Cravings

While cravings during pregnancy are definitely a thing, theories exists saying that if you crave salty food during your pregnancy, you’re having a boy. If you have a major sweet tooth, expect a girl.

The true cause of sweet or salty cravings stem from extreme hormonal changes that have an impact on a woman’s sense of taste and smell. During the physical rollercoaster that is pregnancy, cravings are also sometimes an indicator of something lacking in your body. Some alternative medicine practitioners, for example, believe that a shortage of magnesium can trigger cravings for sweets like chocolate. Foods high in magnesium include:

  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Green vegetables

They also believe that people with cravings are ultimately in need of more essential fatty acids in their diet. Fish oil or flax oil are examples of these and are thought to be able to eliminate cravings once taken.

In the end, most people believe cravings are more fun and interesting than scientific. The important thing is to take advantage of the healthy cravings and to indulge in the less healthy ones (everything in moderation!). Replace things like ice cream with frozen yogurt and dry fruit with candy.

3 The Morning Sickness Myth

This tale states that if you have a lot of morning sickness, chances are you’re having a girl. While a few studies have found that 53-56% percent of women who experienced morning sickness had a girl (which is only a little higher than the chances of having a girl at all), most health experts believe this is a myth.

Morning sickness is thought to be related to elevated levels of hormones including progesterone, estrogen and HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). Additional theories are linked to:

  • Zinc deficiencies
  • Genetic factors
  • Psychological factors

Again, your body is reacting to hormonal changes, not the gender of your baby

Generally, though, it is widely agreed upon by medical professional and researchers that there is no link between morning sickness and baby gender.

2 Chinese Gender Prediction Charts

An ancient Chinese gender prediction chart is thought to tell mommies and daddies-to-be whether they have a little boy or a little girl on the way. The chart, drawn up over 700 years ago, uses the mother’s age and the month of conception to determine what gender to expect.

While women from all over the world and across many cultures swear by this method, the fact is that it’s only right about half the time, which, as we’ve already established, is the same result as if you were flipping a coin. 

You've got a 50% chance no matter what really

Hearing all the amazing stories of this method working can be attributed to a natural behavior of voicing the success (as opposed to voicing its failure) online and to friends/family that then propels the myth further.

1 The Key Test

This test, to be administered to the pregnant woman unknowingly, involves dropping a key and having her pick it up. If she picks it up by the narrow part, she’s supposedly having a girl. If she grabs it by the round end, it’s a boy. This is kind of like that test where you’re told to check your fingernails and the way in which your hands are held when you check are an indicator of your sexual orientation. Are. You. Kidding. Me?

As someone who respects your intelligence, I’m not even going to get into why this one is a myth. At this point- you get it.

The only true way to know your baby’s gender is to have an ultrasound, which is normally done between weeks 18 and 20 of pregnancy. With about 80 to 90% accuracy, this test is highly dependable (but still not fool proof). Other tests like CVS (chorionic villus sampling) and DNA testing of the mother’s blood can also provide highly accurate results, but because of high costs and invasiveness, these are much less common.

You can either wait for your baby to come to find out, or let the ultrasound reveal the gender

No matter what the results, you’ll be blessed with the tiniest, cutest little munchkin who will love you unconditionally. While both genders offer their own respective advantages, the parts they’re working with (anatomically) are mere details. While I understand the fun of a surprise, reasons for wanting to know beforehand might include:

  • Nursery preparation
  • Baby clothes
  • Picking a name
  • Mental preparedness

If you’re serious about knowing, though, stay away from the old wives tales and consult the doctors. If you’re not into science, stick to your gut. There’s nothing quite like a mother’s intuition- listen to it! But maybe hold off on painting the nursery… 

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