Myths are like babies in that there seems to be one born every second. As for myths about babies, well, they've been around for about as long as babies themselves. So ingrained are these old wives tales into our culture, it's hard to tell whether they're true or not unless science puts them to the test.
The labcoat contingent has already debunked such seemingly sage advice as risks affecting the fetus whenever you dye your hair and that cases of heartburn indicate your baby won't be born bald. Now here's another one: if your neck has a darker discoloration, chances are your forthcoming child will be a boy.
First, it's not uncommon for pregnant women to experience those changes on their necks. Physicians call them "chloasma" or "melasma", which might also darken whatever moles or freckles you have. Women might also develop darker patches of pigment on their faces and foreheads, which folklore usually refers to as the "mask of pregnancy."
Regardless of where the changes occur, the darker buildup of epidermal layers is a sign that you're generating more melanin, a hormone that controls your body's ability to tan, for the baby. Regardless of the gender of your child, roughly two-thirds of women produce the hormone during pregnancy, which is totally harmless to you and your baby. They also fade away in a few months after the baby is born, although they're likely to reoccur if the woman has another baby.
But physicians also warn woman to keep an eye out for rashes, itchiness or sores on the skin while pregnant. If they persist after a few days, they're advised to see a family doctor, as these conditions could be signs of a condition dubbed "obstetric cholestasis", which might cause an early pregnancy. The condition can be controlled, however, with a regular application of medicated cream or antihistamines, while your doctor will need to monitor your baby's process all the way to the delivery.
Still, the best predictor of gender is a sonogram, which has a 95 percent accuracy rate, when taken during the fifth month of a woman's pregnancy. While the overall purpose of a sonogram is to monitor the baby's health and its position in the womb, eager parents wondering whether they'll have a boy or girl will usually get a good indicator at that stage.