Predicting The Sex Of Your Baby

Katie Young
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Wednesday - June 18, 2008

As soon as my friend got pregnant last year, people were trying to guess the sex of her baby. Because it was too early to tell from an ultrasound, friends and family relied on old wives’ tales and kooky Internet tests to determine if it would be a boy or a girl.

One Chinese astrology test online determined the baby was going to be a boy from her and her husband’s birthdays and the approximate date of conception. However, my friend’s mother-in law was sure the baby was going to be girl because my friend seemed overly emotional and her chest grew substantially during the first trimester.

Personally, I thought it was going to be a boy. I didn’t have any real reason, just a gut feeling - that turned out to be wrong when she discovered during the 17th week of pregnancy that it was going to be a girl.

I’ve heard all kinds of strange questions that will supposedly determine the sex of your baby. Determining, however, if your feet are colder than before, if you like to eat the heel of a loaf of bread or if the hair on your legs grows faster than before hardly seems like solid scientific reasoning.

One of my friends swears by tying a strand of the mother’s hair onto a ring to see if the ring spins around in a circle or sways from side to side over the mother’s stomach.

Pregnancy books warn, however, against tests such as the “Drano test,” which requires you to mix your urine with smelly chemicals that unclog drains. The color is then supposed to determine the sex of the baby, but the fumes and chemicals can cause more harm than good, so stay away from this one.

Guessing the sex of your baby during the early stages of pregnancy can be fun, I suppose - after all, you have a 50 percent chance of being right, right? But experts say that there is no real proof that the old wives tales are true.

Author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books, Ann Douglas, discusses a few old wives’ tales that supposedly predict the sex of your baby.

One such myth indicates that if a baby’s heart rate is less than 140 beats per minute you’re having a boy, while a heart rate of over 140 beats per minute means you’re having a girl. Douglas says, however, that there is only one study on the books that supports this theory. A 1993 study at the University of Kentucky concluded that the fetal heart rate could be used to correctly predict the sex of 91 percent of male fetuses and 74 percent of female fetuses. But every other study has reached the exact opposite conclusion about this method.

Others say that if you are experiencing severe morning sickness, you’re having a girl. I’ve heard that the baby girl hormones and the mommy hormones are too much “girl” hormones in one body, which makes you sick. I’ve also heard that a baby girl takes the beauty away from a mom whereas a baby boy makes mommy glow.

Douglas says that Swedish researchers discovered that 56 percent of women hospitalized with severe morning sickness ended up having girls, but findings are not definitive.

Another myth is that if the baby is very active, you’re having a boy. This myth, says Douglas, is based on rather sexist assumptions that males are boisterous while females are placid.

Personally, I am proof positive that this theory is wrong because when my mother was pregnant with me, everyone, including the doctor and nurses, thought I was going to be a boy since I was so active. My mother tells me I was going to be named “Thomas.”

Some say that if you’re carrying your baby high, it’s a girl; carrying low, it’s a boy. Douglas says English folk wisdom maintained this myth because it was thought that boys were carried low because they need greater independence while girls are carried high and across their mother’s body because they need greater protection.

One other myth claims that if you’re craving sweets, you’re having a girl, but if you’re craving salty foods, you’re having a boy. Again, Douglas says there is no hard evidence to support the idea that food cravings can determine the sex of your child.

Typically, you can find out the sex of your baby via ultrasound somewhere between the 16th and 18th weeks of pregnancy. So until then, have fun guessing - but hold off on painting the nursery until you know for sure.

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