Curious about the sex of the tiny tenant who’s been subletting your uterus for
the past nine months? You’re not alone. Since the beginning of time, expectant
parents have tried to guess whether the baby they are carrying is a boy or a girl.
Here’s the scoop on seven of the most prevalent myths about predicting the sex
of your baby.
1. “A heartrate of less than 140 beats per minute means that you’re
having a boy while a heartrate of over 140 beats per minute
means that you’re having a girl.” Although this particular myth has been
kicking around for decades, there’s only one study on the books that
supports it: a 1993 study at the University of Kentucky that concluded that
the fetal heartbeat could be used to correctly predict the sex of 91% of male
fetuses and 74% of female fetuses. Every other study conducted before or
since has reached the exact opposite conclusion – that the fetal heartrate
can’t be used to predict the sex of your baby.
2. “If you’re carrying your baby high, it’s a girl. If you’re carrying your
baby low, it’s a boy.” If you’ve managed to get through nine months of
pregnancy without having someone predict the sex of your baby based on
the shape of your belly, count your blessings! Many people still lend credence
to a rather sexist bit of English folk wisdom that states that boys are carried
down low and out front because they need greater independence while girls
are carried up high and across their mother’s body because they need greater
protection – the origin of this particular sex prediction myth.
3. “If you are experiencing severe morning sickness, you’re having a
girl.” Theories such as this one have been tossed around for years, but a
recent study added more fuel to the fire. Swedish researchers discovered
that 56% of women hospitalized with severe morning sickness ended up
giving birth to baby girls. Even if there is something to this study – something
that’s led to more than a few heated arguments among obstetricians – the
findings aren’t exactly definitive. At best, you can conclude that you may
have a slightly higher-than-average chance of having a baby girl if you’re
feeling exceptionally crummy. It’s up to you whether you want to paint the
nursery pink on that basis!
4. “If the baby is very active, you’re having a boy.” Here’s yet another theory
based on some rather sexist assumptions: males are boisterous while females
are placid. What this theory fails to take into account, however, is the fact that
the amount of fetal activity that the mother feels is largely a matter of
perception. If she’s running around at breakneck speed all day, she may fail to
pick up on the movements of all but the most energetic of fetal kickboxers!
5. “If you’re craving sweets, you’re having a girl. If you’re craving salt,
you’re having a boy.” While it would be convenient if you could rely on your
craving for chocolate as proof positive that there’s a baby girl on the way, there’s
no hard evidence that cravings are linked to the sex of your baby. In fact, the jury’s
still out on whether cravings exist at all! So don’t count on your cravings – real
or imagined – to tell you whether to buy pink or blue.
6. “If a wedding ring or needle suspended over your belly moves in a
strong circular motion, you’re having a girl. If it moves to and fro like
a pendulum, you’re having a boy.” This particular method of predicting the
sex of your baby works much like a ouija board. Micro-muscle tremors over
which you have no control cause the ring to move in a particular direction – a
sensation that can be spooky to say the least, but that doesn’t tell you a thing
about the sex of your baby.
7. “The Chinese conception chart can tell you if you’re having a boy or a
girl.” The Chinese conception chart – the brainchild of a 13th century scientist –
claims to be able to help you to predict the sex of the baby by linking your age
and the month of conception to the sex of the baby. While it has a reputation
for being highly accurate in China, it simply hasn’t been able to stand up to the
same scrutiny here in North America.
So if these myths are consistently off the mark, why do we keep turning to them
again and again? According to the experts, there are two factors at work: the fact
that you’ve got a 50/50 chance of being right each time you predict your baby’s sex
and the fact that you’re more likely to remember your successes than your failures!