Predicting the Sex of My Baby
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For most couples, it is possible to find out, or to be given a reasonably sure indication of your baby's sex from an ultrasound scan conducted around week 20 of pregnancy. However, in some cases this isn't always possible. For example, some hospitals have policies in which they will not disclose the sex of the baby. Also, sometimes the sonographer conducting the scan will not be able to see the baby's genitals clearly. Many mothers and fathers choose not to be told the sex of their baby, but that doesn't mean to say that they don't enjoy partaking in the guessing game at home!
How can I reliably tell the sex of my baby?
In short, the best way to tell is to wait until the baby is born and to see for yourself! However, sonographers are usually able to accurately tell the baby's gender at the second routine ultrasound scan. This usually takes place at around 20 weeks.
If you are required to attend any diagnostic tests to assess potential complications with the pregnancy (such as Chorionic Villus Sampling or Amniocentesis) then you will probably have the option of finding out the sex when you receive the results. However, you will not be offered these tests as a means of finding out the sex of the baby if there are no other reasons to have the tests.
I'm not sure whether I want to know the gender of my baby
Only you can make this decision (provided your hospital is happy to let you know the baby's sex), but make sure that you have made your decision and that you and your partner both agree before going into the hospital for the scan. It is also important to let the sonographer know your decision so that they don't inadvertently give the game away!
If you chose not to find out the sex, you might still enjoy trying to predict it using more traditional (if less reliable) means.
How else can I tell the sex of the baby?
There are a number of old wives' tales, myths and fashionable theories that come and go regarding how you can tell the sex of your baby yourself. Few of these have much scientific research to back them up, and if they do, the results are not significant enough to give you a reliable answer. However, that isn't to say that they won't help you to make a guess - you have a 50% chance of getting it right anyway!
If you have spent much of this pregnancy facing the toilet bowl and fighting your nausea then take heart, it's a girl! Although this myth has been thrown around for years, a Swedish researcher found that 56% of women hospitalised with severe sickness gave birth to a baby girl.
Eating for two?
Well firstly, you shouldn't actually be eating twice the amount as usual. Your additional calorie requirements are actually very small. However, research has shown that women with a noticeably increased appetite during pregnancy are more likely to expect a little boy.
During pregnancy many women experience cravings. In some cases it has been known for a mother to eat coal! However, a popular myth is that if you crave chocolate and sweet things then you will have a girl. If you crave savoury and salty expect a baby boy.
Is her heart racing?
Despite the fact that there is no evidence to prove it, many practitioners still stand by the old rule that a baby's heart rate above 140 BPM (beats per minute) indicates that it is a girl.
Check out your tummy zip!
The line that runs up many (but not all) pregnant women's stomach is called the linea nigra. Many people believe that if this line runs up to the mother's belly button and stops there then they are having a girl. If the line runs up beyond the belly button then supposedly the baby is a boy.
How are you carrying?
No scientific support exists for this theory but it is still one of the most popular. Apparently, if you are carrying your bump high, and if it is evident from behind that you are pregnant, then you are carrying a girl. If your bump appears low and your figure looks unchanged from behind then it's a boy. If this was actually true, most women would probably opt for a boy rather than be told that she looks pregnant from the back!
He'll be a footballer
If you feel like you are being beaten up from the inside, then it's a boy. There is nothing to prove that this is actually true but it won't stop many sporting fathers-to-be glowing with early pride.
Many women have different sized breasts all their life, but during pregnancy some believe that they can indicate the baby's sex. Apparently a boy will be given away by a larger right breast, a girl by a larger left breast. If they're identical then maybe you're having twins! This is another myth with no scientific backing but you probably won't be able to resist a peek anyway.
The 'ring on a piece of cotton' test
Tie a ring to a length of cotton (some say this must be your wedding ring but any ring will be as accurate). Dangle the ring over your tummy and watch to see whether it swings from side to side or in a circular motion. Side to side means that it is a boy, round and round means that it is a girl. This one could be rather easy to manipulate if you have a preference.
Husband's weight gain?
It has been known to predict the sex of the baby by the weight gain of the father. If he gains weight you are having a girl yet if he doesn't put on weight you can expect a boy.
No matter what I do, I can't get rid of these spots...
Some women are unfortunate to experience skin problems when pregnant. It is believed that should your skin break out with spots then you are expecting a girl because your daughter is 'taking your beauty'. If you experience no skin problems you will give birth to a boy.
I'm getting very hairy
If you are carrying a boy then you can expect an increase of body hair. This is because you have more of the male hormone, testosterone, in your body. If excess body hair does not materialise, a girl will be born, or so the old wives say.
Key to the door
Without prior knowledge of this myth, the mum is asked to pick up a standard key. If she picks up the key by the rounded end it will be a boy. If she picked up the long end it would suggest a girl. Should the key be picked up in the middle bit of the key twins can be expected.
Pick a number, any number.
This is a very strange method. It works by the mother picking a number and then working out its corresponding letter. (A = 1 B = 2 etc). The mother must then choose a name that begins with the letter chosen. If she chooses a girl's name then a girl is predicted. If she chooses a boy's then she is carrying a boy.
The mother is asked to show her hands. If the hands are shown palm up the baby will be a girl, if palm down it's a boy.
If you prefer to eat the ends of a bread loaf then apparently you will have a boy! Should you prefer the middle part of the loaf this suggests a girl.
Congratulations, here's the wooden spoon!
This is not a way of guessing your baby's sex, but actively influencing it. If you would prefer to have a baby girl then put a wooden spoon and a pair of scissors under your bed and a pink bow under your pillow. Perhaps if a blue ribbon is substituted a boy will be delivered.
Classic Chinese prediction?
This has been known to be a pretty accurate method. It works by calculating your age at conception with the number of the month the baby was conceived in. If the result comes back with an odd number you can expect a boy. If the number results with an even number you can expect to have a girl.
There are so many old wives' tales. Do people really believe these things?
No matter how sensible you are, if you are told enough times by enough wise-looking types that you are going to have a boy because of the shape of your bump or from a dream that they had - you will probably end up believing them! Nine months is a long time to wait to meet your little one, so you may as well indulge those who enjoy these games of prediction, even if you don't. Predicting the sex of your baby by these methods is also a fun way of passing the time before you can know for sure.
Words of caution
There are also old wives' tales out there which can be very dangerous to try. A common misconception is that you can find out the sex of your baby by mixing urine with Drano. This is totally false and the fumes from the Drano can be harmful to you and your baby.
Most of the methods above are fun and harmless, but remember to always be safe and never use dangerous chemicals or herbs to 'predict' the sex of your baby.