Many soon-to-be parents use the baby’s heart rate as a means to discover what the gender will be. No one knows exactly how or when this idea came to be, but it has been around for generations.
This theory states that, if the foetal rate is above 140 beats per minute (BPM), then the baby is more likely to be a girl. If the heart rate is below 140 BPM then the chances are high that the baby will be a boy.
As far as prediction tests go, this one’s is harmless and reasonably convenient, too!
A baby’s heart rate can be detected from around 8 weeks using a hand-held Doppler. So, every time you go to your midwife or obstetrician for an antenatal check, remind them to count the number of BPM while they’re listening to your baby’s heart rate.
Am I having a boy or a girl?
Your weight, size, uterine growth and urine testing are all straight-forward markers for how your pregnancy is progressing. Why not break the monotony of your usual antenatal check-up by taking a guess as to whether you are having a boy or a girl?
Adding a bit of fun can also humanise your healthcare professional and give them a chance to help build a relationship with you.
But does the heart rate test work?
There is no existing evidence supporting the correlation between an unborn baby’s heart rate and its gender. Although some see it as a sure way to determine the baby’s gender, the many studies done have proven that there is no scientific evidence to back it up.
What does heart rate measure?
One of the benefits of doing scientific studies is that researchers often discover an entirely new set of results that differ to what they set out to find in the first place.
Interestingly, this is what happened when scientists were searching for a correlation between foetal heart rate and gender. What was found instead was that there is a change in a baby’s heart rate according to its gestational age. In short, as the baby matures, its heart rate adjusts to its size.
Likewise, the more active the baby, the higher their heart rate will be. And, during periods of inactivity and sleep, the baby’s heart rate tends to slow down. This is because less muscle movement requires less oxygen.
Your dreams and feelings could mean more
Women who are more educated have been noted to estimate their baby’s gender more accurately than others. A study done in the United States found that highly educated women who had based their baby’s gender suspicions on dreams and feelings, were right almost 3 out of 4 times. Pretty impressive, right?
Make sure you’re counting the heartbeat!
It is common for your midwife or obstetrician to listen for the baby’s heartbeat. However, the pulsating umbilical cord can often been confused with the sound of the actual heartbeat. Here’s how to tell the difference:
The umbilical cord makes more of a “whooshing” noise
The heart is a clearer, more defined “thump, thump” sound
Listening to both sounds at the same time gets confusing. It could easily fool you into thinking you’re having a girl because you’re counting more than just the heartbeat, and therefore, more BPM.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Heart rates are as individual as the baby and the circumstances of each mother’s pregnancy. On any given day, a baby’s heart rate will rise and fall according to what it is up to. It can also be influenced by the mother’s activity level and how fast her own heart is beating. Make sure you stay open-minded when it comes to using your baby’s heart rate as a means of predicting its gender.
Even an ultrasound does not offer a 100% guarantee of gender. The baby may have its legs crossed, be lying in a particular way or the umbilical cord may be obscuring its genitals from clear view. The only way you can be truly sure is to wait and see when your little one is born.
Bear in mind that chromosomal studies and amniocentesis are another more accurate way of determining gender. However, these procedures are not recommended unless there are genuine concerns about the baby inheriting a sex-linked chromosomal disorder or condition.