There are so many old wives’ tales claiming to predict gender that it’s difficult to filter them down to a manageable few. Each declares themselves to be alarmingly accurate and far better than their competitors.
But here is the absolute truth: every mother has a 50% chance of having a boy, and 50% chance of having a girl, with each and every pregnancy. Even in families where there is a tendency towards having only boys or only girls, every conception is still based on 50/50 odds.
This means that 50% of the time any old wives’ tale will be right. And even if the gender prediction is wrong, there is no harm in having a little fun. Just be mindful that the following information is intended purely for entertainment purposes only. If you’re really keen to know the sex of your baby you’ll need to keep away from old wives and ask your healthcare provider.
Do you have a dark line, known as a Linea Nigra, extending from your navel to your pubic bone? Then you are likely to be having a girl. But if this line reaches upwards from your pubic bone to below your ribcage, then you are probably going to have a boy.
Likewise, if your areolas surrounding your nipples are very dark, then blame those boy genes.
Are you getting heartburn? Then it’s more likely you’re going to have a girl and she’s going to have lots of hair.
Your skin test
Do you find yourself reaching for the moisturiser? If your skin is dry you’re more likely to be having a boy but if your skin is soft, a girl is on the cards.
How you carry your pregnant belly
If your belly seems to be carrying your baby low, then you are more likely to be having a boy. If you’re carrying high and all out in front, then prepare for a girl. This theory doesn’t allow for the mother’s individual body shape or her trunk size, which can really make a difference to belly shape. Muscle tone and strength can also make a difference to how a pregnant mother looks. Women who have had more than one pregnancy often “show” earlier and look bigger at the same gestational age than women in their first pregnancy.
The baby’s heart rate
This is one of the most popular old wives tales on how to predict whether a boy or girl is coming. If the baby’s heart rate is more than 140 beats per minute (BPM) then you may be having a girl. But if the heart rate is at a more sedate pace, say under 140 BPM, then a boy is more likely. Be reassured that any foetal heart rate between 120-160 BPM is within a normal range. Your baby’s heart rate will change as a result of their maturity and activity, just like yours.
How’s your hair looking?
Do you find yourself looking wistfully at old photos and wondering where all those thick lustrous locks have gone? Is your hair looking dull, thin and just a little bit sad? Then you could be having a girl baby. More luxurious, thicker hair is said to be due to boy genes. Likewise, if your legs are becoming a little more hairy and you’re reaching for the razor every couple of days, then this maybe because you’re having a boy.
Do you see some red highlights creeping through your normal hair colour? Then a girl is sure to be on her way!
Having an adolescent breakout?
Don’t despair, pimples and oily skin are supposed to mean a girl is coming. If you’re reaching for the moisturiser and hand lotion then a boy is predicted.
Feeling any morning sickness?
Make way for a girl if you’re rushing to the bathroom. According to those old wives, women who don’t get morning sickness are growing a boy. There may be some truth to this one because women who are pregnant with girls seem to produce more Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin Hormone, which contributes to pregnancy nausea.
What are you craving?
Are you weighing down the shopping trolley with meat, fish, cheese, dairy foods and animal protein? Then be prepared to have a little boy. But if you’re craving sweets, juice, fruit and more sugar, then a girl is predicted.
There is some research to support the theory that pregnant women who crave more food each day are more likely to be having a boy. This may account for the comparatively higher birth weight of boys than girls.
Which way are you sleeping?
Believe it or not, the direction you place your head when you sleep is meant to signify whether a girl or boy is coming. If you lie on your left side then prepare for a boy. If you’re more of a rightie then break out the pink clothing.
How much do you weigh?
If you’re finding those extra kilos are settling around your bottom and thighs, then a girl is coming. But if that weight is at the front then a boy is more likely.
The wedding ring swing
Now this old wives’ tale is a bit of fun. Get your wedding ring – or one belonging to someone else and tie a piece of hair or string to it. Next, lie down and hold the hair/string so that the ring dangles over your belly. Be patient and wait until the ring starts to move. If it goes around in a circle then a boy is coming. If the ring moves from side to side then a girl is in your future.
Are you blooming?
If you feel your looks have taken a turn for the better then a boy is more likely. But if you’re feeling less than attractive, you may want to blame little Miss Sunshine. Old wives tales claim that baby girls take their mother’s looks from them. Must be a practice run for all the other little things they’ll want to borrow in the future.
A rounder face is said to signal a baby girl, but a thinner face, it is said, indicates a boy.
Is your partner getting a little podgy?
Blame those girl genes. Apparently male partners who put on weight do so because a baby girl is coming. But if he stays the same weight throughout your pregnancy, it’s more likely that your baby is going to be a boy.
Find yourself reaching for some socks?
If you’ve got cold feet, don’t blame the weather. Chances are that your cold feet are caused by that little boy in your belly. How exactly this prediction came into modern folklore is a mystery in itself.
Unequal breast size?
A bigger right breast is said to indicate a boy baby. A bigger left breast is an indicator for a girl. Who would have thought?
Do you want a basketball or a watermelon?
Old wives’ tales say that if your belly looks like a basketball then you have a boy in your belly. But if it’s more of a watermelon shape, then prepare for a girl. But don’t get too excited. Some old wives seem to have gotten their facts mixed up on this. It seems that some think that a basketball shape means a girl and a watermelon is a boy. You’ll just have to wait and see.
Does my nose look big in this?
Have your suddenly become more conscious of your nose? Does it look, well, just a bit bigger than it used to? According to the old wives club, this is because you’re having a boy. We can only hope that if this one’s true, that the poor mother’s nose goes back to its normal size once that little man is born.
Feeling a bit headachey?
Then blame those boy genes. It seems that women who are carrying boys get more headaches than those who are pregnant with girls. Headaches can be more common in the second trimester because of hormonal influence.
Eat your crusts!
If you’re not keen on eating the end crusts off a loaf of bread, then this is probably because you’re going to have a girl. Or then again, it may be just because you don’t like them.
I’m not moody!
But if you are, then a girl is more likely to be in your future. Those old wives say that when a woman is pregnant with a girl, she’s more moody than usual.
Be mindful of how you pick up a key
If you pick up a key by its long end then a boy is on his way. Grab it by the short end then a girl is coming. Or it could mean that one end was just closer than the other. But it seems logic doesn’t feature very highly in old wives’ thinking.
Is your wee trying to tell you something?
Next time you go to the toilet have a look before you flush. Those old wives say that bright yellow wee means a girl is brewing. Clearer, more straw-coloured wee indicates a boy. Or then again, perhaps this just means you’ve been drinking more water.
Facts are facts
Now that you’ve explored all the old wives’ tales around gender prediction, you may still find yourself none the wiser. Perhaps some have indicated you’re more likely to be having a girl and others claim a boy is more probable. If you really can’t wait to see what you’re having, then an ultrasound will offer you the most accurate assessment. But even they are not 100% guaranteed.
An amniocentesis is another option, though these come with an increased risk of miscarriage and are rarely offered solely for gender selection.
One of the lovely surprises of pregnancy is waiting to see what the sex of your baby will be. But if you’re one of the many who want to plan for a particular sex, then go more for the evidence-based tests. Just be careful if the sonographer looks like an old maid!