Boy or Girl? Fact or Fiction?

Whether you believe it or not, every woman will hear some magical way to determine the sex of her child. Scientifically, the only ways to find out whether your baby will be a girl or a boy is to have an ultrasound performed sometime after the 20th week of pregnancy or, if you're having an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling done, you can ask about your baby's sex. If you are thinking of getting pregnant and want to learn more about the latest scientific methods on this subject, take a peek at the book "How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby."

Alternatively, you can wait until your baby is born and see for yourself. However, if you want something a bit more fun (although not necessarily very reliable), here are some old wives tales that claim to be able to determine the sex of your baby. You can try some for yourself and see if everyone is predicting the same sex of your baby.

Myth or Fact? Old Wives Tale or True Pregnancy Knowledge?

Carrying High, Carrying Low

The way you are carrying during your pregnancy is one of the most oft cited ways of determining the sex of your baby. The general story goes that, if you're carrying low, you're having a boy. If you are carrying high, then you must be having a girl. Science says "NO, NO, NO!" to this: the way you carry is determined by muscle and uterine tone as well as the position of your baby. But who's to say that boys don't like being lower in their mom's stomach while girls prefer a view from the top?

What Your Urine Says

This next test to determine a baby's sex may not be for everyone, although it is very simple. Just take a sample of your urine and mix it with Drano. Depending on the color change of your urine, you will have a boy or a girl. Unfortunately, there is no consensus on what color equals which sex. So, if you do decided to try this and your urine turns bluish yellow, brownish, brown, black or blue you will be having a boy. If your urine looks more greenish brown, green, blue or doesn't change at all, then you're having a girl. But be warned: if you decide to do this test, there could be some pretty harsh fumes produced - not to mention the possibility of an explosion!

Have You Heard of Urine DNA Testing for Baby Gender?

Yes, the Drano test is really popular – moms to be just love mixing the potions, watching the white smoke clear and observing the color change. But unfortunately, the Drano test is not scientifically accurate. You do of course, have a 50% probability that the result will be correct but if you wanted a probability of 99% with a baby gender test using urine than why not opt for a DNA test?

Yes, there is a scientifically validated DNA test that uses maternal urine samples to tell you the sex of your baby. This DNA test can be done at just 9 weeks so that gives you ample time to decide on clothes, names and bedroom color schemes. You might at this point ask yourself how the baby gender test works. Well, the DNA of the baby you are carrying is currently swishing around in your blood stream. Now as you probably know, your blood gets filtered by your kidneys. Once in your kidneys, this very efficient filtering organ flushes out your baby’s DNA with your urine. Using a very advanced method of analyzing the urine sample, scientists can determine if your baby is male or female depending on the baby DNA fragments they find in your urine.


One belief that has been around for some time, and even had some acceptance in the medical community at one point, is that the fetal heartbeat differs for boys and girls. If you're having a girl, then the fetal heart rate will be above 140. A boy will have a heart rate below 140. However, that pesky science has reared its little head again to say that this is complete fiction. A baby's heart rate is not affected by its sex until it is born, when a girl's heart rate will increase considerably compared with boys during labor.

Craving Something…Sweet?

Many people believe that your cravings are caused by the sex of your baby. So, if you can't get enough chocolate, you could be having a girl. Does the idea of drinking straight lemon juice sound delicious to you? Then those sour cravings are a result of the little boy inside of you. However, if you go by the scientists, then some of them will claim that you're not even having cravings because cravings just don't exist.

Weight Gain

Thankfully, this one doesn't refer to your weight gain. The belief is that, if your husband puts on weight during your pregnancy, then you will be having a girl. If he doesn't put on a pound, then you're carrying a boy.

Is Her Face Round and Full?

Some say that the shape and fullness of your face during pregnancy can indicate your baby's sex. Every woman gains weight differently during pregnancy, and every woman experiences different skin changes. If people tell you that because your face is round and rosy you are having a girl, they might be right - but it's just as likely that they are wrong!

At-Home Tests

Here's a test that you can do next time you change or get out of the bath. Look in the mirror at your breasts. If the right one is larger, you're having a boy! A larger left breast indicates a girl (if they're the same size, does that mean you're having one of each?).

Hold a pendant over your hand. If the necklace swings back and forth, you're having a boy. If it is more of a circular motion, then it's a girl. This can also be done by suspending a ring on a string above your belly.

Do you have acne? Some believe that getting acne during your pregnancy indicates you're carrying a girl. Maybe the acne is caused by twice the amount of female hormones?

Pick up a key. If you've picked it up by the thinner end, you're having a girl. Picking it up by the bottom, rounder part means a boy is on the way. Did you pick it up by the middle? Then congratulations! You're having twins!

Ask yourself what you think you're having. In a study that asked women with no previous knowledge about their baby's sex, the moms-to-be correctly guessed the sex of their baby 71% of the time.

Other Pregnancy Beliefs

If you hold your arms above your head, your baby's umbilical cord will get wrapped around its head and choke it. This myth may have a spiritual basis or it may have been a way to keep women from doing anything when they were pregnant (perhaps the myth was created by an overworked mother?). However, if your baby gets caught up in its umbilical cord (which happens in about a 1/3 of births) it is because your baby was very fidgety inside of you and moved around a lot, not because of you.

Similar to this is the belief in Hawaiian tradition that pregnant women should not wear leis. This folktale believed that wearing a lei would cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby's head and choke it. Nowadays, most people recognize that this folktale is a little over-the-top.

A pregnant woman should not take baths. This myth is routed in the belief that water can get into the vagina and thereby introduce bacteria to the baby. Scientists have proven that water does not enter a woman's vagina during a bath. In fact, baths will probably help pregnant women feel better by helping them relax.

Can You Determine the Sex of Your Baby Before it is Even Conceived?

There are old wives tales that dictate what you should do to increase your chances of conceiving a girl or a boy, depending on what you want. And modern science is even getting itself involved in this one. There are books that will tell you the best time during your ovulation cycle to conceive a girl or a boy. There are also kits that come with charts, thermometers and vitamins to help create the "ideal" environment to produce a particular sex.

And then there are older methods based in Chinese lore that are said to aid in the sex selection. If you are really determined to have a girl or a boy, you can even have a scientist create the correct sexed zygote to implant inside of you. With the exception of the scientist who manipulates your fertilized egg, none of these methods can definitely determine the sex of your baby.

As you go through your pregnancy, it can be fun to collect these tales, and many baby books have sections for you to record predictions. However, for medical advice pertaining to pregnancy, you should consult your doctor first. For example, before you rely too heavily on your mother's idea that the baby is a boy, talk to your doctor about getting an ultrasound if you want to know for sure.

Keep in mind that every woman's pregnancy is different: your doctor will know that and provide information tailored for your medical situation.

Chat with other women about pregnancy old wives tales, myths and superstitions in our womens health forum on pregnancy.

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the only sign that was correct for me was carrying low... Im 22 weeks pregnant with a lil man! All other signs point to girl lol My face is getting fuller, Every other list has talked about skin and apperance, if you are more glowing and full bodied hair etc its a boy but if you had prettier days pre pregnancy like now having dry skin, dry hair, dull skin being signs of girl ya well lol I have never had dry brittle hair in my life or dry facial skin and pimples i now have all of the above and its still a boy <3 i even have a small part of my lower back that is dry. its said that girls are responsible for "sucking" the beauty out of their mommies well looks like im gonna have a handsome lil man because hes sure draining me lol
3 years ago
As for the pregnant women should not take baths 'myth', my doctor advised me not to take hot baths (or use hot tubs and so forth) during pregnancy since it raises the body temperature. I received this advice from three independent physicians. So...the reasoning given above was false, but maybe it's still not always advisable for pregnant women to take baths. (I wish it were - I miss my baths enough that I sought a second and third opinion!)
3 years ago
Im shocked cuz I just gave birth to a girl when i thought the whole pregnancy that I was having a boy!!!! We did not want to know the baby gender on the ultrasound cause me and my hubby love surprises!!!! i was carrying low and everyone said for sure its a boy. My girlfriend did the pendant test on me and it swung back and forth just like the old wives tales say and so we both thought that its a boy. i even dreamed it was a boy and we only picked out boy names. So with no signs of having a girl, guess what? just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl!!!!
4 years ago