Boy or girl? The theories of gender-guessing

Women have been getting pregnant since the beginning of time, and ever since then, their families, friends, medics and complete strangers have all been busy trying to guess the sex of the baby before it is born.

We have been guessing for so long that it is surprising that we have not come up with a DIY method of gender prediction that is guaranteed to work. Parents-to-be can have a lot of fun trying to guess, and there is always a lot of speculation about whether any of the gender theories are true. For every person who swears by a particular method, there will be someone else who is equally convincing and ready to debunk it. The old wives’ tales were probably more heavily relied upon in the days before ultrasounds, and today, many families opt to find out the sex at the 20-week scan. This is by far the most reliable way to predict baby’s gender, and even then, you can only be 100% sure when he or she is in your arms. So just for fun, here are some of the most popular methods of gender prediction – along with the thinking behind them.
The skull theory

This theory claims that at the 12-week scan, the forehead of a baby girl will have a soft, round shape. In a baby boy, the forehead will look flatter, straighter, and slope backwards. Even if this were proven it would still be very hard to assess, because the way the picture looks will depend on its angle, the position of the baby and the way their head is turned at the time.
The nub theory

The theory focuses on the position or angle of the nub, which is usually visible at the 12-week scan. Up to 14 weeks of pregnancy, babies of either gender have a protrusion between their legs, which will develop into either male or female genitalia as baby grows. On a 12-week scan image this “nub” can look like the end of the spine.  Some people say that if the nub is pointing up, at an angle of 30 degrees or more, then baby is a boy. If it is more horizontal, presenting at an angle of less than 30 degrees then you are having a girl.

Critics point out that scan pictures are not always clear, and that the image depends on a number of factors, including the position of the baby and the level of amniotic fluid. A study of a London sample claimed an accuracy rate of 59% at 11 weeks, rising to over 90% at 14 weeks, but all the predictions were made by experts. What this does tell us is that the earlier the scan is performed, the less reliable this method will be.
Baby’s heart rate

This is the theory that if your unborn baby’s heart rate is below 140 beats per minute then it is a boy. A heart rate that is higher means that baby is a girl.  A lot of mums-to-be pay close attention to the heart rate, and a number of studies have been carried out over the years. However, only one of these has ever supported the theory, and this was conducted in Kentucky in 1993.
Morning sickness

The theory claims that if you have severe morning sickness in your pregnancy it means that you are having a girl. Higher levels of a hormone called chorionic gonadotropin are produced in women carrying baby girls, which could lead to more cases of morning sickness.  Researchers in Sweden found that 56% of women who suffered badly with morning sickness gave birth to baby girls, however this is actually a very small margin and further studies are needed.
The “bicarb test”
This is a DIY gender test for the second trimester. Place a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda into a clean disposable cup, and add a midstream urine sample.  The theory goes that if the mixture fizzes, baby is a boy.  If nothing happens then it is a girl.
Mothers’ intuition

This is one theory that is bound to be right, some of the time. Some people have a “gut feeling” as to the gender of their baby, and sometimes they will be correct, sometimes not. However, some women feel they just know and are then proved right. Others have reported vivid dreams where they “see” their child exactly as they are when they are born, or perhaps the feeling may come on suddenly at a strange time, such as following a bereavement, and turn out to be true. mall studies and polls tend to report a success rate of around 70%, which is much higher than other theories. So maybe we should all put the bicarb away and just trust our instincts.
The Old Wives’ tales at a glance:

You could be having a boy if:

  • Your nipples have become darker
  • The hair on your legs grows quicker than before
  • Your skin is dry
  • Your partner puts on weight as well
  • You are looking well, or glowing
  • You are craving meat, salty and spicy foods
  • You get a lot of headaches
  • You are carrying low, with a neat bump
  • Your baby’s heartbeat is lower than 140 beats per minute
  • You didn’t suffer from morning sickness
  • Your right breast is bigger than your left
  • You look at yourself in the mirror for at least a minute and your pupils dilate
  • Your feet become cold more quickly than before you were pregnant
  • You tie your wedding ring to some thread, hang it over your stomach and it moves in circles
  • You combine your age at the time of conception with the number of the month you conceived and the resulting number is even
  • Your hair is full-bodied and shiny
  • You are more prone to headaches
  • Your pillow faces north when you sleep
  • You’re asked to show your hands and you present them palms down
  • You lie on your left side when sleeping
  • Your urine is bright yellow
  • You were the more aggressive partner during love-making when you conceived
  • You eat a clove of garlic and the smell seeps out of your pores
  • Your previous child’s first word was “dada”.

You could be having a girl if:

  • You get red highlights in your hair
  • You are craving fruit, fruit juice and sweet things
  • You become prone to mood swings
  • You do not look as good as before, with no “pregnancy glow”
  • You are prone to skin breakouts
  • You are carrying high, with an all-round bump
  • Your baby’s heartbeat is faster than 140 beats per minute
  • You missed the “blooming” period altogether
  • You suffered morning sickness during your first 12 weeks
  • Your left breast is bigger than your right
  • You look at yourself in the mirror for at least a minute, but your pupils don’t dilate
  • You tie your wedding ring to some thread, hang it over your stomach and it swings from side to side
  • You are more moody than usual
  • You’re asked to show your hands and you present them palms up
  • You were the less aggressive partner during love-making when you conceived
  • You eat a clove of garlic, but you don’t smell of it
  • You combine your age at the time of conception with the number of the month you conceived and the resulting number is odd
  • Your hair has become thinner and dull during pregnancy
  • You lie on your right side when sleeping
  • Your pillow faces south when you sleep
  • Your urine is dull yellow
  • Your previous child’s first word was “mama”.

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