When you are pregnant, you and your family get curious to know the sex of the baby. This curiosity, over the generations, gave rise to several assumptions, tales, and myths about predicting the sex of a baby.
While these methods may be fun to try for a couple, they cannot be taken seriously as they are not scientifically proven. In this post, MomJunction tells you about several such myths of the so-called signs and symptoms of a baby boy during pregnancy.
What Determines The Sex Of A Baby?
The baby’s sex is determined by its chromosome make-up at the time of fertilization (when the sperm meets the egg). An embryo (or the baby) receives 23 chromosomes from each of the parents, where one pair is made up of the sex chromosomes that determine the sex of the baby. If the baby has two X chromosomes, it is a girl, and if it has one X and one Y chromosomes, it is a boy.
Sexual differences begin around the seventh week of pregnancy, and they are influenced by genetic and environmental factors too (1).
Signs You Are Having A Baby Boy – Myths vs. Facts
Here, we list down some of the common symptoms or signs that people commonly believe are indicative of a baby boy. Let us explore the myths that can make guessing the sex of the baby fun!
1. Morning sickness
Myth: When you are not experiencing morning sickness or nausea, it is a sign that you are carrying a baby boy.
Fact: Morning sickness (nausea and vomiting) is a common symptom of pregnancy affecting between 70% and 80% of pregnant women. It is mostly limited to the first trimester, but some women may experience it until delivery (2). Hormonal changes are believed to cause it, and not the sex of the baby.
2. Heart rate
Myth: If you notice that the heart rate of your baby remains under 140 beats per minute, it could indicate you are pregnant with a baby boy.
Fact: It is a misleading claim with no research to support it. A study titled Gender-Related Differences in Fetal Heart Rate during First Trimester debunks the myth saying there is no significant difference between heart rates of the boy and girl in the first trimester (3).
Irrespective of the sex, the normal fetal heart rate is 120 to 160 bpm. It may go higher (140 to 160bpm in early pregnancy, and lower (120 to 140bpm) towards the later stages of pregnancy (4).
3. Skin and hair condition
Myth: Your skin is likely to be pimple-free when carrying a boy, whereas a baby girl borrows the mother’s beauty, deteriorating her skin. The mother will also have longer and lustrous hair in case she’s carrying a boy.
Fact: There are no studies to support these claims. Changes in skin and hair during pregnancy are due to changes in hormone levels. Hormonal changes can result in clear skin and lustrous hair, or acne and hair fall, irrespective of the baby’s sex.
[Read: Gender Prediction Test]
4. Food cravings
Myth: If you crave for sour or salty foods, you are more likely to have a boy.
Fact: There is no scientific evidence that supports this claim. Cravings could be due to hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, pharmacologically active substances (present in specific foods), cultural and psychosocial factors. However, there isn’t enough more research to support these hypotheses (5).
5. Tummy positioning
Myth: Carrying low is one of the signs you are having a baby boy.
Fact: The way you carry does not indicate the baby’s sex. A research study published in the journal Birth, states that neither this nor the other ways of predicting a baby’s sex were right (6). The postural changes of a pregnant woman may be related to the size of the baby and the shape of your uterus (7).
6. Mood changes
Myth: You are not prone to mood swings if you are carrying a boy, but you will be if you are pregnant with a girl.
Fact: Mood swings during pregnancy are due to hormonal changes and not due to the baby’s sex (8).
7. Urine color
Myth: The color of your urine changes during pregnancy, and if it appears dark, it indicates that you are carrying a baby boy.
Fact: Urine changes are common during pregnancy. Dark urine might be a sign of dehydration, which could happen due to nausea and vomiting (9). Urine color may also change with foods, medications, and supplements, and is not related to sex prediction.
8. Breast size
Myth: When you carry a baby boy, your right breast is bigger than the left one.
Fact: Hormonal changes during pregnancy improve the blood flow and cause changes in the breast tissue that make them feel bigger. Breasts tend to swell as they prepare for breast milk supply to nurture your baby after birth (10). However, there is no evidence of breast changes being linked to the sex of the baby.
9. Cold feet
Myth: If you have icy-cold feet, it is an indication you are carrying a baby boy.
Fact: Cold feet during pregnancy could be due to poor blood circulation, diabetes, or extremely cold weather (11).Consult your doctor for further diagnosis and care.
[Read: Chinese Gender Chart]
10. Weight gain
Myth: When you carry a baby boy, the extra pounds are mostly visible at the stomach, but when you are carrying a girl, the weight is distributed all over the body, including the face.
Fact: Most pregnant women gain weight throughout their pregnancy, and a considerable weight gain is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy and is not determined by the sex of the baby (12).
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Medical Tests That May Indicate Your Baby’s Sex During Pregnancy
Some of the standard medical procedures that can be used to determine your unborn baby’s sex:
It is a non-invasive way to determine the sex of the baby and is usually done between weeks 18 and 22 (13). The ultrasonographer may not always detect the sex if the baby’s position is not ideal or if the pregnancy has not progressed. In these cases, you may have to go for a repeat scan.
2. Fetal DNA blood tests
New research by Diana W. Bianchi and her colleagues, published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, reveals that taking a blood test around weeks 6 to 10 may help detect the baby’s sex.
The mother’s blood carries traces of fetal DNA, which determines the Y-chromosomal sequence that could reveal the sex of the baby (14). These tests are usually not taken up unless you are over 35 years and need genetic investigation (15).
3. Genetic Testing
There are invasive tests that allow definitive determination of the sex. They include amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling (CVS), like fetal DNA blood test but might not detect the sex as early as them.
Amniocentesis is performed after the 15th week while CVS after 11th week (16). Both carry a low risk of miscarriage and therefore, could be considered for older couples and those with a history of genetic disorders.
If you want the sex of the baby to be a surprise, but still want to have fun guessing if it is a boy or a girl, we have a few ideas listed for you next.
Party Games To Identify You Are Carrying A Baby Boy
Here are some fun games that you can consider guessing the baby’s sex. Note that these practices are only for fun and are not scientifically backed or recommended methods to find out the baby’s sex.
1. The Wedding Ring Trick
- Tie your wedding ring with a long piece of string and then dangle the suspended ring over your bumped belly.
- If the ring swings in a circular motion, it could mean that you’re having a boy.
2. The Key To The Mystery
- In the following trick, you are told to pick up the key placed in front of you.
- According to traditional belief, if you grab the long end of the key, you are having a baby boy. However, if you pick the round end, you are having a baby girl.
3. Chinese Lunar Calendar
- The Chinese birth calendar invented more than 700 years ago is believed to help in the determination of your baby’s sex.
- The chart could determine your baby’s sex by using your exact birth date and month of your conception.
Trying to find out your baby’s sex may be exciting, but keeping it a surprise until you deliver the little one could be better. There may be fun ways to guess the sex, but they are just that – for fun and not definitive methods to predict the sex of the baby. Only scientific methods, when done accurately, may help in cases when sex detection is obligatory for some medical reasons. However, if prenatal sex determination tests are illegal in your country, then the doctors do not tell you about the sex of your baby.
Disclaimer: Sex-prediction methods are only for fun and do not replace medical examinations. MomJunction believes in gender equality; we do not support or encourage sex determination nor entertain any queries on finding the sex of the baby.
What do you think of such sex prediction methods? Let us know in the comment section below.
2. Noel M. Lee and Sumona Saha; Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy; Gastroenterol Clin North Am (2013)
3. McKenna D.S et al.; Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy; Karger Journals (2006)
4. Fetal Heart Beat; OB-GYN 101: Introductory Obstetrics & Gynecology; Medical Education Division, Brookside Associates, Ltd.
5. Natalia C. Orloff, Julia M. Hormes; Pickles and ice cream! Food cravings in pregnancy; Frontiers in Psychology
6. Perry DF et al.; Are women carrying “basketballs” really having boys? Testing pregnancy folklore; Birth (1999)
7. Antenatal Care Module: 7. Physiological Changes During Pregnancy; The Open University
8. Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy; The University of California, Santa Barbara (2017)
9. Hyperemesis Gravidarum; University of Rochester Medical Center
10. Normal Breast Development and Changes; University of Rochester Medical Center
11. Toe, Foot, and Ankle Problems, Noninjury; University of Michigan (2018)
12. Implementing Guidelines on Weight Gain & Pregnancy; The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of The National Academies
13. Prenatal Ultrasound; UC San Diego Health
14. Bianchi DW et al.; Isolation of fetal DNA from nucleated erythrocytes in maternal blood; Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. (1990)
15. First Trimester Screening; Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
16. Celine Lewis et al.; Non-invasive prenatal diagnosis for fetal sex determination: benefits and disadvantages from the service users’ perspective; Eur J Hum Genet. (2012)