Last Updated on January 23, 2023 by Ines
We were investigating old wives’ tales for gender prediction. Do any of them hold water? What signs are supposed to indicate that you are pregnant with a baby boy or girl? Can something you do at the time of conception affect the gender of the baby?
Pregnancy is accompanied by many myths, especially when it comes to the baby’s gender prediction.
Some parents want to know the baby’s gender as soon as possible. Others choose to wait until birth. But all of them are at least a little curious if it is a boy or a girl from the very first day they’ve found out about the pregnancy.
Is it a boy or a girl?
The first and the biggest wish of every parent is to have a healthy child. But it is nothing wrong if you fancy a girl or you wish to have a baby boy. Yes, we all know that in the end, you will love your child regardless of gender, but still … there are various reasons why someone would want a baby of a particular gender.
There are quite a few myths about the various factors that affect a child’s gender. It is supposed to be influenced by the parents’ age, eating habits, time of conception, etc.
After conception come the gender prediction theories. Some pregnancy symptoms supposedly indicate what you are carrying. For instance, a craving for sweets makes you more likely to be having a girl, while a boy will make you crave savory, salty foods, meat, and cheese in particular.
Old wives’ tales that date back to the time of our great-grandparents are fun and worth trying. Just do not forget that all of them are by no means scientifically proven and do not guarantee the desired result!
Old Wives’ Tales For Baby Gender Prediction
Some of the most popular theories say that a baby’s gender depends on:
- parents’ age
- maternity diet
- time of the year
So let’s look into them a little more closely and see if any of them actually holds water.
1. Can parents’ age predict the baby’s gender?
Old Wives’ Tale No.1: Older women are more likely to give birth to a girl
Explanation: Statistically, the higher maternal age does increase the percentage of born girls, especially in women who conceive older than 35 years. The baby’s gender is affected by the hormone gonadotropin, whose level in a woman’s body increases with age.
The baby’s gender is supposed to be influenced by the father’s age too. Older is the father, higher is the chance of a girl being born. With age, sperm contains more X chromosomes than Y, increasing the likelihood that an egg will be fertilized with an X chromosome.
Verdict: The statistic does not guarantee you will have a girl if you are older.
2. Can a parent’s diet define the baby’s gender?
Old Wives’ Tale No.2: Some traditional beliefs suggest that eating certain foods can influence the sex of offspring.
Explanation: Most of them relate to increased calorie intake and adjusting the pH of the mother’s body. But I have to disappoint you. There is no proven evidence that a specific diet defines a baby’s gender!
3. Pre-pregnancy stress levels
Old Wives’ Tale No.3: Maternal stress affect a baby gender
Explanation: Quite a few studies have confirmed that more girls than boys were born during wars.
That actually could be a consequence of severe stress. Stress raises the levels of hormones cortisol and testosterone, which cause certain conditions that make it more difficult for the sperm carrying the Y chromosome to fertilize the egg. On the contrary, sperm carrying the X chromosome does not appear to have these problems, so it is more likely it reaches the egg and fertilizes it.
However, it is still not fully explained why this happens. The reason for the poorer survival of the Y chromosome under maternal stress is still unclear and requires further research.
4. The time of year in which you conceive
Old Wives’ Tale No.4: For a girl, you have to conceive in winter, and for a boy in spring
Explanation: One German study, which looked at as many as 63,976 births between 1965 and 1970, found that more boys were conceived in the spring and girls in the winter, while the summer and autumn yielded relatively equal results.
The result is associated with other factors, such as a varied and enriched diet in the spring and an increase in viruses and diseases in the winter.
Verdict: Yet again, more studies have to be done for the confirmation.
Signs that it’s a boy or a girl
Predicting the sex of your baby
Yes, you can find out the gender of your child by a simple blood test or anatomy ultrasound. But people have been trying to predict the sex of their babies for centuries, so why wouldn’t you give it a try too … just for fun.
So, let’s take a look at old wives’ tales, urban legends, and myths about gender prediction. The following signs and symptoms in pregnancy supposedly indicate that you are carrying a girl or boy.
The way you’re carrying
Myth: If a woman is carrying low, she might be having a boy. If her belly is high, she is probably getting a girl.
Explanation: The position of your belly has nothing to do with the baby’s gender, but it depends mostly on your belly muscle tone. Women who are pregnant for the first time tend to have firmer abdominal muscles, therefore, their belly is usually higher.
The belly’s shape
Myth: If your belly looks like a basketball ball, you are having a boy. On the contrary, a wide low belly, with weight around the hips suggests a girl.
Explanation: Your belly’s shape has more to do with the baby’s position and your body’s shape. If the baby’s back is parallel to the mother’s back, the pregnant belly is smaller. If the baby lies horizontally to the mother’s spine, the bump is lower and larger.
Myth: Morning sickness for the first twelve weeks is an indicator for a baby girl. If it shows up a little later, then you will have a boy. Morning sickness and vomiting are also said to be more severe in those expecting a girl.
Explanation: The myth suggests that women expecting a girl carry twice as many female hormones that cause mood swings, nausea, and vomiting. Of course, this is not true. Morning sickness is the result of elevated levels of the hormone hCG and impacts the majority of pregnancies to some degree.
So far, studies didn’t confirm the link between morning sickness and gender. Therefore, it is probably best to wait for the baby to be born before painting all the nursery walls blue or pink.
Food cravings during pregnancy
Myth: Women who are craving sweet stuff are having a girl. Those who eat salty foods are going to have a boy.
Explanation: Food cravings during pregnancy are not fully explained yet. However, they are probably the result of nutritional deficiency during pregnancy, hormones, and cultural factors.
The baby’s heart rate
Myth: Fetal heart rate can indicate your baby’s gender. If it is slower than 140 beats per minute (BPM), it is a baby boy. If it is over 140 BPM, you are carrying a baby girl.
Expert opinion: There’s no difference between fetal heart rates for boys and girls. Yes, girls’ BPM is usually faster than boys’, but only after birth.
The fetus’s heart rate does vary, but only with the age of the fetus. It is around 80 BPM at the beginning of the pregnancy, at its peak around the ninth week (170 to 200 BPM), and decreases to 120 to 160 BPM by the middle of the pregnancy.