Old Wives' Tales Are For The Birds!

Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything in Between and The Mother of All Baby Books: The Ultimate Guide to Your Baby's First Year, is here at Pregnancy & Baby! Read Ann's advice on everything from keeping romance alive amidst the structure and stress of baby-making to weathering the storms of morning sickness to preparing for the birth of your dreams.
Ann Douglas

More Mom's the Word by Ann Douglas

Who's in there?
Curious about the sex of the tiny tenant who's been subletting your uterus for the past nine months? You're not alone. Since the beginning of time, expectant parents have relied on a variety of old wives' tales to predict the sex of their baby. Here's the scoop on five perennial favorites.

"If you're carrying your baby high, it's a girl. If you're carrying your baby low, it's a boy."
Many people still lend credence to a rather sexist bit of English folk wisdom that states that boys are carried down low and out front because they need greater independence, while girls are carried up high and across their mother's body because they need greater protection -- the origin of this particular sex prediction myth.

"If the baby is very active, you're having a boy."

Here's yet another theory based on some rather sexist assumptions: males are boisterous while females are placid. What this theory fails to take into account, however, is the fact that the amount of fetal activity that the mother feels is largely a matter of perception. If she's running around at breakneck speed all day, she may fail to pick up on the movements of all but the most energetic of fetal kickboxers!

"If you're craving sweets, you're having a girl. If you're craving salt, you're having a boy."
While it would be convenient if you could rely on your craving for chocolate as proof positive that there's a baby girl on the way, there's no hard evidence that cravings are linked to the sex of your baby. In fact, the jury's still out on whether cravings exist at all! So don't count on your cravings -- real or imagined -- to tell you whether to buy pink or blue.

"If a wedding ring or needle suspended over your belly moves in a strong circular motion, you're having a girl. If it moves to and fro like a pendulum, you're having a boy."
This particular method of predicting the sex of your baby works much like a ouija board. Micro-muscle tremors over which you have no control cause the ring to move in a particular direction -- a sensation that can be spooky to say the least, but that doesn't tell you a thing about the sex of your baby.

"A heartrate of less than 140 beats per minute means that you're having a boy, while a heartrate of over 140 beats per minutes means that you're having a girl."
Although this particular myth has been kicking around for decades, there's only one study on the books that supports it: a 1993 study at the University of Kentucky that concluded that the fetal heartbeat could be used to correctly predict the sex of 91% of male fetuses and 74% of female fetuses. Every other study conducted before or since has reached the exact opposite conclusion -- that the fetal heartrate can't be used to predict the sex of your baby.

While it's okay to have fun with these old wives tales, it's important not to take them too seriously. Otherwise you could end up with a closet full of pink frilly dresses for your tiny newborn son!PregnancyAndBaby.com

Tags: myth

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