How to Tell If You’re Having a Girl or Boy

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Is there any way to tell if you’re having a girl or boy? In a world increasingly guided by scientific explanation, there’s one area where even the most rational minds might indulge in a little mythology: pregnancy.

Perhaps it’s the lasting sense of mystery surrounding the creation of a new life. Or maybe excited parents-to-be have trouble waiting for (expensive) medical confirmation of details like gender, which is typically revealed by ultrasound at 20 weeks. Twenty weeks can be a long time to wait. Or maybe it’s just fun to speculate while you’re sitting around watching your belly grow.

No matter the cause, clearly there’s something appealing about gender-predicting old wives’ tales, because there are dozens of them. There’s the heart-rate method, the ring-swing method, the “how sick are you” approach and Chinese lunar predictions, not to mention determinations based on keys, acne, dreams, skin tone, food cravings and Drano.

Do those old wives’ tales really work?

How to tell if you’re having a girl or boy

While none of these methods is going to predict a baby’s gender with anything greater than 50/50 accuracy whether you’ll have a girl or boy, it can be fun to experiment. The only fool-proof way to know the gender of a fetus is via amniocentesis or ultrasound. And even ultrasound can fail if the fetus has his or her legs crossed.

1. How are you carrying?

Perhaps the most popular of all “boy” methods is the “high or low” determination. It typically goes: If the woman is carrying high, it’s a girl; if she’s carrying low, it’s a boy.

This approach is so pervasive, you’ve probably heard it even if you’ve never been pregnant or been close to someone who’s pregnant. People who would never swing a ring over a woman’s belly to determine the sex of the fetus might give credence to the “how’s she carrying” approach.

On its face, the statement doesn’t sound all that unscientific—or least not as unscientific as the old swing a ring over a woman’s pregnant belly trick. After all, it at least seems possible that the position or shape of the uterus could reflect something about the baby growing inside.

And it’s not just “high or low.” There’s also the belief that “carrying wide” indicates a girl, and “carrying narrow” means it’s a boy. But it turns out, the high/low method is just as accurate as pouring Drano into a cup of the woman’s urine. Which is to say, not at all.

2. Swing a ring

If, when you suspend and swing a gold ring over a pregnant belly, it moves side to side, it’s a boy. If it moves in a circle, it’s a girl. (This one is told either way, actually.)

3. Fetal heart rate

If the fetal heart rate is above 140 beats per minute (bpm), it’s a girl. If it’s below 140 bpm, it’s a boy. (Actually, the baby’s heart rate fluctuates throughout the pregnancy, and the rate is unrelated to gender.)

4. Pouring Drano in your urine

While a pregnant woman should not handle Drano at all, if someone else wants to, the myth goes: If you pour Drano into a pregnant woman’s urine and it turns green, brown, black or blue, it’s a boy; if it turns red or yellow or there’s no color change, it’s a girl.

5. All about your looks

A woman who gets prettier while pregnant is carrying a boy; a woman who gets uglier is having a girl. (The idea appears to be that the girl is stealing some of the mother’s beauty.)

6. Is dad gaining weight?

If the father gains weight during the gestation period, it’s a girl.

7. How’s your skin?

If a woman gets more acne with the pregnancy, it’s a girl.

8. What are you dreaming?

When a pregnant woman dreams about cigars or snakes, she’s carrying a boy; if she dreams of keyholes and Vogue, it’s a girl (well, obviously).

9. Do you have morning sickness?

If there’s no first-trimester morning sickness, it’s a boy.

10. Dark line on the belly?

If the linea nigra (a dark line that often appears running up the center of a pregnant belly) stops at the belly button, it’s a girl; if it extends to the rib cage, it’s a boy.

11. Are your boobs the same size?

If the left breast grows larger than the right breast, it’s a girl.

(Check out these, fun ways to throw a gender reveal party.)

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