The Most Popular Gender-Predicting Old Wives' Tales of All Time
This article was medically reviewed by Dana Bressette. Dana is a professor of Genetics, Nutrition, Microbiology, and Immunology at University of Phoenix and a Family Education expert.
Are you wondering if your little bundle of joy will be a boy or girl? While the only accurate way to find out your baby's sex during pregnancy is via medical tests, playing the guessing game can be a lot of fun. An ultrasound at about 20 weeks can potentially display the sex of the baby if the positioning is conducive, but genetic testing and amniocentesis is by far the most accurate predictor. Read on for some of the wackiest old wives' tales believed, at some point, to predict the gender of your baby.
More: Are Gender Reveal Parties Problematic?
While these old wives’ tales are akin to the accuracy of taking a fun personality quiz in a leisure magazine, it’s also important to remember that no matter what sex your baby is assigned at birth, gender is a fluid spectrum that goes beyond the question of boy or girl and does not necessarily match the sex. So keep your mind open, and remind yourself that the only thing you can know for sure about your child during pregnancy is that they will be loved and that they will be a human being. The rest will come in time.
Here are 20 of the wildest old wives’ tales out there related to supposed gender prediction:
1. How low can you go?
Rumor has it that if you are carrying your baby high, it's a girl. If you are carrying low, apparently, it means boy. Similar tales say if you carry in front, you've got yourself a little boy, and if you expand horizontally, it's a girl. Of course, maybe your body type has a little something to do with this too!
2. How does your skin feel?
Consider the dryness level of your skin when thinking about your pregnancy symptoms. Dry hands are said to be the sign of a baby boy. Wonderfully moisturized hands are the sign of a baby girl. We’re sure the time of year and climate have nothing to do with this one!
3. It's all in the ring swing
Here's a fun one. Take off your wedding ring if you have one or use another ring. Tie it to a piece of string, and hang it over your belly. If it swings in a circle, you are promised a boy; back and forth indicates a girl. The true test will be if you can get the same answer if you perform the ring swing multiple times in a row!
4. The old Drano experiment
This one is as old as it is weird. The mom-to-be is required to pee in a cup, and mix in a tablespoon of Drano. If the liquid turns green, you're having a girl. Blue? You guessed it. It's a boy.
We don't recommend trying this one. Mixing these two can result in dangerous fumes or even an explosion. A safer version of this experiment uses baking soda. If the mixture fizzles, it's a boy. If it doesn't, you've got yourself a girl!
5. Be still my heart
Your baby's heart rate might be an indicator of its gender according to this gender predictor old wives’ tale. If your little one's heart rate is under 140 beats per minute, you're having a little boy. If the fetal heart rate is over 140 bpm, get ready for your little girl! Because this one seems slightly medical in nature, it has fooled many a pregnant mama throughout the years.
6. Gimme that chocolate!
Craving sweets? According to some, that means you're going to have a little girl. Salty and sour cravings indicate a boy. More scientific information indicates that pregnancy cravings may actually be connected with nutritional deficiencies if this is one you want to explore.
7. Age isn't just a number
According to legend, a Chinese gender chart will use your age at conception and the month you conceived to determine the sex of your baby. The Mayans used a similar method. They looked at your age at conception and the year your baby was conceived. If both are even or odd, it's a girl. If one is even and one is odd, oh baby — it's a boy! If only life were so predictable and simple!
8. A little extra padding
Has your partner been indulging in your pregnancy cravings, too? If he or she packs on a little sympathy weight, the tales say you're in for a sugary-sweet little girl. Warning: your partner may not be a fan of this one!
9. Morning sickness blues
Actually, morning sickness means pink or baby girl. If you're stricken with a queasy stomach during your first trimester, think girl all the way according to legend. If you sail through your pregnancy with nary an upset stomach, it's blue or baby boy all the way. We bet you can find friends who have experienced morning sickness when pregnant with both of the sexes though!
10. Keying in
If you've got a preggo friend, try this little experiment on her. Place a key in front of her and ask her to pick it up. If she grabs it by the narrow part, she'll have a sweet little girl. If she picks it up by the round part, she'll have an adorable little boy. It’s hard to imagine how this one ever came to be believed!
11. Linea nigra
Are you familiar with the linea nigra? This is the dark line of pigmentation that can run down the center of your belly when you are pregnant. (It lasts for a while after birth too!) The old wives’ tales say that if the linea nigra runs below your belly button, you're having a girl, and if it stops above your belly button, you’re having a boy.
12. Garlic, anyone?
We hope you like garlic! If you can eat a lot of garlic and not smell like it, apparently a baby girl is on the way. If you smell like garlic after eating garlic (surprise, surprise!), then you are having a baby boy. Warning: your partner may not be a fan of this old wives’ tale test!
13. Are you glowing?
Here’s another old wives’ tale based upon the pregnant mama’s appearance. If people tell you that you are glowing and radiant, then you will be having a baby boy. If people are saying that the mama is looking tired and dull (How dare they??), then it’s another case of the dreaded girl sucking the life and beauty out of the mom.
14. How’s your hair?
If your hair is gorgeous and glossy and thick in pregnancy, then you are having a baby boy. If your hair is dull and limp, you’re having a baby girl. Notice a trend here??
15. Pupil dilation
The old wives are apparently feeling a little scientific again with this one. If your eyes start to dilate after looking at yourself in the mirror for about a minute, apparently you are having a boy. This one has definitely got nothing to do with the amount of light in the room!
16. Blood pressure
This one is tricky because you need to check your blood pressure exactly 26 weeks before conception. At that time, apparently the higher your blood pressure is, the more likely you are to have a boy. Hmm...
17. A lopsided chest
Ready for this one? If your right breast is larger than your left breast, then you are having a son. If your left side is bigger than your right, you are having a daughter. This apparently has nothing to do with the fact that the majority of women out there have one breast that is slightly bigger than the other even when not pregnant...
18. How do your feet feel?
Are your feet cold? This supposedly has nothing to do with not wearing socks or lower temperatures or the fact that it might be the middle of the winter. It means that you’re having a baby boy! Who knew?
19. The pillow test
Finally! An old wives’ tale that is not all about dissecting the pregnant woman’s body… Take a look at the direction your pillow faces. (Feel free to interpret this as you wish.) If your pillow faces north, you’re having a boy. If your pillow faces south, you’re obviously having a girl.
20. Acne breakouts
Legends say that if you are having a baby girl, she'll steal your beauty. So, if you've got acne and other not-so-pretty skin blemishes, you've got a little girl coming your way. The gender reveal of a baby boy is apparently connected with perfectly unblemished skin.
So, all you moms-to-be, how many of these tests hold true for you?
Looking for more insight into your pregnancy? Check out our Day-by-Day Pregnancy Tracker.
- Boehrer, Robyn. Is it a boy or a girl? The father’s family might provide a clue. 2019.
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Charise is a Travel Planner and founder of Experience the Dream Travel, specializing in family and Disney holidays.