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Myths Abour Determining a Baby's Gender

By Hannah Wickford ; Updated June 13, 2017

If you're pregnant and crave sweet foods over salty foods, then your baby is sure to be a girl -- at least, that's what some people would have you believe. Of the many myths surrounding pregnancy, the ones that purport to predict a baby’s gender are widespread and inaccurate.

Belly Shape

One widespread myth states that a woman who carries her pregnancy high in her belly is having a girl, and carrying lower means a boy. Another common variation on this myth claims that you can determine a baby’s gender if the mother is carrying her pregnancy weight all in front of her, or if it is more distributed from side to side.

The shape and height of a pregnant belly, however, depends on a woman’s muscle tone, the shape and tone of her uterus and the position that the baby is in. The belly shape may change throughout the pregnancy as the baby changes position in the womb, and begins to drop to prepare for birth.

Heart Rate

Some people believe that the fetus’ heart rate is a predictor of its gender. Heart rates of 170 beats per minute and higher supposedly indicate a girl, while lower heart rates indicate a boy. KidsHealth states there are no conclusive studies on the validity of this theory. In fact, a baby’s heart rate will fluctuate throughout the pregnancy, depending on the fetus’ activity level and what stage of the pregnancy cycle the mother is in at the time the heart rate is measured.

The Ring Test

Another myth regarding the prediction of a baby’s gender is the ring test. It involves hanging the mother’s wedding ring over her pregnant belly by a string. If the ring moves in a circular movement, then the baby is a boy. If it moves back and forth, then it is a girl. The fact of the matter is that if you hang a ring over anyone, it will swing in some fashion depending on the weight of the ring, the air circulation and other factors that do not include a baby’s gender. Variations on this test include using a sewing needle and thread instead of the ring, and hanging it over the mother or father’s palm.

Ancient Civilizations

The Chinese Lunar Calendar has been used to determine a baby's gender by adding the mother’s age at the time of her baby's conception to the number of the month the baby was conceived and looking up the result on the calendar. A method used by ancient Mayans involves adding the mother's age when she conceived to the year in which the baby was conceived. If the result is an even number, it means the baby is a girl.

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