After you confirm your pregnancy, you might begin to wonder whether your baby is a boy or girl. Although you can often find out via scientific methods somewhere in the second trimester—usually between 12 and 20 weeks—several myths and folk tales also purport to help you predict your baby’s gender. These methods can be a fun diversion, but stay away from gender prediction methods that require you to ingest or inhale something not approved of by your doctor or ones that urge you to contradict your doctor’s orders.
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Physical Appearance of the Mom-to-Be
Many gender prediction myths focus on the size and shape of an expecting mother’s belly and the pattern of her weight gain to determine whether she will deliver a boy or girl. According to folklore, women carrying a baby low will deliver a boy and those carrying the baby belly high will soon have a girl. In reality, Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, a medical editor at the Kid’s Health from Nemours website, states that the baby’s position, along with the muscle tone of your uterus, determine how you carry—not the gender of the baby. This often varies from pregnancy to pregnancy, regardless of the gender of the baby. Physical appearance can be a harmless way to guess at the gender, but you will probably not want to decorate the nursery just on the basis of this method.
Some women swear by the baby’s heart rate as a prediction of gender. The classic tale asserts that a boy usually has a heart rate of fewer than 140 beats-per-minute while the heart rate of a girl is over 140. Although this myth can appear somewhat scientific in nature, Anne Douglas, the author of “The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything In Between” asserts that very little hard medical evidence supports this myth. It can be an early way to try to guess your baby’s gender, but she advises against putting much credence into this myth.
Modern science allows many women to find out the baby’s gender through ultrasound or invasive diagnostic testing procedures like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, or CVS. Many medical practices perform a routine ultrasound examination of the baby—a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the baby and placenta—around 18 to 20 weeks to make sure the baby is healthy. Depending upon your stage of pregnancy and the position of your baby, the sonographer might be able to make an accurate guess of your baby’s gender.
Invasive diagnostic testing methods like CVS and amniocentesis are the only 100 percent accurate methods of determining baby gender, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Both tests necessitate using ultrasound to guide the insertion of a long, thin needle into the pregnancy sac to remove genetic material for testing. Since the procedures involve some health risks for you and the baby, providers only recommend them for women whose babies face a higher risk of chromosomal disorder, inherited disorders or complications.