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Theories To Detect The Gender Of The Unborn Baby – Myth or Reality

The good news of pregnancy is always accompanied with the eagerness to know whether it is going to be a baby girl or a boy. Though prenatal sex determination tests are banned in many countries, and for good reasons, but an expecting mother and father are always eager to know the gender of their unborn baby. It is interesting to know and read about the different theories that are floating about detecting the gender of the unborn baby and let’s also find out whether these theories to detect the gender of the unborn baby are a myth or a reality.

Son or a daughter, whosoever it may be, the birth of a healthy child is what every parent desires; but of course, deep down there is an inclination to know the gender of the unborn baby for the parents, which is very natural. And thanks to this curiosity, people enjoy guessing the gender, which is based on certain beliefs and previous experiences.

There are many theories as to how one can predict the gender of an unborn baby. The tales and theories have been popularized by aged women and old mid-wives; however, the question is how accurate they can be. Usually the myths and theories seem to be anecdotal, but the depth of the water can only be tested by actually diving into it.

Theories to Detect the Gender of the Unborn Baby – Myth or Reality

There are few possible indications, considered as theories to detect the gender of the unborn baby. Let us find out more about them and whether they are a myth or reality.

Carrying High or Low (Baby Bump)

This is one of the popular theories to detect the gender of the unborn baby. If you’re carrying a higher, round pregnancy bump, then there is a high chance of you having a baby girl. If you are carrying a lower flat pregnancy bump, then you can expect a baby boy and thereby satisfy your quench to determine the gender of the fetus. A similar theory proclaims that if you gain weight exactly around the center of the abdominal region during pregnancy, then you might expect a baby girl. If the body weight concentration is not exactly in the middle then you may expect a baby boy.

Myth or Reality? Science doesn’t completely agree with this theory.(6) It may be true in some cases; however, in some cases where this theory fails to apply, one should be aware that a mother might have a high belly or low belly, depending on the mother’s shape of body. The mother’s body shape, elasticity of stomach muscles, weight gain during pregnancy play a role in how high or low the belly is going to be. Experts in science also say that the belly bump can be more of an indicator of the muscle tone and growth of the fetus. Therefore, this is not the sole criteria to detect the gender of the unborn baby; though it is a fun way of guessing the gender of your unborn baby.

The Rate of Fetal Heartbeats.

The sound of the heartbeats of the fetus is something all parents get emotional about when they listen to it for the very first time. It is a moment of sheer happiness and assurance to the mother, that her baby is safe and sound, living and growing inside her. It is said that the rate of heartbeats of the fetus can help in determining the gender of the unborn baby. According to one of the popular theories of old mid-wives, it is believed that the heart rate of a female fetus is faster than that of a male fetus. So, one of the theories to detect the gender of the unborn baby is that a faster rate of heartbeats, more than 140 tiny beats a minute, may mean it is a baby girl.

Myth or Reality? Science again doesn’t completely agree with this theory and it is important to understand few facts to know whether it is a myth or reality.(2, 6) Before the third trimester, it is the growth of the fetus that affects the rate of heartbeat. In the fifth week of pregnancy, the heart rate of the fetus is similar to that of the mother, which is about 80 to 85 beats, a little more than the general count of heartbeat, which is 72. The rate of heartbeat gradually increases until the ninth week, ranging between 170 – 200 beats per minute.(1) It eventually starts to slow down to an average of 120 to 160 beats a minute just before the labor. So, you can venture a guess depending on the heartbeat as to the gender of the baby, but this theory has not been scientifically proven.

Pregnancy Cravings

During pregnancy, cravings are normal.(3) A mother might crave for a particular type of cuisine, dish or unusual food at unusual times. Typical theories suggest that when the cravings include foods that are sweet, dairy products, ice-creams etc., then it is an indication that you might have a baby girl. Cravings including salty, spicy dishes, fatty food indicates that you might have a baby boy. Also, in cases where a pregnant woman suddenly starts craving for meat, then it is an indication that it may be a baby boy.

Myth or Reality? As per medical science, normally women enjoy lemons or pickles and may start avoiding some food items during pregnancy. Science believes that this theory to detect the gender of the unborn baby based on the mother’s craving does not have a logical base.(6) It is simply a myth, which may or may not be true. Pregnant women undergo drastic hormonal and metabolic changes in their body and craving is just a result of it.(4) Deficiency of certain nutrients or minerals as well as psychological changes also triggers certain cravings, for example pica.(5) However, there are some cases where this midwives tale has been found to be true in regards to the gender determination, but not proven scientifically.

Nature of the Mother’s Skin

According to old mid-wives tale, one of the theories to detect the gender of the unborn baby revolves around the pregnant women’s skin. If the skin of your hands remains dry during the pregnancy, then you might have a boy; however, if they remain soft and glowing then you can expect a baby girl. As per the theory, it is also said, that if the skin remains oily during pregnancy, then the chances of having a baby girl increases.

Myth or Reality? Well again, this looks more like a myth than reality, as per medical science. How your skin reacts during pregnancy completely depends on the changes that your body undergoes during pregnancy. The hormonal changes during pregnancy affect the secretion of oil glands, which can either increase to make skin oily and dull or decrease the secretion of sebum to make it look rich. Also, the changes in the hormone levels affect the blood flow in the body. If the blood flow is higher towards the superficial layers, then the skin looks glowing and shining.

Morning Sickness

Generally more than 50% of pregnant women suffer from morning sickness.(7) This phenomenon relates to the feeling of nausea that one might start experiencing right from the initial three months of pregnancy until the 12th week. One of the well-known theories to detect the gender of the unborn baby is that severe morning sickness suggests that you might have a baby girl.

Is it a Myth or a Reality? So far, there is no definite scientific evidence strong enough to prove the relevance of the frequency of the morning sickness theory pertaining to the gender of the baby. As per medical science, morning sickness is mainly caused due to hormonal imbalances during early pregnancy. Also, the way in which you respond to these changes depends on your overall health, previous medical history and previous history or premenstrual nausea or gastric discomfort due to hormonal changes.

Please note that severe morning sickness definitely requires medical attention.

Mood Swings or Frequent Behavioral Changes

It is normal for a pregnant lady to have mood swings or depression.(8, 9) Hence, it is normal to be angry at once and calm soon thereafter. You might feel low, depressed; or suddenly happy and high. One of the theories to detect the gender of the unborn baby also says that a woman may behave wildly if she is going to have a girl.

Is it a Myth or a Reality? There is no scientific evidence to support this theory. Unpredictable mood swings is just because a pregnant woman goes through a hormonal, physical, emotional and psychological roller coaster ride. It is natural for a pregnant woman to have mood swings or sudden behavioral changes irrespective of the gender of the fetus.

However, of course there is no harm in entertaining yourself with such anecdotal myths as long as you don’t blindly believe them.

If you are still busy guessing and reading theories to detect the gender of the unborn baby, it is worth knowing the scientific tests for the same. The fact is that only medical tests, scientific intervention and of course, delivery are the only ways to accurately detect the gender of the baby.

Tests to the Find out the Gender of the Baby

An ultrasound test on the completion of 16 weeks of pregnancy may help detect the gender of the unborn baby.(10) Apart from ultrasound, medical tests like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, helps in confirming the gender of the fetus.(11) These tests are invasive and are only carried out in exceptional cases. While there are non-invasive tests too, the need for any such tests depends on various factors, hence it is best to follow medical advice.

Pertaining to the malpractices of gender discrimination being carried out in several countries across the globe, several nations have banned medical tests to solely determine the gender of the fetus.


There is no harm in predicting the gender of the baby based on the theories mentioned above and actually it can be a lot of fun! However, the real essence of being a mother or a father should always lay in having a healthy baby rather than determining the gender of the fetus before birth.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 2, 2020

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