20 Myths About Predicting a Baby's Sex

Are you having a boy or a girl? These old wives' tales during pregnancy are a fun (but not scientific!) way to guess the sex of your baby. 

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Are "Old Wives' Tales" True?

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Old wives' tales are little more than super-circulated rumors. Never proven to be true, they're sayings and adages that generations of people have passed down regarding family health ("eating carrots improves your vision"), safe parenting ("wait an hour after eating before swimming"), and pregnancy. If you're trying to guess your baby's sex, read on for fun ways to hypothesize about whether you're having a boy or a girl.

While this article uses the terms "gender" and "boy" vs. "girl," it's important to note that gender is a personal identity that exists on a spectrum, can change over the course of a person's lifetime—and most importantly—is something that a person defines for themselves. Sex, on the other hand, is assigned at birth based on the appearance of a baby's genitalia. While sex assigned at birth often matches a person's gender (called cisgender), sometimes, for transgender, intersex, and gender nonbinary people, it does not.

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Sleep Position

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Pay attention to your sleep position at night. If you prefer sleeping on your left side, you're supposedly having a boy. Right side? This old wive's tale says you're pregnant with a girl.

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Upset Stomach

Pregnant woman with severe morning sickness - hyperemesis gravidarum
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Although it's not clear why, some research might support the myth that if you experience extreme morning sickness, you're having a girl.

For example, in a 2021 study of 4,320 pregnancies, those carrying a female fetus reported a significantly higher frequency of nausea during the first trimester than those who were pregnant with males.

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Soft or Dry Hands

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As the old wives' tale goes, you might have a boy if your hands are dry during pregnancy. But, on the other hand, soft hands are mythically linked with girls.

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Food Cravings

pregnant woman eating peanut butter
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According to lore, your favorite pregnancy foods may indicate your baby's sex. For example, do your pregnancy cravings involve potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn, or are you more likely to have a desire for ice cream, chocolate, and candy?

If it's sweets you crave, that is associated with having a girl, while salty cravings are said to be a sign of a boy. Citrus cravings have also been associated with girls.

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Acne

8 Embarrassing Pregnancy Problems_still

Are pregnancy hormones making your skin break out? If so, the old wives' tale says you might be expecting a girl. However, the reality is that many people have acne during pregnancy, no matter their baby's sex.

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Graceful or Clumsy Pregnancy

Pregnant Woman Walking
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If you feel as though you're gliding through the day, rumor has it you're having a girl. Stumbling around? It just might be a boy says this myth.

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Face Weight Gain

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If your face gets fuller during pregnancy, a girl might be on the way. That said, everyone experiences weight distribution differently, so it may have more to do with your body than your baby's sex.

Also, if you experience extreme sudden puffiness in your face, talk to a health care provider, since this can be a symptom of preeclampsia.

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Mood Changes

Asian Pregnant Woman Sitting Corner of Bed Upset with Husband Man on Laptop
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Mood swings are common during pregnancy. Legend has it that if you're constantly switching between happiness and sadness and anger—and every other mood in between—you might expect a baby girl to join your family.

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High or Low Pregnant Belly

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As it turns out, old wives' tales for pregnancy bellies also exist. They say if you're carrying the baby low on your stomach, a baby boy might be in your future. If it's high, you're supposedly having a girl.

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Pendulum Test

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This myth about gender prediction might seem strange, but it's all in good fun. Dangle a chain with a pendulum (or charm or ring) over your belly. If it swings back and forth, the myth says you've got a boy; if it swings in a circle, you might have a girl.

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Hand Display

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"Show me your hands." Hold out your hand as your normally would in response to this question. A palms-up position means you're having a girl, while hands-down could indicate a boy.

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How You Carry Your Weight

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Tune into how you carry your pregnancy weight. Those who carry their baby in front might expect a boy, while weight spaced more evenly around your middle could indicate a girl.

Oddly, science has found a connection between gestational weight gain and fetal sex. For example, a 2014 study published in PLOS One analyzed 68 million births over 23 years and found that those who gained more weight were statistically more likely to give birth to a boy.

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Toddler Advice

Pregnant Woman and Toddler Son Sitting in Grass Outside Sunlight
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You'll need a little boy for this one, whether it's your own son, a nephew, or a friend's child. The old wives' tale says if the boy is interested in your belly, it's a girl; if he ignores your belly, it's a boy.

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Eating Garlic

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Some say you can guess your baby's sex by eating garlic—who knew? If the smell seeps out of your pores, rumor says you're having a boy. If there's no scent, it's a girl.

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Holding a Key

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Grab the nearest house key or car key. Did you pick it up by the round end? The old wives' tales say you're expecting a boy. But, on the other hand, picking it by the long end means you might give birth to a girl.

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Even and Odd Numbers

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As the old tale goes, if your age and year of conception are both even numbers—or both odd numbers—a girl is on the way. One even and one odd number indicates a boy.

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Baby's Heartbeat

Doctor Touching Pregnant Belly Woman Sitting
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Listen to your little one's heartbeat. You're supposedly pregnant with a girl if you detect more than 150 beats per minute. Hearing less than 150 beats per minute points to a boy.

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Stress Test

Couple holding credit card and using laptop for holiday shopping
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According to old wives' tales for gender prediction, a child tends to be the same sex as the parent who is less stressed at the time of conception. (Of course, this tale presumes a heteronormative baby-making experience and doesn't account for fertility assistance or same-sex parents.)

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Pregnancy Dreams

woman sleeping next to phone in white bed
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This old wives' tale might be a little surprising! If you dream about having a girl while pregnant, you might wind up having a boy—and vice versa.

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Breast Size

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Take a good look at your pregnancy breasts. If your right breast is larger than the left one, it could mean you're growing a girl. If the left breast is larger, it could be a baby boy.

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The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, it may be fun to try to guess your baby's sex with these myths, but none of them hold scientific weight.

If you're curious about the sex of your fetus, the only evidence-based ways to determine it before birth is through ultrasound or noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT). But, even then, these techniques are not 100% accurate. For example, sometimes genitals are not clear during an ultrasound because of your baby's position. In rare cases, your baby may be intersex (a person whose reproductive and sexual anatomy does not neatly fit into typical male or female categories).

So, while games for speculation or more scientific approaches like scans might be fun to learn which genitalia your child might be born with, remember that gender is an identity and can be fluid. As a result, your child may not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. So, try not to get too attached to predictions about their gender.

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