Some couples decide to wait until their baby is born to find out its gender. However, according to information published on pregnancyinfo.net, surveys suggest that more than 50 percent of couples expecting babies want to know a child’s gender before the infant is born. If you are wondering whether that little baby inside your tummy might be a boy, you can resort to traditional folklore methods or rely on more scientific means for an answer.
For generations women have tried to predict the gender of an expectant mother’s baby by how high or low a woman carries her baby. The belief is that if you carry a baby low, you are going to have a boy. Whether you put on extra weight in your hips and around to the back or carry more weight out in front of you is thought to play into the equation as well. Believers of old wives tales say that it’s going to be a boy if you are carrying your baby out front and your belly is shaped round like a basketball.
A fun test frequently played as a game at baby showers involves tying your wedding band onto a length of string. Someone then swings the string gently in front of your belly. The ring will either move in a straight line indicating that the baby is going to be a girl, or it will move in circles predicting a boy. Keep in mind that no matter in which direction your wedding ring moves, you still have only a 50-50 chance of giving birth to a boy.
Dispelling the Myths
Food cravings are another thing women sometimes consider when trying to guess their baby’s sex. In keeping with popular folklore, if you crave salty foods or protein from meat and cheese that could mean you are expecting a baby boy. Women who give birth to boys also often say they experienced little or no morning sickness in the first trimester of pregnancy. The more likely reason that many women who give birth to girls report suffering severe morning sickness is that a female fetus secretes higher levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG. In addition, if a baby’s heart rate is fewer than 140 beats per minute, that’s thought to be another sign, it could be a boy. However, doctors point out that fetal heartbeat is affected not by the sex but by the age of the fetus and how much he moves around inside the womb, according to medicinenet.com.
Ultrasound is typically the way most expectant couples find out the sex of their baby. Although the procedure is not always 100 percent accurate, most times the sex of the fetus can be correctly determined between the 18th and 26th weeks of pregnancy. The health professional performing the ultrasound looks for specific sex characteristics, but sometimes a baby’s position can obscure the image hiding from sight the gentalia that distinguishes the fetus as being male.
Whether or not traditional myths predict a baby’s sex correctly, science is usually the most accurate predictor. Pregnant women whose babies are at higher risk for certain birth defects or genetic diseases may have amniocentesis performed at some point between the 14th and 20th weeks of pregnancy. A needle is inserted through the abdomen into the amniotic sac so that a sample of amniotic fluid can be removed. Although the procedure can usually be performed safely, amniocentesis carries with it a small risk of spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. In addition to genetic information, the test can determine a baby’s sex with about 99 percent accuracy. Chromosomal testing reveals whether both an X an a Y chromosome are present indicating that the fetus is male.
DNA tests screen an expectant mother’s blood or urine. Fetal DNA found in the bloodstream is analyzed to identify the male specific Y chromosome. As a pregnancy progresses, the amount of fetal DNA in the mother’s blood plasma and serum also increases. While accurate, this type of DNA testing comes with a high price tag and is not currently available as a standard testing procedure.
Prenatal chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is another medical test that can verify the sex of a baby. Like amniocentesis, this test is quite invasive and comes with a number of risks. For this reason, it is never performed simply to determine the gender of a fetus. The test takes a sample of cells from the placenta, the membrane surrounding the developing embryo, for the purpose of identifying genetic abnormalities for which the baby is at high risk. The CVS is performed at 10 to 13 weeks, earlier than the amniocentesis, but is another chromosomal test that can identify fetal sex.