Old Wives Tales for Telling a Baby's Gender

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There's one question that seems even more pressing than Hamlet's philosophical “to be or not to be?” At least for expecting moms and dads, that is. It is: “will it be a boy or a girl?” In today's day and age, the answer to that question is not quite as difficult to answer as Hamlet's. That doesn't mean it's all that easy either.

With a trip to the doctor's office, a soon-to-be-mom can find out the sex of her baby via an ultrasound, or through other means like chorionic villus sampling and amniocentisis. Chorionic villus is a diagnostic test that can cause problems in pregnancy and should only be administered if absolutely necessary (it is used to determine if the baby is likely to have have genetic abnormalities). Amniocentisis is another diagnostic test with slight risks. Ultrasounds are more popular, as they can be performed at any stage of pregnancy and unless there is routine exposure of the baby to an ultrasound, it is likely a safe method. However, an ultrasound is not meant to only help determine a baby's sex and in fact, it is not always accurate (especially during the early stages of pregnancy).

Thus, there are a slew of ways that have been devised to figure out whether an unborn baby will be a boy or a girl – some may have logical backing, but most – if not all – are completely baseless. But probably the most interesting methods of determining a baby's sex stem from old wives tales. So what are these tales and which ones have a grain or two of truth to them?

Well, the only real truth we know about old wives tales is that they are just that – rumors that have passed from generation to generation. Thankfully, they are innocuous rumors, unless of course one takes them too seriously and starts picking out clothes and furniture for a boy baby, only to greet a little girl on the operating table. Hopefully, the new parents kept those receipts. Another truth we know about old wives tales is that their origin is sketchy – who thought up each tales is pretty much unknown. But they sure are fun.

So, whether or not you're having fun playing the guessing game about your own baby or are just plain curious, here is a list of old wives tales to think about.

Do you sleep on your left or right side at night? If you prefer your right, then you just might be having a boy! If you sleep on your left, a girl could be on the way. Even the dryness or softness of your skin can help you predict your baby's sex – if you have soft hands, expect a girl; dry hands, a boy. Moreover, many pregnant woman crave interesting foods, but supposedly the specific kinds of food you crave can indicate what sex your baby is. If you constantly want salty foods, like french fries, you're due for a boy, whereas if you have a taste for sweets, like chocolate pie, prepare for a girl. And the old wives tales hardly stop there. Do you feel clumsy or elegant as a pregnant woman? If you're dropping your keys and stumbling over pairs of shoes, you might have a baby boy on the way, but if you feel graceful on foot, it's probably a baby girl. Even the size of your breasts can be a factor. It's common to have asymmetrical breasts, so by examining which breast is larger, you can also put the clues together to your baby's sex. If a pregnant woman's left breast is bigger, it's a girl; if the right breast is, it's a boy.

Furthermore, according to these recycled wives tales, morning sickness is not a symptom of every pregnancy, but only of those pregnancies of women who are carrying a girl. In other words, nausea means you better decorate the nursery pink. In fact, there are a bunch of signs you can look out for if you're having a girl. While soft hands mean you're having a girl, so do pesky breakouts on your skin.

And if you're craving citrus fruits, or become rather plump in your face, or experience several emotions throughout the day, then you are having a girl.

You can also guess your baby's gender by the way they sit in your uterus. You will feel heaviness in the lower area, if it's a boy, and if you feel pressure higher up, if it's a girl. As well, do you feel the baby in your front or in the middle? Boys, apparently, tend to take a seat up front, while girls prefer to situate themselves all around the middle.

As fascinating and fun as these tales are, they are just that – tales. They have no scientific substance to them whatsoever and should only be used for entertainment purposes! Especially considering that a lot of these tales (and these are just a handful of them) seem to be born of cultural stereotypes of boys and girls, not any clear logic, they should be approached with a healthy dose of skepticism.

But considering how ultrasounds aren't 100% accurate, why not play the guessing game? Ideally, it's best to wait far into the pregnancy to get an ultrasound or simply expect for the unexpected, but in the meantime, ask yourself – do you want a sweet cookie or some salty fried chicken?

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