Despite all the aches, pains, and ridiculous litany of embarrassing symptoms pertaining to pregnancy, expecting a baby really is exciting. And the boy/girl guessing-game can keep mum occupied (and distracted) for at least the first half of a seemingly never-ending incubation period.
When you’re sporting a baby bump, it seems everyone has some gem of unsolicited insight as to what – or which gender, specifically – is growing inside your uterus.
Well-known wives’ tales include everything from the way-out wacky, to the (slightly) plausible:
One theory suggests you tie a ring to a piece of thread, hang it over your stomach, and if it swings from side to side it’s a boy, if it moves round in circles you are having a girl.
Another popular old saw – if you are carrying your bump low down and all ‘out in front’ you are said to be having a boy, if your bump is high and ‘spread out’ you could be expecting a girl.
A commonly perpetuated idea links cravings to the specific sex of the baby; a hankering for sweet foods equals girl, while savoury stuff means a boy is brewing.
Some mothers even believe that the speed of your baby’s heartbeat holds the key: over 140bpm and you’re having a girl, under and it is a boy.
The thing is, for every bit of anecdotal ‘evidence’ possibly proving one of the above, there’ll be another mum’s experience of the exact opposite.
The expert opinion?
Dr Geetha Venkat, Director of Harley Street Fertility Clinic says:
“There are some old wives’ tales I come across more than others. One particular tale which proves very popular is that depending on the shape and position of a woman’s baby bump, the sex of the baby can be identified. Put simply, there is no medical evidence to support this.
“The other popular myth which has received a large amount of interest recently is if a woman is experiencing severe morning sickness, they will have a girl. And there is some reasoning behind this. Hormones can make women very poorly and if your baby is a girl, there will be an increased level of oestrogen within your body, which can often lead to sickness. That being said, we have seen many women suffering from this problem who have gone on to have boys, so again, this is not a definitive identification tool.
“The most efficient and definite way of telling the sex of your baby is to go for a scan during the 14thand 15th weeks of your pregnancy. If you try to discover this too early, you may need to redecorate the nursery.”
We humans have a hard time not knowing all the answers, but when it comes to decorating the nursery with pirates or princesses, it’s probably best to wait for that 20 week scan (aka indisputable science).