Determining the gender of your baby can be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking parts of a pregnancy. There are plenty of old wives’ tales that purport to tell which gender a baby is, as well as modern technological and medical advances that can predict and identify the gender. Here are some of the ways, both silly and serious, that have historically been cited as a way to determine the gender of a fetus.

Old Wives’ Strategies
One old wives’ tale predicts that a baby boy’s heart rate is under 140 beats per minute, while a baby girl’s is faster than 140 beats per minute. Another myth suggests that if you carry low and in the front, you’ve got a boy, while you’ll have a girl with a high and wide belly. Another belly-related myth has to do with morning sickness. It’s often said that mothers with severe morning sickness in the first trimester are going to have a girl, while little or no morning sickness indicates a boy. For liquids coming out the other end, some say that if your urine is clear, you’ll be having a girl, and if it’s bright yellow, you’ll be a having a boy. It’s also common knowledge among the old wives community that moms-to-be who crave sweets are going to have a girl (we are made of everything nice after all), while those who want sour pickles are destined to have a boy. For some, it makes sense to tie a string around a wedding ring and swing it over a pregnant baby. If the ring goes in a circular motion, it’s a boy, and if it swings back and forth in a straight line, it’s a girl. For myths from Eastern cultures, the Chinese lunar calendar is supposed to help predict the gender of the baby based on the month of conception and the age of the mother.

Medical Strategies
Grandma may scoff at asking the doctor, but in case you’re the more see-it-to-believe-it type, a common and accurate medical procedure, the ultrasound, allows an image inside the uterus to see the fetus. By peeking at the genitalia after at least 18 weeks, it’s often possible to tell the gender of a baby. Chorionic Villus Sampling is another diagnostic test performed from 8 to 13 weeks gestation to determine if there are any problems with a baby’s chromosomes. Because of the risk of miscarriage or abnormalities from this procedure, it’s generally only used to test for genetic conditions but can determine gender as well. Performed from 9 to 18 weeks gestation, amniocentesis is a medical procedure that involves inserting a needle into the uterus to collect and analyze amniotic fluid. It can tell the gender of a baby, but because it’s more dangerous than ultrasounds, it’s mainly used for determining whether the baby has a genetic condition.

In reality, none of these options can boast a 100% accuracy rate except the amniocentesis, which takes genetic material from the amniotic fluid. Even then, human error can render the results invalid. What this means is that you should take most of the results from these tests with a grain of salt. While the medical tests have a much higher rate of accuracy, they aren’t infallible either. The only way you can be sure is after you’ve had your baby, but until then, it can’t hurt to experiment and have fun trying to predict.

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