Old wives’ tales are fun to speculate about before you know the sex of your baby, but let’s face it, they’re usually only 50 percent accurate.
Some moms find that old wives’ tales are almost always true among their friends and family members, with some boasting a high success rate in guessing a baby’s sex based on how a mom looks or feels. But really, can the sex of your baby determine your belly shape, your cravings or whether you have bad skin or not? As fun as they are to think about, it’s pretty unlikely. Here are some of the more popular old wives’ tales that have to do with the sex of a baby.
1. How you carry your baby
This tale claims that if you’re carrying your baby “high,” you have a female baby on board, and if your baby belly is “low,” then it’s a boy. Also, not just the location but the shape of your baby can supposedly give you hints — carrying all in front means boy, and expanding horizontally means girl. More likely, it’s your genetics and pregnancy history that determine your belly shape.
2. Girls will steal your beauty
This old wives’ tale is not only kind of silly, but it’s a bit sexist. Female infants are no more beautiful than male infants, so saying that a girl baby causes Mom to look like crap doesn’t do any baby justice.
3. The fetal heart rate
The story goes that if your baby’s heart rate is above 140 beats per minute in utero, it’s a girl, but if it’s on the lower side, boy it is. Studies have been done and this theory doesn’t seem to hold water, but as with all old wives’ tales, some moms find it’s true for them — however, it’s just a matter of chance.
4. The belly line
The linea nigra — the line of darkened pigmentation that runs from the pelvic bone on up — is said to tell you what type of baby you’re having based on how far it goes up. To the belly button? Girl. All the way up the belly? Boy.
The traditional old wives’ tale states that if you crave sweets, you’re having a girl (of course, because girls are sweet and boys aren’t, right?) and if you crave salty or sour, it’s totally a boy.
6. Your partner’s eating habits
One tale says that if your partner is chowing down and putting on some extra weight right along with you, you’re likely expecting a girl. Why? Who knows?
7. Morning sickness clues
One of the most popular and widely-cited old wives’ tales involves a mom-to-be’s morning sickness. Cruising through pregnancy sickness-free? Then you’re pregnant with a boy. Barfing and constantly sick? Definitely a girl.
8. Cold feet
If your feet are colder than normal, you’re totally having a boy. If your feet feel like they always do, you’re having a girl.
9. Boob size
This has to be the strangest one yet. Some say that if your right boob is bigger, your baby is a boy, and if it’s the left breast, it’s definitely a girl. I don’t know about you, but my boobs didn’t alternate sizes like this over the course of my pregnancies. So weird.
10. How you sleep
If you sleep on your left side, your baby must be a boy, but if you sleep on your right, then girl it is. So you change your sleeping preferences based on your baby’s sex? Right.
The only one of these that even I thought might be true was the morning sickness one — and I’m obviously a huge skeptic. My first two pregnancies, both with boys, were textbook (average morning sickness throughout the first trimester, then none the rest of the pregnancy). However, during my third pregnancy, I was so, so sick, and it lasted for months and months. That baby was a girl. That’s why I was surprised at my fourth baby’s ultrasound — I had experienced zero morning sickness, but there she was, another perfect girl.
Old wives’ tales can be fun to consider when you’re eagerly waiting to find out the sex of your baby, either through ultrasound or birth. However, you’ll likely find that your mileage may vary with any one of these, and you can’t really put stock in any of them because there are so many differences in women and their pregnancies.