Your doctor can use different tests at different stages of your pregnancy to identify the sex of your baby. Most of these tests are reliable and accurate but may not be suitable for everyone. One of the most famous old wives’ tales says you can identify your baby’s sex by how your bump is forming.
If your bump is too low, it’s a boy, whereas if your bump is too high, they believe it will be a girl. There are no scientific explanations or studies to back it up, so it’s better to stick with the doctors’ tests for best accuracy.
Medical tests to identify your baby’s sex
1. Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT)
At around 10 weeks of pregnancy, NIPT could detect genetic or chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, such as down syndrome.
The test analyzes blood from the pregnant woman, and it doesn’t pose any risk to the baby. It also screens for some chromosomal disorders, and it can see how many copies of the X and Y chromosome the fetus has, thus learning the sex of the baby.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends NIPT for all pregnancies, regardless of risk or age.
2. Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
Between 10 and 12 weeks gestation, CVS could be performed to screen for genetic abnormalities in pregnancy.
CVS involves taking a sample of tissue from the placenta for screening and looking at fetal chromosomes.
As a byproduct of performing the test, parents-to-be can learn the sex of their baby more reliably.
3. Pregnancy ultasound
During a monthly appointment with your OB-GYN, you can learn the baby’s sex during routine ultrasounds.
For example, the anatomy scan, which usually takes place between 18 and 22 weeks, confirms the proper growth of the fetus.
The technician takes various measurements (including crown-to-rump length), estimates fetal weight, examines the placenta, and checks internal organs and sex organs.
You can have the Amniocentesis test around 15 to 18 weeks of pregnancy.
Your doctor may recommend an amniocentesis if an ultrasound detects an abnormality, if you’ll be older than 35 at the time of delivery, or if you have a family history of a chromosome disorder.
Your doctor uses an ultrasound to determine your baby’s location in the womb and then inserts a fine needle through your abdomen to withdraw amniotic fluid.
Risks include cramping, bruising, and spotting. There’s also a risk of miscarriage.
Old wives’ tales for gender predection
While it’s fun to predict your baby’s sex using one of the old wives’ tales methods, it’s also important to keep in mind that there is no scientific proof that validates the accuracy of these predictions.
Here are some of the most common old wives’ tales.
1. Bump position
According to pregnancy myths, if you are carrying your baby bump high, it means you’re having a girl, while carrying your baby bump low means it’s a boy.
3. Morning sickness
4. Pregnancy glow
If your complexion is bright and you have great hair days, you could be having a boy. If that much-talked-about “pregnancy glow” is MIA and you’re breaking out, it may just mean you’ve got a girl growing.
5. Ring test
Tie a ring on a string and hang it over your belly. If it swings in a circular motion, you could be having a girl, but if it’s swinging side to side, it means you’re having a boy.
6. Heart rate
If your baby’s heart rate is more than 140 beats per minute, they said you are carrying a girl; less than that is a boy. At your next doctor’s appointment, pay close attention to your baby’s heart rate.
Who is more active in the womb, boy or girl?
One study, published in 2001 in the journal Human Fetal and Neonatal Movement Patterns, found that boys may move around more in the womb than girls.
That study found that the average number of leg movements was much higher in the boys than the girls at 20, 34, and 37 weeks.
But the study’s sample size was small, only 37 babies, so Nowlan and her colleagues are hesitant to claim there’s a relationship between gender and fetal movement.
Does a small bump mean a girl?
It is true that, on average, baby boys weigh more at birth than baby girls, which could make the bump for a boy slightly bigger. But this small difference in weight does not change the shape of the bump.
Some parents (especially first-time parents) are extremely excited about the gender for them to prepare the baby’s room, clothes, name, and everything else that the baby needs when he/she is finally out in the world.
I remembered being so sure about my baby being a boy (even before the ultrasound) because when I talk about my baby with other people, I would unconsciously use “he” and “him,” even if everyone and all the “signs” are telling me it’s a girl.
There are also some cultures that would prefer one sex over the other, but as long as you and your baby are healthy, that should be more than enough.