So, you want to know what color to paint the nursery. Let’s look at some of the old wives’ tales, physical symptoms and medical tests to determine if you’re pregnant with a boy.

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You’ve finally gotten those little lines on the pregnancy test! You’ve been through morning sickness and moving on from your favorite pair of jeans. Now it’s time to decide if you want to investigate the sex of your child. 

More than half of parents attempt to discover it, but there’s always a margin of error no matter how you find out. Just how will you know if you are pregnant with a boy or girl? 

We will test old wives’ tales and look at physical symptoms that might hint at a boy or girl. We will then look at medical tests with a larger margin of accuracy. Keep in mind that most of these ‘signs’ are legends and myths. The only way you’ll really know is when the little guy is born!

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails — Old Wives’ Tales

In reality, most of these old wives’ tales can be blamed on oestrogen and testosterone changes or an immune response. Whether the midwives really could see the patterns is up for debate. However, we do know that foreign hormones, like those created in pregnancy, can change mum’s body and flex on internal systems.

Beautiful Mum

Is your hair long and lustrous, far more than it was before pregnancy? Is your skin shiny and clear? Are you glowing? The old wives’ tales insist that a gorgeous appearance is absolutely equal to being pregnant with a boy. 

The tale goes that little baby girls leach the beauty of their mother’s as they grow (which is ridiculous, because my baby boy is beautiful, too!). In reality, baby boy’s testosterone is present and this can actually make your skin worse! ALL Mummy Hormones like oestrogen and testosterone rise and fall depending on where you are in your pregnancy.

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Stake Your Claim

Carrying a baby changes every part of you. From your feet to your heart, you’re going to grow. That little baby is putting his (or her) stamp on your body. Sometimes, it’s literal. 

If you see a dark line down the centre of your baby bump, you’re not alone. It’s called the linea nigra (or dark line) and can appear when your belly begins to swell, around the second trimester. 

Legend has it that the length of your line can tell if you are pregnant with a boy or a girl. If the line extends the whole length of your torso, then you’ve got a boy! He is strong and big enough to ‘stretch’ this line into place. If it’s shorter, then you’ve got a sweet, calm girl who wouldn’t dream of taking up too much space. Pardon me while I go roll my eyes. 

Carrying Low

While you’re busy taking bellies — or belly selfies — get a good look at your side. Where is the biggest part of your bump? Is it high or low? So the legend goes, baby boys are big and low. 

Of course, the gender of the baby has no bearing on how you carry it. It all depends on your muscle tone, weight gain and how long the baby is at the moment. You could carry higher until later in the pregnancy, and when the baby really starts to grow it may fall lower. 

Physical Symptoms

Everyone’s body is different. Even women having their second child can experience completely different symptoms than they did the first time around. If you’re just bursting to know the gender of your baby, there are some ‘tried and true’ physical reactions if you are pregnant with a boy. 

Morning Sickness

This myth has a kernel of truth hiding behind it. The tale goes that if you have a lot of morning sickness (really, anytime sickness, am I right?) then you’re having a girl.

Supposedly, the little girl will stir up your insides and make you sick. If you’re pregnant with a boy then your tummy will be calm and you’ll get to stay in bed all morning. Plenty of studies have compared how often mothers have an upset stomach, and it turns out that it’s true! 

Tired Trimesters

The old wives’ tale says that if you’re more tired, then you’re painting the nursery blue. There is actually science to back this up! Mums who are carrying baby boys DO use about 10% more energy than those carrying girls. 

Since your female hormones fight the testosterone produced when you’re pregnant with a boy, your body has to work harder. You may find yourself napping the day away or feeling fatigued early on in the pregnancy.

Hungry Hungry Mommy

You feel like you’re eating for an army, not just for two! A baby boy is thought to require more energy to grow them big and strong. It may be just a legend, but there is some truth. If the above symptoms of being super duper tired are true, then your body might feel extra hunger to try and get your energy levels up. 

You may also find yourself interested in foods you had previously hated. It may not be as ridiculous as pickles and ice cream, but maybe you do have odd cravings. If you find yourself craving more ‘out there’ items, like chalk or dirt, you might have partum pica

Since mom’s use more energy when they’re carrying a boy, it would make sense that you’re craving all kinds of snacks! You’re more likely to develop this eating disorder if you’re having a boy, since your body is crying out for specific nutrients being used up.

Sugar and Spice (But Not the Good Kind)

Are you snacking on crisps, chips or popcorn? There’s an old wives’ tale that if you’re craving salt, then you’re pregnant with a boy. Unfortunately, most of us already eat far too much of it to be healthy. An increased salt diet can have adverse effects on your baby boy. 

If you’re trying to keep the sex of your baby a surprise, it may be ruined if you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Those who are pregnant with a boy are at higher risk, so it’s important to attend all your antenatal appointments and get tested. 

Mystical Mummy

So many mums feel divine. You’re glowing, you’re radiant, you ARE mother earth creating life! If you feel you’ve got a more witchy streak than your buddies, then there are some ‘mystical’ tests you can try to see if you are pregnant with a boy. 

Spinning Strings

We can’t find where this myth originated, but I know my grandmother did it for my mum. Like most tests, it’s accuracy is debatable but it’s all in good fun. 

Versions of this myth vary, but all include a string. You take either your wedding ring, engagement ring or the father’s wedding ring (or some combo of the three depending on which myth you’re following) and tie it to the string. Hold it above your growing bump and if it swings back and forth you might be pregnant with a boy. If the ring spins or moves in a circle, then you’re having a girl. 

Prediction Charts

According to a few different ‘scientific’ charts from places like China, and India  If you know your birthday and when you conceived, then it’s easy to find out if you are pregnant with a boy. Carefully choosing your time of conception will place your child into a certain astrology sign or year and there are auspicious days and months to conceive

Of course, these charts are rarely better than a guess. Baby’s gender (XX or XY, usually) is determined by dad! All of a woman’s eggs are x based. The sperm determines if another X is added (for a girl) or a Y (for a boy). If you’re into astrology from any country, and still really curious, there are ‘pregnancy psychics’ if your chart leaves you scratching your head. 

Mother’s Intuition

You just know! Even without charts and physical symptoms, you can feel your baby deep inside you. People have asked and you’ve confidently given your opinion. So how accurate is mother’s intuition? 

About 50%! Mom’s that had ‘strong’ inclinations were more likely to guess the gender correctly, but not much higher than half. Amazing! 

Doctor Knows Best

Since most legends are right about half the time, you have an OK chance of predicting yourself. All myths and legends aside, what if you’re actually serious about discovering the gender of your baby? You’re going to want to head to the doctor, which you’re doing anyway for all the recommended checkups…right? Right? 

Blood Tests

If you want to test for the gender on your own, there are a few options. While a blood test can be taken at a doctor or midwife’s office, there are also easy to use home kits. The tests are surprisingly accurate, since they specifically test if you are pregnant with a boy. 

Humans have XX (female) or XY (male) chromosomes (most commonly, of course there are exceptions). Since people with XX chromosomes carry babies, if an XY baby is growing then Y chromosomes will be present on the blood tests. 

In addition, new blood testing can measure the presence of the ‘maternal hormone’ or MSHCG within 3 weeks of conception! 

Urine Tests

If you’re browsing in the pharmacy or even on Amazon, you’ll probably see tests that claim to determine the baby’s gender. Some contain chemicals that you add your urine to, others look like a pregnancy test where you pee on a stick. 

You can also try it at home with red cabbage. Apparently, you just..ahem..pee into a bowl. Add in my favourite salad ingredient, and let them mix. Then add in baking soda. If you are pregnant with a boy, you’ll see it turn bright red. If it’s a girl, it will be a light pink. Maybe. Other versions of this tale say it will turn brighter purple or even blue. 

 These tests are just as accurate as you think: about 50%

Pregnancy hormones ARE present in urine — that’s how a pregnancy test can tell if you are expecting. But gender markers aren’t available in pee, so these tests are largely bogus. 

Fetal DNA Test

If you’re an older mum you may be asked to take a routine amniocentesis test. This takes a sample of your amniotic fluid to test for troubles with your baby. 

Since this assesses the baby’s DNA makeup to check for genetic issues, it will also tell you if you are pregnant with a boy or girl. You’ll find out sooner than most methods, since these tests are performed around 16 weeks (or 4 months). 

Ultrasound

Most of the tests discussed have a whopping 50% accuracy. This is about as accurate as flipping a coin, but don’t get discouraged! Once you’ve hit 18 weeks (or up to 22, if the baby is growing more slowly) it is possible to determine gender via an ultrasound

With a well trained technician, these first photos are approaching 90% accuracy. They can look through the grainy black and white and tell if you are pregnant with a boy. According to sonographers, or the wonderful people who operate the ultrasound machines, baby boys look like a turtle whereas little girls look like a long line. 

Heart Rate

If the sonogram is unclear, one last way to know if you are pregnant with a boy is by listening. This time, it’s not to your intuition! When you can hear a baby’s heartbeat, you can make a pretty good guess. 

Baby boy heart beats were significantly faster in one study, at an average of almost 155 beats per minute. The girls clocked in a little less than 5 beats below that. Before you and your doctor discuss your sonogram, why not give a little guess?  

Conclusion

There are so many fun ‘tests’ to see if you are pregnant with a boy. From old wives’ tales coming in around 50% accuracy to modern analysis which can be almost 100%, it is now possible to know in advance of birth. 

Planning a gender reveal party or baby shower will be so much fun if you choose to find out! Try out the tests and see who you’re going to meet in just a few short months.