Before we begin, I’d just like to state for the record that I am a firm believer in science.
I consider old wives tales – or alternative science – to be thoroughly asinine, which is why I decided to waste my time and energy testing a bunch of them to see if they can predict a baby’s gender. (My guess is a hard ‘no’, but stranger things have happened, like that time my cat decided to go vegetarian).
On Friday, science will confirm whether I’m having a girl fetus or a boy fetus, so in the meantime, let’s screw around with some silly charts, experiments, and good old fashioned folk tale folly to see what they say.
Old Wives Tale #1 – The Chinese Gender Predictor
The Chinese gender predictor calculation is based on the lunar month of conception and the mother’s age (both based on Chinese calendar) at the time of conception. For me, the lunar month – not to be confused with the actual calendar month – was 9, and my lunar age – not to be confused with my actual age – at conception was 34.
For this one, I wanted to be sure I was doing it right, so I used two different calendars from two different sites. Both gave me the same result: girl.
Here are the results from YourChineseAstrology.com:
And here are the results from TheChineseBabyCalendar.com:
OLD WIVES TALE #2 – THE MAYAN GENDER PREDICTOR
I’m an equal opportunist, so I’m not letting the Chinese take all the credit.
What do those pesky Mayans have to say?
Well, for starters, they keep it simple. According to TheGenderExperts.com (more on them later), here is their simple predictor:
My age at conception was 33 (odd), and the month of conception was October (calendar month 10, even).
Here’s another way to view it:
The Mayans say boy.
Tie game. Let’s keep going.
OLD WIVES TALE #3 – FETAL HEART RATE
Another popular, yet highly unscientific gender predictor uses heart rate of the fetus. According to this one, a girl will have a consistent heart rate of 140 beats per minute or higher, and a boy will have 140 or less.
At just under nine weeks, I was able to pick up my baby’s heartbeat on my home doppler. Check out that impressive little mini ticker, clocking in at nearly 145 beats per minute:
Most recently, at my midwife appointment on Thursday, my now 18-week-old womb warrior’s beats still came in at a solid 145 bpm.
Let’s call this one girl, but by the skin of her teeth.
OLD WIVES TALE #4 – The baking soda test
That’s right, I peed into a cup of baking soda for the purpose of this blog. I’m not even getting paid to do this – that’s how dedicated I am to my craft.
I PEE FOR FREE, PEOPLE!
The theory behind this one suggests that the gender of the baby changes some of the hormones in the mother’s body, which may then change some of the acid content of her urine. This experiment first instructs you to add a tablespoon or two of baking soda to a glass or cup. Author’s note: I used a disposable paper cup, because I’m not disgusting.
Once you have your baking soda, you’re supposed to pour some of your urine in there. If the combination fizzes, like a soft drink that has been shaken up, then you are having a boy. If there is no reaction at all, you’re having a girl.
There was no fizzing in my cup. A tiny bit of white foam formed, but it stayed flat otherwise.
We’ll say girl for this one too, given the extreme lack of fizz.
OLD WIVES TALE #5 – Nub Theory
Fun fact: did you know that boys and girls both start out with the same little doodad down there?
That’s right – all babies regardless of sex have something called a genital tubercle in the initial stages of development, which is sometimes referred to as a ‘nub’. Gender is determined at conception, however, sometime between 9 and 13 weeks, the sex organs begin to differentiate into male or female. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “in a comparatively late stage of embryonic life, the genital tubercle of male embryos encloses the urethral canal and becomes the penis; in female embryos it remains small and becomes the clitoris.”
In other words, by 13 weeks, a little penis or a tiny clitoris has developed, but will likely not yet be visible on an ultrasound. Most women wait until around 18-20 weeks, where it is fairly unmistakable.
The ‘Nub Theory’ of determining gender states that it is possible between 12 and 14 weeks to accurately predict gender. This is done by analyzing the angle and shape of the nub. The scan must be in profile view, to allow viewing of the spine, and the nub’s relationship to it.
The below example shows how this is “calculated”:
This brings me back to TheGenderExperts.com, mentioned earlier. They are a group of self-described “experts” that offer a variety of methods to determine the gender of your baby, even as early as 6 weeks.
Well, for the low low cost of $7.99, I decided to put them to the test. Shortly after my 12 week ultrasound, I submitted my scan (below).
I got the following response less than 12 hours later:
These self-identifying “experts” say girl, and they do so with a bold 83-92% accuracy claim.
SO, WHAT’S THE TALLY?
Out of my five chosen alternative science gender predictors, four predict girl.
Check back on Friday when I reveal who was right, and who was wrong in the exciting conclusion tentatively titled: GENDER REVEAL PART 2: BUT REALLY THOUGH, SCIENCE.