boy or girl

Old Wives’ Tales, Pregnancy, and Gender Prediction

Written by: L. Elizabeth Forry



Time to read 6 min

Old wives’ tales exist in every culture around the world. They are part of oral tradition passed down from generation to generation.

These traditions are used to predict the future or explain superstitious beliefs, and while most of them have no basis in fact or science, they can be fun to learn about! One area that has an abundance of old wives’ tales is pregnancy.

Some examples of popular pregnancy beliefs are that the foods you crave while pregnant will predict what your baby will like later on, or that excessive heartburn means your baby will have a lot of hair.

While these tales may or may not have that much truth to them, it is fun to use them in an attempt to predict your baby’s gender! If you’re interested in giving gender predictions a try, read on for a breakdown of the how, why, and reliability behind some of the most popular ones.

Old Wives Tales about Pregnancy and Gender

The oral traditions of old wives’ tales are as ancient as time and language. Long before humans had a written history, we depended on our oral one.

Unfortunately, many of these oral traditions have lost their origin. So, while many of these gender predictors have no basis in science, some health and illness traditions are actually based on fact.

Some even suggest you can influence the gender of your baby before conception, but the Mayo Clinic points out that there is nothing couples can do to guarantee a boy or girl.

Many gender prediction games are based on old wives’ tales, so consider playing some at your gender reveal party.

‍Of course, the only reliable predictors of your baby’s gender are blood work performed for genetic testing around week-10 or a second-trimester ultrasound around weeks 18- 20. And while reliable, even ultrasounds have been wrong from time to time.

Nonetheless, who doesn’t like fun and games? Plus, waiting 20-weeks to find out the gender of your baby can feel like an eternity, so why not try some old wives’ tales to pass the time?

Explore The Nursery

The Most Popular Old Wives’ Tales to Predict Gender

Many old wives’ tales used to predict gender are based on pregnancy symptoms. For example, craving sweet things means you’re having a girl, while little to no morning sickness means a boy.

In reality, your morning sickness is caused by hormones and nutritional needs rather than the gender of your baby. Even though very few of these ideas are based on medical advice or tested science, women worldwide swear by them.

Here we look to see which, if any, of these traditions are rooted in any modern scientific reasoning, although I wouldn’t pick out any baby names based on the results!

The Belly

Are you carrying high or low? This old wives’ tale says that if you carry high, it is a girl, and low means you’re having a baby boy. However, in reality it’s more likely that if you carry high, it is your first baby or you are a fit person with a solid stomach and strong abdominal muscles.

All pregnant women experience weight gain, but there is a superstition that if you carry your weight out front, your baby will be a little girl while if you gained your extra weight on the hips means you’re carrying a boy. However, doctors say where you carry your baby weight depends on your body shape.

‍The Pregnancy Glow

The belief is that if you’re experiencing more acne than usual, then you must be carrying a baby girl since a girl “steals her mother’s beauty”, whereas clear skin during pregnancy means you’re carrying a boy.

Although it is true that some pregnant women experience the “pregnancy glow,” this is due to increased blood flow and volume that occurs in all pregnancies, not just in boy pregnancies.


Drano Test

Per legend, you and your partner need to mix your urine and add some liquid Drano. If it turns green, you’re having a boy, while blue indicates a girl. However, there is zero scientific evidence to support this since the color of your urine changes daily.

Sympathy Weight

If your partner doesn’t gain any sympathy weight, they say it means you’re carrying a boy, but if they’ve packed on some pounds, you’re having a girl. While there is a syndrome called Couvade Syndrome, or sympathetic pregnancy, it has nothing to do with gender.

Fetal Heart Rate

One of the more widely known myths is that the baby’s heart rate can tell you the sex of your baby. For example, it’s said that if the fetal heart rate is under 140 bpm, it is a boy. While this is false, it is based on some truth. Once labor has begun, a girl’s heart rate is usually higher than a boy’s.

500+ 5-Star Reviews
Meet The Glider Plus
Ships immediately!
All the features
you need in our
Award Winning glider

Chinese Gender Chart

The Chinese gender chart is a widely used method by some to plan the gender of their baby. This chart uses the mother’s age and the month of conception to predict the baby’s gender.

Ring Test

This is probably one of the more wild predictors, but why not give it a try? Tie your wedding ring to a piece of string and dangle it over your belly. If the ring swings from the left side to the right, you are having a boy. A ring spinning in a circle means a girl.

Linea Nigra

A lengthy linea nigra, a dark line that appears on your belly, is supposed to mean a little boy and a short one indicates a girl.

What actually causes a pregnant woman’s nipples and skin to darken are increased hormones in the placenta, which cause dark areas of the body to become more pronounced, not the gender of the baby she is carrying.

Unisex Baby Gifts

Some people choose not to discover their baby’s gender until the due date arrives and their baby is born. In that case, here are some unisex gifts you can give to the parents-to-be.

Nursery Glider

All new parents need a comfortable and versatile glider for their nursery. Nurture& gliders are fashionable, made with stain-resistant fabric, and most importantly, extremely comfortable, which will make those late-night feedings easier on parents and babies.

Blankets, Towels and Sheet Set

Every baby needs blankets, towels and Sheet Set, so why not give adorable neutral-toned ones of these as a gift? You can never go wrong with animals, letters, or gender-neutral tones


A playmat is an excellent gift and toy where babies can learn and explore as they stretch their muscles and observe the dangling, colorful toys.

Playmats give babies a chance to develop their physical and cognitive skills through play and observation; for more gift ideas, click here to read about baby registries.

‍Nursing Pillow

Another great gift for moms-to-be is a nursing pillow to use during breastfeeding. These pillows are a lifesaver to help mom and baby find a comfortable position.

This is also key to a proper latch for the baby, making feedings more productive and less painful for the mom.

Whether or not you believe in old wive’s tales or you simply want to try some on a whim, these oral traditions are a great way to pass the time, and nerves, leading up to your 20-week sonogram!

Consider adding them as games at your gender reveal party as a unique way to involve your family and friends; everyone loves to make gender predictions! 

No matter which traditions you try, remember to take the results with a grain of salt and to enjoy the thrill of being pregnant!

If you are setting up the baby's room, discover the nursery furniture essentials on Nurture&

L. Elizabeth Forry

L. Elizabeth Forry

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Dakota and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and one in Music from Lebanon Valley College. 


She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding mental health, social-emotional development, gender development. 


She has written curriculum for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics on early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside of Annapolis, Maryland.