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Can You Guess Your Baby's Sex?

Trying to tell whether it's a boy or girl? Here's what works -- and what doesn't.

Pregnancy Myth #2: Rhythm of the Heart

Myth:If the baby's heart beats faster than 140 beats per minute, it's a girl.

Reality:This is a myth Mass says her patients ask her about on a daily basis, and there might actually be a wee bit of truth to it.  

A 2006 study showed no gender-related differences in fetal heart rate during the first trimester, but Mass says that's no surprise, considering that babies' hearts beat faster in general during the first 28 to 30 weeks of pregnancy. It's later in the pregnancy when the difference becomes apparent. A 1999 study showed that just before delivery, a female baby's heart does beat faster than a male's. Mass says she sees a similar trend in her own patients.

Pregnancy Myth #3: Swinging on a Hair

Myth: Hang your wedding ring from a strand of the father's hair over your belly. If the ring swings around in circles, it's a girl. If it sways back and forth, it's a boy. An alternate version of this myth recommends dangling a pin over the mother's wrist.

Reality: There's no real evidence to confirm or deny this one. Mass doesn't see any scientific basis for it, but she says people who follow traditional Chinese medicine might explain the dangling ring (or pin) as evidence of the body's natural forces at work.

Pregnancy Myth #4: The Drano Test

Myth:Stir some Drano into your urine. If the mixture turns green, it's a boy. Other color changes have been proposed for this myth, but green is one of the most common.

Reality: Mass doesn't know of any medical reason why a Drano-urine mixture could predict a baby's sex. "There's no change in the acidity or alkalinity of a boy or girl chromosome," she says. 

The few studies that have been done on the subject also refute the claim. In the early 1980s, researchers at the University of Wyoming performed the test on 100 pregnant women and found it to be "roughly equivalent to flipping a coin" for predicting gender.  A 1999 Canadian study yielded similar results.  

Even if the technique did work, Drano is a caustic chemical -- not something you want to be playing around with or breathing in while you're pregnant, Beard says.

 

Pregnancy Myth #5: Sweet Tooth

Myth: A pregnant woman who craves sweets is having a boy. If she craves sour foods, she's having a girl.

Reality: Your baby boy might grow up to have a sweet tooth, but while he's in your womb he's not going to make you desperate for an ice cream cone or candy bar. If you're craving sweets (or any other food), it's probably because your shifting hormones have intensified your sense of smell.

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