Gender Prediction Tests: Facts and fictions
Now that you’re a soon-to-be mama, your BFFs are constantly sending you FB links to “totally true” baby sex predictor tests. You just read that if you mix baking soda with your own pee (yes, people actually do this) and it fizzes, you are def having a boy. Um, really? You’re all about figuring out whether you need a princess pink or sea creature blue nursery, but you aren’t exactly sure if these so-called methods are real or just old wives’ tales. Check out the facts — and the fictions — when it comes to figuring out whether you’re having a Jenny or a Johnny.
THE REAL DEAL
We talked to double board-certified physician (in OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine) Dr. Kecia Gaither about the real deal when it comes to determining fetal sex. Dr. Gaither notes that there are three “medically proven” diagnostic ways to tell whether you’re having a boy or a girl.
1. Cell-Free DNA (cFDNA): Dr. Gaither says, “During pregnancy, fetal genetic material can get into the mother’s blood stream… which can be obtained and evaluated by drawing a blood specimen from the mother and sending it to a special lab for analysis. The specimen gives the sex determination, as well as the genetic complement.”
2. Chorionic Villus Sampling: In this invasive procedure, “A needle is inserted into the woman’s womb, through the abdomen or through the cervix, in the first trimester of pregnancy, and a placental specimen (chorionic villus) is obtained,” according to Dr. Gaither.
3. Amniocentesis: Another invasive measure (again, a needle is inserted into Mom) is amniocentesis. Dr. Gaither explains, “A needle is inserted into the womb in the second trimester, and amniotic fluid is extracted, which contains fetal skin cells. These cells are sent to the lab, grown over several days, and the genetic material is extracted. Along with the genes, the sex determination can be had.”
Okay, so you’ve heard that you can predict your baby’s sex without going the medical route. How? Well, there’s basically a buffet of “predictors” that many mamas claim completely work. These range from simple signs to kind of (or more than kind of) kooky tests. There’s the taste test (craving sweets means a girl, salty stuff equals a boy), ideas from acne (preggo with pimples is a girl — because she’s stealing your beauty) and how you’re carrying (a high baby bump means a girl, while a low one means a boy).
Then you’ve got the ideas that are a little more out there. Along with the previously mentioned baking soda pee test, the cabbage test also uses your own urine (and not in a doctor-laboratory-medical way) to predict the sex. Apparently, if you boil red cabbage, strain it, mix your pee with the leftover water and it turns pink, you’re having a girl. Got purple? It’s a boy.
If you’re not into using your pee to predict baby gender (and who really is?), you can hang a ring from a string and wave it over your belly. A straight back and forth swing says you’re having a girl, and a circular motion says boy.
Your cousin carried all three of her pregnancies high — and has three darling little girls. Your neighbor couldn’t stop eating pretzels, popcorn and bacon, and she had a salty little sea sailor of a boy. Your best friend actually admitted that she tried the baking soda test — and it worked! So, doesn’t this mean that the “myths” are way more than silly stories?
Probably not. Sure, sometimes the supposed signs match up with the sex, but it’s likely that this is just a coincidence. These home predictors can be fun to try out with your friends and family, but take the results with a grain of salt. Dr. Gaither notes that the prediction test scenarios are, “Old wives’ tales with no scientific basis.”
Erica Loop is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh. When she’s not busy creating kids’ activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies, you can find her trying to hang out with her teenage son, being chased by her two Olde Boston Bulldogs or teaching a children’s karate class (she’s a third degree black belt!).
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