The most interesting part of pregnancy, to me, is the fascination that surrounds the discovery of the baby's sex. When I was expecting, I worked at a restaurant where so many customers told me they just knew I was having a boy or a girl based on some seemingly random old wives' tale. Many people told me that since I was carrying my baby low, I was going to have a boy (and, it turns out, they were right). So I began to wonder, what are some other ways people around the world guess the sex of the baby?
Obviously some superstitions and myths stick around because each prediction has a 50 percent chance of being accurate. But that doesn't stop people from engaging in the traditional pastime of wagering bets or making guesses as to whether or not the mother is carrying a boy or a girl. Sometimes you can't even rely on an ultrasound to determine the sex. A friend of mine, much to her surprise, found out she gave birth to a boy when sonograms had indicated a girl instead.
So if you're a little curious, too, check out some of the interesting ways other cultures around the world guess the sex of the baby.
Probably the most popular method both at home and abroad originated in Asia. According to the experts at What To Expect When You're Expecting, the Chinese Gender Chart, "takes the mom-to-be's age and her baby's month of conception, converts them to dates on the Chinese lunar calendar," and supposedly where they land on the chart will predict if you're having a boy or girl.
Though most pregnant mothers struggle with getting a good night's sleep, this one may be a bit difficult to gauge. According to Mother's Circle, a popular way to guess the baby's sex in Germany is, "if you're sleepy, you’re going to have a girl, but if you’re rested, you’re having a boy." The jury is out on what it means if you experience both.
A common theme in predicting your baby's sex has to do with how your body changes throughout pregnancy. Zeena Baria, an Indian arts and culture expert, told The Times of India, a common cultural method to predict your baby's sex in India is that, "if your nose swells during pregnancy, you will have a baby girl." I guess the nose knows?
4. The United Kingdom
This folklore seems a bit disappointing since you practically have to wait until you're having your child to find out the sex. Yet, according to the BBC, a study from the British Medical Journal might confirm a popular method that, "labor lasted longer when delivering a baby boy," which is a theory dating back centuries.
If eyes are supposedly the window to the soul, can they also offer a peak into the womb? According to the William A. Wilson Folklore Archives (WAWFA), located at Brigham Young University, it was believed in Greece that, "if you shine a light on their eye and there is one dot, they’ll have a boy, two dots indicate a girl." There's no mention on what it means if there are more than two dots, though.
For ages women have played music for their baby to hear in the womb. As it turns out, that might be one way to predict the sex. According to Mother's Circle, in Austria, if you play music and your baby moves a lot, it's a girl. If the baby doesn't seem to move very much in response to the music, then it's a boy.
A friend of mine whose family is from Brazil has told me that many of their superstitions and folklore revolve around food. So it's no surprise that the same would go for determining a baby's sex. According to WAWFA, in Brazil, "if a pregnant woman is cooking a chicken heart and the heart opens up, she’ll have a girl. If the heart stays closed the baby will be a boy." As a vegetarian, I can't help but feel uncomfortable about that idea.
8. The Caribbean
This one should come with a hazard warning since it involves cutlery. According to the experts at What To Expect When You're Expecting, in the Caribbean, a spoon and knife are placed under separate pillows,"if she picks the spoon, it’s a girl; the knife, it’s a boy." Just be careful not to sit on any strange pillows in case someone snuck in some silverware.
You'll have to be asleep for this piece of folklore to work. According to WAWFA, in Romania they sprinkle salt on a sleeping pregnant woman and, "if she brushes off her nose, she’ll have girl. If she rubs her lower lip, she’s having a boy." Can you imagine waking up to find someone pouring salt on your face?