Before ultrasounds were a thing, people came up with all sorts of ways to tell whether a pregnant person carried a boy or girl. One of these methods even involved looking at the skin pigmentation changes often associated with pregnancy. So does a dark neck during pregnancy mean you're having a boy or a girl? There's some interesting folklore associated with the mask of pregnancy, although research might tell a different story.
Pregnant women can develop patches of pigmentation around their face and neck. Known as chloasma, melasma, or the mask of pregnancy, these markings are simply the result of the body producing more melanin than normal, as noted in Baby Center. Basically, the pregnant person's body is making more of the hormone responsible for tanning. Although the skin changes may seem a bit surprising, about two-thirds of pregnant women experience chloasma, as further explained in Baby Center. This skin change is one of the perfectly normal bodily changes associated with pregnancy, even if it isn't discussed all that often.
For the most part, the effects of melasma due to pregnancy tend to go away once the baby is born, as explained in WebMD. But that doesn't mean it's gone forever. "Melasma associated with pregnancy has the best chance of improvement with pigment gradually fading over months. However, it often recurs in subsequent pregnancies," said Dr.David Francis in Whimn. If you're going to experience these skin changes during pregnancy, then go ahead and have fun with them, right?
So can someone read these marks like tea leaves and peer into the baby's future? Well, it depends on what you believe, because the results are pretty mixed. For instance, the appearance of dark skin on the face and neck means the person is having a boy in some folk beliefs, as noted in Baby Gaga. And this isn't the only place I found that information. In one family, a mother-to-be who gets dark circles on her neck is said to be carrying a boy, as noted in Parents. Basically, the mask of pregnancy is another way to informally guess the sex of a kid before birth. Boys seem to be most commonly associated with chloasma, at least according to a very unscientific scan of popular baby boards and blogs. But is there any research to back up this belief?
In a word, no. Multiple searches for science-backed info about chloasma and a correlation to the sex of the baby turned up nothing, again and again. "The only ways to find out the sex of your baby during pregnancy are ultrasound scans showing your baby's genital area, amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS)," said midwife sonographer Kim Mackenzie-Morris in Baby Center. Folkloric beliefs about whether a baby is carried high or low, what foods the mother craves, or even the mask of pregnancy don't offer any scientific guarantees. On the other hand, it can be fun to indulge in some of these old wives' tales, and there's no real harm in them. So if a dear relative or friend claims to know what you're having just by looking at the pigmentation on your neck, well, that's OK. Whether it's revealed through an ultrasound or the birth itself, everyone will know the sex of the baby soon enough.