Feb 092013
 

Wondering about the gender of the baby you’re carrying is as natural as breathing. Any expectant mother who tells you she isn’t curious about whether she’s having a boy or a girl either already knows (or thinks she knows) or is lying.

These days, we expect to know the gender of our babies with relative certainty by the midway point of the pregnancy. Ultrasound technology has advanced to the point that we can know with 90% accuracy whether we’re carrying a boy or a girl at 20 weeks gestation. That’s great, except:

  • No one really wants to wait 20 weeks to find out
  • 90% accuracy still means 1 in 10 will get wrong information about baby’s gender

Some are content to wait and wonder, but many want to know sooner. Since moving the ultrasound up isn’t generally an option, we’re left with using traditional baby gender prediction methods or ponying up to buy commercially available baby gender tests.

Traditional Baby Gender Prediction Methods

Beliefs about traditional baby gender prediction methods range from blind faith to dismissing them as old wives’ tales. Blind faith in a scientifically unproven prediction method probably doesn’t give you any better chances of accurately predicting your baby’s gender than flipping a coin and assigning heads to “it’s a boy” and tails to “it’s a girl.”

Still, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that there might be a very good reason why some old wives’ tales have stuck around long enough to become part of our oral tradition. Maybe there’s some truth to them. Many hold firmly to beliefs such as:

  • Where you’re carrying the baby (high or low) indicates the baby’s gender
  • Suspending your wedding ring on a string over your belly and observing whether it swings back and forth (it’s a boy!) or in circles (it’s a girl!) can predict your baby’s gender
  • Mixing your urine with Draino can predict your baby’s gender: If the color changes, buy blue paint, if it stays the same, invest in pink

At the very worst, these methods offer a 50/50 chance of predicting your baby’s gender and can be fun.

Other Medical Baby Gender Prediction Methods

Other than ultrasound, the two main medical gender prediction methods are amniocenteses and CVS testing. Unfortunately, both of these are more invasive and carry more risk than ultrasound, so doctors won’t order them just to satisfy your curiosity. Generally, you need to have a serious risk factor in your pregnancy before a doctor will order one. These tests are about 99% accurate.

Of course, there is no perfect gender prediction test. Even the most accurate and scientific tests still have the potential to get it wrong. Who knows? Maybe that’s to keep us guessing, if only a little, until the big day finally comes.

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