History of Baby Gender Prediction


As long as there has been pregnancy, there have been parents who wanted to figure out their baby’s gender. While the story doesn’t expressly say so, you can almost picture Adam and Eve wondering whether their first baby would be a boy or a girl (spoiler: it’s a boy).

It kind of makes you wonder how long it took mankind to start trying to figure out ways of predicting babies’ gender. Until recent advances in ultrasound technology made gender prediction fairly accurate, it was impossible to know for sure whether you needed to buy pink paint or blue for the nursery. Still, that didn’t stop people from trying.

Was there some merit to ancient gender prediction methods, or were they all just old wives’ tales? We would be the first to acknowledge that they aren’t foolproof ways of predicting babies’ gender. Still, the fact that they have been believed by enough people for long enough to become part of our folklore would suggest that there is at least some merit to them. Even if there isn’t, it can be fun to use them to try to guess your baby’s gender.

Some of the more common wives’ tales used to predict babies’ genders are:

  • Examining how the baby sets. According to tradition, if you’re carrying your baby mostly in your hips, you are most likely having a girl. If you’re carrying more out front in the tummy, you’re likely having a boy.
  • Pendulum method. This method, which originated among gypsies, is likely superstition. Still, some believe that you can attach a ring, needle, or other pendulum to a thread and use it to predict gender. To do so, lie on your back and have someone hold the makeshift pendulum over your tummy. If it swings back and forth (like a typical pendulum), it’s a boy. If it swings in circles, it’s a girl.
  • Birth calendar. Chinese have traditionally believed that baby genders can be predicted using a birth calendar. These calendars (which can be readily found online) compare the mother’s age and the month of conception to determine your baby’s gender. Some claim as much as 90% accuracy. Of course, they generally also include a disclaimer stating that they are for entertainment purposes only.

Of course, if you want to know your baby’s gender for sure, your best bet these days is an ultrasound. Besides the fact that these are the most accurate at determining babies’ gender, they are generally provided as a normal part of prenatal care.