Published on November 19th, 2019 and Updated on October 19th, 2020
Becoming a new parent comes with a host of exciting things to decide: the name of your baby, the color of their nursery, and what advice you’ll give them before their first date. Thinking too far ahead? Maybe so. Before all these decisions comes one particularly special piece of information, something that will influence all those eventful choices above.
We’re talking, of course, about your baby’s gender. Test out these old wives’ tales about pregnancy and gender prediction.
Mama Wants to Know Baby’s Gender… Now!
This article is your one-stop shop for every gender prediction test based on pseudoscience and legend.
- For you rational-minded ladies – If it’s on this list, you can be sure we’ve gotten to the bottom of the test and busted the myth behind it.
- For those with some playful imagination – They say hypnosis does work… but only on people who want hypnosis to work. While we’re not saying these old wives’ tales are true—in fact, we’re stating the opposite—if you have a spirited imagination, this list will provide hours of fun for you, your partner, and your newest baby boy or girl.
Without further ado, here are the top 7 old wives’ tales for baby gender prediction.
#1 Baking Soda Test
Up first is one of the most common tests to come across online. It’s called the baking soda test. Here’s what you need to get started:
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda
- 2 containers
- Stirring utensil
Place the two tablespoons of baking soda into one of the containers. Next, take one of the containers with you to the bathroom; it’s time to collect some urine. It’s recommended by some to collect the urine first thing in the morning for accurate results. Maybe because something is more concentrated then? Who knows.
Once you have your urine sample, combine it with the baking soda and give it a gentle stir.
Old Wives Tale Claim
You’ve done all the above, and now you’re watching the reaction. Here’s what the legend of the baking soda test says:
- If it fizzes, it’s a boy
- If it doesn’t react, it’s a girl
Is that because young boys are wild and out of control like fizzing, reactive baking soda? Or maybe it’s because girls are mature and calm (another way of saying unreactive)? Thanks for perpetuating gender stereotypes, baking soda test.
In reality, the fizzing is just carbon dioxide gas, a natural byproduct when sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) reacts with an acid. Thus, the more acidic your urine, the more bubbles will form.
#2 Red Cabbage Test
Another test that involves taking a cup to the bathroom, ladies. Only this one involves boiled cabbage… Sounds interesting enough.
Grab these ingredients to get started:
- Half a head of red cabbage
- 4-6 cups of water
- Pot to boil the water in
- 2 containers
- 1 large mixing container
- Stirring utensil
Chop up the red cabbage into small bite-sized chunks and boil the water. Once the water is boiling, add in the red cabbage and bring the mixture back to a boil. Turn the heat down to let the mixture simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and wait for it to cool.
Once your cabbage water is ready, strain the liquid into a clear container—it should be a deep purple color.
Next up, fill another container with urine. Not much is needed, half a cup to a cup will work. Then measure out an equal amount of cabbage water. Combine the two in a third mixing container, stir gently, and then observe to determine your baby’s gender.
Old Wives Tale Claim
It may be hard to determine the color change indoors. Try placing the container in sunlight for best results:
- If the liquid turns to a reddish-pink color, then you’re having a boy
- If the liquid remains unchanged or takes on a greenish hue, then you’re having a girl
What causes the change in color? Purple cabbage juice is known as an acid-base indicator. When the purple juice mixes with an acid, the reaction turns the liquid reddish-pink; when the cabbage juice mixes with a base, the reaction turns the liquid green. You can try this out with vinegar (a known acid) and laundry detergent (a known base) to confirm how cabbage juice indicates whether a substance is an acid or base.
Both of these first two tests involved mixing urine with something else. Let’s move to myth-busting and check the science behind the use of urine in determining a baby’s gender. To learn more about this gender predicting fallacy, check out our article on the Accuracy of Urine Gender Tests.
All Gender Prediction Tests Involving Urine Are Myths
Scientists have yet to find a link between the pH of a pregnant woman’s urine and the gender of her baby. And that’s probably due to the two systems being completely separate from one another.
The pH of urine is determined in the renal system by the ratio of salts to water to waste products stored in the kidneys. This is completely unrelated to the endocrine system, where the hormones of a growing baby are determined and then circulated through the mom’s bloodstream.
In other words: There are no baby gender markers found in urine, only in the mom’s blood. Thus rendering all the following tests as certified Old Wives’ Tales:
- ‘Pee on a Stick’ Gender Predictor – Yup, those $10-25 gender predictor kits that have you pee on a stick or into a cup are at best 50/50. They even say in their fine print, “For entertainment purposes only.”
- Drano Test – Okay, why this ever became a test in the first place is the biggest question. Drano fumes are toxic to inhale, and whoever suggested this to pregnant women should not be trusted. Also, their science is bad, and they should feel bad!
Now that we’ve emptied the bladder on those myths, back to the fun tales!
#3 Heartbeat Test
In this test, you’ll need to hear the heartbeat of your baby and determine its heart rate in beats per minute. If you have an at-home fetal doppler, you can listen to the fetal heart rate while having a friend or partner help you count how many beats happen in 10 seconds. Then multiply this number by 6, and you have beats per minute.
- If the bpm is over 140, you’re having a girl
- If the bpm is under 140, you’re having a boy
This one sounds legitimate. And for a long time, baby’s heart rate was actually used as a means to determine the gender of the baby.
In 2006, however, a paper was published from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology from Wright State University on exactly this matter. In the study, they examined 244 female fetal heart rates and 233 male fetal heart rates. The female FHR averaged to 152 bpm, while the male FHR average to 155 bpm. By all scientific community standards, this is not a statistically significant difference.
#4 Ring on a String Test
As any good test maker knows, the test sounds 200% more viable when it flows off the tongue: thus, the only supporting evidence for this pregnancy myth. Still curious? Here’s how it works:
- Tie your wedding ring—although any ring will do—to a long piece of string.
- Mama, go ahead and lie flat on your back with your baby bump toward the sky.
- Have your partner or friend dangle the wedding ring inches above your belly.
- Watch the subtle movements of the ring.
The specific movements of the ring reveal the baby’s gender.
- Back and forth movement – Congratulations, it’s a bouncing baby boy
- Circular motions – Equally delightful, a beautiful baby girl
What does science have to say? Fetuses do not produce magnetic waves that would move the ring. So, unless your baby is planning on joining Magneto and the rest of the X-Men universe, it’s safe to say: This old wives’ tale is busted!
#5 Where You’re Carrying the Weight
Here is an interesting test to consider. Depending on where you’re carrying the baby weight will determine the gender of your baby.
- If you’re carrying the weight high, it’s a girl
- If you’re carrying the weight low, it’s a boy
Whether there’s a scientific link here or not has yet to be proven. But physicians are not hopeful. Here are some reasons why you might be carrying high or low:
- Your natural body shape
- The baby’s positioning inside you
- Your posture and postural muscles
- How strong your pelvic floor is
#6 Partner Weight Gain
While we’re on the subject of a weight-watching game, here’s another one:
- If your partner gains weight alongside you, you’re having a little boy.
- If your partner stays the same weight, you’re having a little girl.
Although, this has been linked to the empathy levels of your partner rather than to the genetic makeup up your growing baby.
The real reason behind your partner gaining weight is something known as Couvade syndrome. Men who are empathic and share in their partner’s distress will go through some of the discomforts of pregnancy, including:
- Weight gain
- Morning sickness (that’s right)
- Dysregulated hormone levels
- Trouble sleeping or irregular sleep patterns
Although ladies, this does not mean they get out of foot-rubbing duty, midnight fast food runs, and making you that delicious peanut butter, onion, and pickle sandwich.
#7 Spontaneous Acne
This one sounds like it was made up by the evil queen from Snow White. The test is whether or not you develop acne during the first trimester.
- If you have acne, you’re having a girl.
- If you don’t, you’re having a boy.
It’s said that a daughter steals her mother’s beauty, thus the reason for acne. See what we mean about the whole Snow White evil queen vibe? Mirror, mirror on the wall…
While around 50% of mothers experience acne during pregnancy, the link is not due to the gender of the baby. It’s due to the increase of hormones and oil on the skin—which is specific to the individual mom and can happen regardless of the gender.
#8 Morning Sickness
Here’s one that deals with one of the most dreaded aspects of pregnancy: morning sickness. Why Mother Nature decided it would be a good idea to start pregnant women’s days off with a few sessions of vomiting is a question we’ll have to answer one day. Until then, can it help predict your baby’s gender? Here’s what the old wives’ tale states.
- Having a little girl will cause severe morning sickness due to the increased production of hCG hormones in the body.
Science puts this one under the “maybe” category. While the production of hCG hormones is known to cause morning sickness, and while it’s higher in women who are carrying baby girls, the unaccounted-for factor is how the woman’s body reacts. Two women could experience different degrees of morning sickness with the same levels of hCG in the same way two women could experience different degrees of pain from a broken bone. Every body is different.
Women carrying either gender can have severe morning sickness. Only looking at one factor doesn’t offer the full picture.
#9 Pregnancy Cravings
This is another common wives’ tale (and it’s a lot more fun than morning sickness). As the tale goes, different types of cravings can supposedly predict gender.
If you are having salty cravings, it’s a boy.
If you are craving sweets, it’s a girl.
According to science, there is evidence that pregnancy cravings are, in fact, real. But is there a relationship between pregnancy cravings and gender? Probably not. Cravings are most likely tied to hormonal changes or an indication a pregnant woman is in need of nutrients.
Old Wives’ Tales vs Science
As we’ve all been warned in this new digital age, the information available at our fingertips is both a blessing and a curse. While it allows people to research and teach themselves any number of worldly subjects, it also subjects people to all the false information available.
Myths and old wives’ tales to predict baby’s gender have proliferated online. And it’s up to science to stand as a pillar to rely on and to debunk these legends one by one. That’s why SneakPeek underwent scientific studies and published results proving that our Early Gender DNA Test is 99.1% accurate in predicting your baby’s gender.
That way, you don’t have to rely on peeing in cups and mixing it with boiled cabbage. You can know for certain.
NCBI. Gender-related differences in fetal heart rate during first trimester. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16354993
NCBI. Couvade syndrome among Polish expectant fathers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23425940
Web MD. Acne During Pregnancy. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/acne-during-pregnancy-treatments-causes#1
Web MD. Can You Guess Your Baby’s Sex? https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/predicting-baby-gender#3
International Journal of Pregnancy & Child Birth. Accurate fetal sex determination from maternal blood at 8 weeks gestation. https://sneakpeektest.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/journal_casanova_accurate-fetal-sex-determination-8-weeks.pdf
Web MD. Pregnancy Food Cravings. https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/pregnancy-food-cravings