Published on September 28th, 2020
When you tell your loved ones that you’re expecting a new addition to the family, they share their joy, excitement, and of course, expertise—especially when it comes to guessing your baby’s gender.
Some relatives may already be loading up their shopping carts with blue onesies based on your lack of morning sickness. Your partner’s family may be certain that the shape of your belly means a future nephew or grandson will be arriving soon. And if your friends frequent New Age shops, you may be subjected to several star charts, tea leaf examinations, and tarot readings at your next girls’ night.
While traditions and old wives tales are a fun way to daydream about your future child, you might just want straight-forward answers, leading you to take a gender prediction test eventually. But what signs of having a baby boy are based on fact?
5 Signs You are Pregnant with a Baby Boy—The Facts and Fiction
Everything from changes in your appearance to your eating habits has been linked to a baby’s gender. But some popularly believed symptoms of having a boy might not be founded in science.
#1 Beautiful Hair and Skin Means a Baby Boy
The Theory: Not quite a theory, but a common urban pregnancy legend—girls steal their mothers’ beauty while boys make their moms more beautiful. So if you have no pregnancy acne and long, lustrous hair, you’re having a boy.
The Facts: The only thing your baby will be stealing is your heart, regardless of gender. Whether you’re experiencing serious hair glow-up or flashing back to your acne-ridden teen years, the same culprit causes both conditions: hormones. Pregnancy naturally increases your body’s hormone levels to help the fetus grow. Hormones encourage cell growth, healthy placenta development, and more. While these hormones may nourish your baby’s development, they can also result in some physiological changes for you as a pregnant woman, including:
- Thicker, shinier hair – Several key pregnancy hormones, including progesterone, can impact your locks. Progesterone increases natural oil production in your hair glands, giving your hair a luxurious luster while you’re carrying a little one. Estrogen, another hormone that increases during pregnancy, may extend your hair’s growth cycle. This slows natural hair shedding and creates longer, thicker hair during pregnancy.
- Breakouts – Progesterone’s ability to increase natural oil production may also cause acne breakouts. When the skin produces excessive oil, it’s easier for bacteria and grime to settle into pores and cause acne.
- Longer, stronger nails – During pregnancy, your estrogen levels rise higher than any other time in your life. Researchers believe that the increase of this hormone may strengthen your nails and help them grow longer.
- Glowing skin – Pregnancy glow is a rosiness caused by an increase in blood flow to a woman’s face—and really, her whole body. During pregnancy, your blood volume will increase by 40 to 45%. Why the sudden increase in blood? Your vascular system is how your body transfers sustenance from you to the placenta to the growing fetus baby.
Vitamins and nutrients are absorbed from the food you eat and enter the bloodstream. When you’re not pregnant, blood delivers these nutrients to various cells and systems of the body to keep you healthy—so really, your blood cells are kind of like the body’s microscopic food trucks. But when you’re “eating for two,” your body makes more “food trucks” to nourish you and the unborn baby. So the more blood the better!
Additionally, pregnancy hormones may increase your body’s cell generation rate. That means older skin cells are sloughing away earlier, revealing new healthy skin cells faster. These cells increase skin’s plumpness, smoothness, and natural radiance—kind of like a pregnancy facial.
But does the sex of your baby affect these hormonal conditions? Nope!
Pregnancy hormones just affect women differently. So you may enjoy longer, stronger hair, or you may have a few more breakouts than you’re used to. The good news (or maybe the sad news if you’re relishing your pregnancy glow-up) is that these symptoms will fade away after your baby is born. So enjoy it while it lasts or, alternatively, remember that these changes are temporary.
The Verdict: You may experience the effects of hormonal increases like rosy skin or thicker hair whether you’re carrying a lovely little boy or a gorgeous little girl. Though this may not be considered one of the symptoms of baby girl or baby boy, extra luscious hair and skin is something to enjoy while pregnant!
#2 Carrying Low Means You’re Having a Boy
The Theory: If your pregnancy belly sits low on your abdomen, i.e. if you’re carrying low, you’re having a baby boy.
The Facts: This theory comes from the assumption that baby boys are heavier than baby girls, and therefore gravity naturally situates them lower on your body. However, boy and girl babies weigh about the same, on average. Here are the average birth weights of newborns from the World Health Organization:
- Newborn baby girls – 7.5 pounds
- Newborn baby boys – 7.8 pounds
While there is a difference of 0.3 pounds between newborn boys and girls, it’s not enough to impact where the baby is situated on your body. In fact, it’s not your baby’s body that determines whether you’re carrying high or low—it’s yours.
A few key factors impact where you carry your baby, including:
- The shape of your uterus – Just like women, uteri come in all shapes and sizes. That’s right, your uterus shape might be slightly different than your mom’s or your gal pals’. And your unique uterus can affect your belly’s shape and where you carry your growing child.
- Your body type – Your unique body shape and type can determine whether you carry the baby high or low.
- Your abdominal muscles – Your ab muscles help cradle your growing belly. So if you have stronger muscles, you will carry higher. Additionally, if you’ve been pregnant before, those muscles may be a little softer and carry your baby a little lower.
Think of your abdomen like a basket with your baby snug inside. The material, shape, and construction of the basket will have more of an impact on your belly’s appearance than your baby.
The Bottom Line: Your baby’s gender doesn’t impact where you carry. For more details on how your body affects where you carry your child, check out our blog on pregnant belly shapes and what yours means.
#3 Lower Fetal Heart Rate Indicates a Baby Boy
The Theory: A baby’s heart rate can tell you the baby’s gender. If the bpm—beats per minute—is lower than 140, you’re having a boy.
The Facts: This theory also links back to the “boy babies are bigger” myth since taller adult bodies tend to have lower resting heart rates. But when we bring science into play, this myth gets double-busted.
Multiple studies have shown that baby heart rates, regardless of gender, tend to be the same. For more details on these studies, you can explore our blog on gender prediction based on heart rate. However, a baby’s heart rate does change based on the current stage of development.
- 5 Weeks – 80-85 bpm—about the same as Mom’s!
- 9 Weeks – From nine weeks and throughout most of the pregnancy, a baby’s heart rate will range between 120-180 bpm.
- The Last 10 Weeks – Before delivery, babies’ hearts slow down just a bit, with bpm landing somewhere between 110 and 160 beats per minute.
For a little context, the normal resting heart rate for adults is 60-100 bpm. While your baby’s heart rate seems a little fast, it’s normal for those little hearts to beat a little quicker. Scientists are still learning why babies’ heart rate changes in the uterus, but they know for a fact that your baby’s gender doesn’t impact the wonderful, speedy little heartbeat.
The Verdict: Your little one’s fluttering heart is a wonder to listen to—especially with the help of our at-home Baby Heart Monitor—but the baby’s heartbeat won’t tell you whether you’re having a boy or a girl.
#4 No Morning Sickness Means a Baby Boy
The Theory: More hormones means more morning sickness and since girls naturally have more hormones, no morning sickness means you’re having a boy!
The Facts: Research has shown that boys and girls don’t change hormone levels in a woman—in fact, it’s the other way around—Mom has more of an impact on a baby’s hormone levels. Both boys and girls are born with a high amount of estrogen in their systems thanks to mom’s pregnancy hormones. So no, your little girl or boy isn’t causing hormone-induced nausea or vomiting.
But when it comes to morning sickness, the science is… still figuring it out. Multiple studies show contrasting information. Here are the two most recent studies on morning sickness and a baby’s gender:
Study #1 Stockholm, Sweden – 1999
Over the course of nearly a decade, researchers at the Karolinska Institute studied over one million Swedish babies born between 1987 and 1995.
- The ratio of boys to girls was 51.4% boys and 48.6% girls
- Out of the women who reported experiencing severe morning sickness, 44.3% had boys while 55.7% had girls.
- According to the study, women who experienced morning sickness were less likely to have boys.
Interesting data? Absolutely. Conclusive? Not quite.
Just ask the head of the study, Dr. Johan Askling:
“Using sickness to predict the sex of an individual offspring is not much better than tossing a coin.”
Study #2 Yazd, Iran – 2013
This study examined 2,450 pregnancies and deliveries in Shahid Sagoudhi Hospital from May 2010 to April 2011.
- 50.6% of babies were boys and 49.4% were girls
- 76% of the women reported experiencing morning sickness (1,241 women)
- Out of the 1,241 women who reported morning sickness, 79% had baby boys
The study concludes that women who experience morning sickness are more likely to have a baby boy.
Study #3 London, UK – in progress
This research, still in progress, aims to recruit over 500 women in the United Kingdom to study hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum is different from your standard morning sickness. This condition keeps women from keeping down food or water to the point of weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration. The study will examine causes, treatments, and newborn data associated with this illness.
The Verdict: Morning sickness might be included as one of the signs you are pregnant with a boy, but the scientific jury is still out. More studies need to be conducted to reach concrete conclusions on this phenomenon.
If you’re in your first trimester and experiencing some stomach issues associated with morning sickness, you’re not alone. Check out our guide on natural cures for first-trimester tummy troubles.
#5 You’re Eating More… But Not Gaining Excess Weight
The Theory: The old belief that growing boys need extra food starts right in the womb.
The Facts: Boys’ appetites are famous—but does that appetite start in the womb? Possibly! Recent research shows that women who carry boys tend to eat more than women who are carrying girls—but don’t gain more weight.
How many more calories? 10%. Since medical professionals recommend pregnant women eat around 2500 calories a day, that 10% winds up being just about 250 calories. What does 250 calories look like? Not a lot if you’re trying to puzzle out this method for yourself:
- A milkshake
- 12 ounces of grape juice
- A brownie
- Half a large soft pretzel
The Bottom Line: The caloric difference between women who are carrying boys and women who are carrying girls is so slight, it may be impossible to tell without extensive food journaling and self-weighing—which, trust us, is not how you should be spending your pregnancy.
Besides, there’s an easier way to discover if you’re having a little boy that doesn’t make you count calories—just weeks.
Boy or Girl? Discovering Your Baby’s Gender with SneakPeek
Your glow, morning sickness, or even the acclaimed pencil gender test may not reveal your baby’s gender, but you can see signs of having a boy at 8 weeks into pregnancy with the SneakPeek Early Gender DNA Test.
The gender blood test searches for traces of male DNA in your bloodstream. Since moms only have female DNA, the presence of male genetic material points to one thing—a blue nursery and a beautiful baby boy! This simple, safe, and intuitive test can be conducted in the comfort of your own home, and you receive results soon after your test sample arrives back at SneakPeek Labs.
Stop reading the signs and start finding answers with SneakPeek.
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