For many women across the globe, pregnancy is one of the best feelings in the world and as soon as they conceive, one of the things that they are curious about is whether it is a girl or a boy! However, for parents, every child is a gift from God irrespective of the gender, but, for many of those who want to decide what they should start pouring into their baby’s nursery, a nine-month wait feels like centuries.

In India, determining the sex of the child during pregnancy is illegal, and a punishable offence. Many people exploited sex-determination tests to identify the gender of the foetus, which resulted in a lot of female foeticides (killing female foetuses in the mother’s womb). Continuous practice of sex-selection has lead to a disturbance of sex ratio in India (number of females per thousand males). 

According to the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, the punishment for sex-determination and selection includes a three-year imprisonment with a fine of rupees fifty thousand or an imprisonment for five years while the fine may be extended to one lakh rupees. This is not only applicable to people who attempt to know the sex of their child but also for the doctor who performs the diagnosis. Hence, it is important to be a responsible citizen and a parent and enjoy this overwhelming phase of parenthood right from the moment you expect a baby. 

Once out, the news of pregnancy usually spreads like a wildfire across the family and the neighbourhood. Many people try to predict whether you’re carrying a baby boy or girl. However, there is no scientific proof regarding any of these predictions. This article has been written only to satiate people’s curiosity and their traditional beliefs about the baby’s gender. A few popular, age-old myths followed in different cultures to determine if you are pregnant with a baby boy have been discussed.

  1. Acne during pregnancy, baby boy or girl?
  2. Urine colour is a sign of a baby boy
  3. Signs of baby boy pregnancy include breast growth
  4. Pregnancy line or linea nigra is a symptom of baby boy
  5. Baby boy in womb symptoms include cold hands and feet
  6. Having a baby boy gives you a dry skin
  7. No weight gain is a symptom of conceiving baby boy
  8. Less intense morning sickness in case of a baby boy
  9. Glowing skin, is it a baby boy?
  10. Boy foetus have a faster heart beat
  11. Low baby bump position is a sign that you're having a boy
  12. Eating more of savory food is a symptom of having a boy
  13. Left sleep position is a boy fetus symptom
  14. Long hair in pregnant women, does it mean it's a baby boy?
  15. Intense cravings are a symptom of expecting a baby boy

Myth

Having pimples during pregnancy is another symptom that many women experience. Many people believe that it happens because such women are pregnant with a baby girl.

Fact

According to a study published in the International Journal of Women's Dermatology, the activity of sebaceous glands (oil glands) increases and is responsible for the glow that women have on their skin during pregnancy. However, many women have been reported to suffer from acne because of an overactivity of these glands. There hasn’t been any evidence of an association between pimples and the gender of the foetus. Consulting your doctor for the treatment of acne problem and keeping your face clean might help with the outbreaks.

Read more: Home remedies for acne

Myth

There is another popular myth regarding the change in urine colour depending on the sex of the child. People say that if a woman passes a dark coloured urine, chances are that she is pregnant with a boy. However, if it is pale and cloudy, it is taken as an indication of having a baby girl in her belly.

Fact

According to a study titled Urine colour as an indicator of urine concentration in pregnant and lactating women, a change in the urine colour during pregnancy is attributable to the amount of water intake by the woman, hormonal changes, excretion of proteins in the urine, among others. Hence, a woman who consumes less water during pregnancy and has a higher concentration of hormones or proteins in the urine will have a dark coloured urine. Its association with the sex of the baby is not known yet.

Myth

The myth list of pregnancy also tells that there is a difference in the growth of breasts during pregnancy. One breast grows more than the other and depending upon that it can be predicted if the woman is expecting a girl or a boy. If the right breast grows bigger than the left one, it is believed to be a sign of a baby boy.

Read more: Breast changes in early and late pregnancy

Fact

Researchers suggest that breast growth during pregnancy is different in each breast and depends on the hormonal changes and the structure and arrangement of the tissues. During pregnancy, the breast glands grow under the influence of hormones and genetic factors. This is a natural body process to prepare the body of the pregnant mother for feeding the infant. There may be significant variations in the growth patterns of the two breasts leading to a difference in their individual sizes. The gender of the child cannot be determined just by the breast growth in pregnant women.

Read more: Breast pain during pregnancy

Myth

Another frequently told story about the presence of a dark line in the centre of the baby bump and it's association with having a baby boy.

Fact

According to a study published in the Journal of National Association of Medicine, linea nigra is a thin mid-line dark pigmentation of the baby bump which occurs because of hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy. It is a normal pregnancy-related symptom, however, it is not experienced by all women.

Read more: Home remedies for pigmentation

Myth

A baby boy in the bump makes the hands and feet of the pregnant woman go cold. This is one of the myths which is commonly believed to be true in a lot of cultures. And when the woman is expecting a baby girl, she does not experience these symptoms.

Fact

Research studies indiacte that feeling cold in the hands and feet is caused by a reduction in the blood circulation. Doing some light exercises during pregnancy usually relieves this symptom.

Myth

It's a common belief that a woman who experiences skin dryness most probably has a baby boy in her belly.

Fact

According to a study published in the International Journal of Women's health, during pregnancy, the skin tissue undergoes rapid growth and stretching. This leads to a reduction in the oil production by skin glands. As a result, the woman experiences dryness in the skin.

Read more: Home remedies for dry skin

Myth

Weight gain is normally experienced by women in pregnancy. It has been a persistent belief since generations that a woman who gains weight in thighs, hips, and face gives birth to a girl, while the one who only has extra pounds on her belly is supposed to give birth to a boy. 

Fact

It is a scientific fact that different women have a different distribution of fat cells in the body along with a difference in their body metabolism. Some women might have more fat cells in the belly, hips, thighs, and face while the others may be having an equal distribution throughout their body. Also, women who are active during pregnancy and do not have too much food cravings tend to gain less weight than the others. Extra kilos may also be gained if the diet is too sugary or salty, which leads to water retention in certain areas of the mother’s body. The level of thyroid hormones, which are responsible for body metabolism also decreases in pregnancy and may result in weight gain.

Read more - Thyroid problems

Myth

Feeling sick in the morning is a very normal symptom of pregnancy. Though, many people believe that if you’re expecting a baby girl, you’ll experience it more often and with a greater intensity. On the other hand, it is less troublesome if it’s a baby boy.

Fact

Doctors believe that every woman and every pregnancy is different. According to a study on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy, it occurs due to a fat-rich diet, mother’s genetics, and as an adaptive mechanism to protect the foetus from toxic foods. There is not much scientific evidence for the relationship between morning sickness and the sex of the baby.

Myth

Some people believe that when it’s a baby girl, the mother gives her beauty to the daughter and might look dull or have skin problems during the entire pregnancy period. However, if your bump is because of a baby boy, it is usually not so.

Read more - Skin disease treatment

Fact

Researchers suggest that the fluctuations in hormones are the main culprit behind these skin changes and their relationship with the baby’s gender has not been proven yet.

Read more - Hormonal imbalance treatment

Myth

There has also been an age-old tale about the growing baby’s heartbeat in the mother’s womb and its association with its gender. People say that a baby boy’s heart beats faster as compared to that of a baby girl and it tells what the gender of the foetus would be.

Fact

According to a study published in the Journal of Prenatal Medicine, the heart of the foetus develops in the fourth week of pregnancy and starts beating. The heart rate of the foetus is 110 bpm (beats per minute) during the fifth week, 170 in the ninth week, and then gradually reduce to 150 bpm by the thirteenth week. Hence, it is a fact that the change in the heartbeats is because the heart undergoes a number of changes necessary to make the baby’s body grow and function effectively.

Read more: Baby's heartbeat during pregnancy

Myth

There is another famous myth regarding the gender of the baby and the level at which the baby is carried in the womb. People believe that if the baby is carried low in the belly, it’s a boy, and when it’s carried high, it’s a girl.

Fact

A study titled Placental location and its influence on the position of the fetus in the uterus suggests that the level at which the placenta fuses with the uterus decides the position of the foetus in it. How the baby is carried in the belly is not an indication of its gender.

Myth

Women who crave for salty and spicy food are often told that they will give birth to a baby boy, while those who eat more of sugary and sweet food are believed to be expecting a baby girl.

Fact

Research suggests that the food cravings that women go through are associated with the food preference and choices of the individual women. The inclination of the woman towards different kinds of food is totally dependent on her food habits and not on the foetus' gender.

Myth

Women who sleep more on their left side have been believed to be carrying a baby boy, while those who carry a baby girl prefer to sleep on their right.

Fact

There have been various studies, which show that the left side is more comfortable while sleeping and its association with the gender of the foetus does not have a scientific basis.

Myth

There is another myth for hair growth in pregnant women which is quite popular among people. It is often heard that if the pregnant woman’s scalp hair grow and become lustrous, it’s an indication that she is carrying a little boy in her belly.

Fact

According to a study published in the International Journal of Women's Dermatology, during pregnancy, the hair shed less because the hair follicles remain in the anagen stage (a stage of active hair growth when the hair grow up to one centimetre in length per month). Its association with the sex of the baby is still a mystery.

Myth

Food craving during pregnancy is the most talked-about subject amongst people. The traditional belief related to this is that women who have crazy food cravings during pregnancy carry a boy in their womb.

Fact

According to the study titled Pickles and ice cream! Food cravings in pregnancy: hypotheses, preliminary evidence, and directions for future research, food cravings are very common in pregnant women. However, there have also been cases where the pregnant women did not have any such experience. The main reason for food cravings includes hormonal fluctuations, the nutritional needs of the pregnant woman and the foetus, a trigger to remove foetal toxins, and cultural norms. As of now, a solid scientific evidence for a link between the gender of the child and food cravings has not been found.

References

  1. Noel M. Lee, Sumona Saha. Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2011 Jun; 40(2): 309–vii. PMID: 21601782
  2. Catherine C. Motosko et al. Physiologic changes of pregnancy: A review of the literature. Int J Womens Dermatol. 2017 Dec; 3(4): 219–224. PMID: 29234716
  3. Oriana Valenti et al. Fetal cardiac function during the first trimester of pregnancy. J Prenat Med. 2011 Jul-Sep; 5(3): 59–62. PMID: 22439077
  4. Amy L. McKenzie et al. Urine color as an indicator of urine concentration in pregnant and lactating women. Eur J Nutr. 2017; 56(1): 355–362. PMID: 26572890
  5. Antônio Arildo Reginaldo de Holanda et al. Ultrasound findings of the physiological changes and most common breast diseases during pregnancy and lactation. Radiol Bras. 2016 Nov-Dec; 49(6): 389–396. PMID: 28057965
  6. Natalia C. Orloff, Julia M. Hormes. Pickles and ice cream! Food cravings in pregnancy: hypotheses, preliminary evidence, and directions for future research. Front Psychol. 2014; 5: 1076. PMID: 25295023
  7. Filipov E, Borisov I, Kolarov G. [Placental location and its influence on the position of the fetus in the uterus]. Akush Ginekol (Sofiia). 2000;40(4):11-2. PMID: 11288622
  8. Priya Soma-Pillay et al. Physiological changes in pregnancy. Cardiovasc J Afr. 2016 Mar-Apr; 27(2): 89–94. PMID: 27213856
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