Determining the Sex:
With the advent of ultrasounds, couples can know within a few short months, the sex and health of their baby. Despite a few hiccups in the technology, it has only become more accurate as time marches on, and the idea of not knowing is more unusual than wondering. A few odd couples decide to wait until the birth of their child to learn its sex but for the most part human beings are curious. People for centuries have wondered and attempted to divine the sex of their child. Much folklore cropped up as women guessed and hoped and wished during their nine month wait.
Pregnancy and New Baby Lore (FA 01 45)
The Drano method is two part. The first part involves Crystal Drano, a kind of drain cleaning powder, which a woman who is more than six months pregnant can spit into to divine the sex of her unborn child. The woman must simply spit into a tablespoon of the powder, and observe the reaction. If the powder sizzles and turns black, she’s pregnant with a boy. If it remains inert, she’s having a girl.
The second part involves Liquid Drano. Hailed as the most accurate gender test involving drain cleaner, it is not recommended by chemists, who use a fume hood when trying it out, because of the caustic chemicals involved. That being said, it requires women to mix equal parts urine and Liquid Drano and observe the reaction. It is suggested that the Drano be poured into the toilet to observe rather than elaborate measures being taken to obtain a container full of urine to sample. If the solution turns green, the woman testing herself is carrying a girl. If the liquid turns blue, she’s carrying a boy. This test has about fifty percent chance of being accurate.
Another indicator used to discover the sex of an unborn baby is the amount of body hair of the mother. If the expectant mother gains an excess of body hair during pregnancy, it means she’ll have a boy. The theory behind this idea is that an excess of male hormones in a woman’s body from a baby boy will cause her to grow hair in places that extra female hormones wouldn’t influence.
It has been scientifically proven that the male’s chromosomes dictate the sex of a baby. Though the results are approximately fifty percent, there other factors that determine gender. One of those ways is the PH of the mother during conception. Different environments are more supportive of male or female sperm, and those environments can be controlled by diet and hygiene practices. Lore claims that the easiest way for a mother to dictate the gender of her child is to eat a great deal of either bananas for a boy, or lemons for girl.
Another simple guarantee was for the woman to lie on her side during conception. If she chose the right side, she should get a boy, while lying on her left side would result in a girl.
Some pregnant women attempt to divine the sex of the baby by hanging a pencil by a string above their stomach. If the pencil makes a circular motion, the woman will have a girl. If the pencil makes a straight line back and forth, the baby will be a boy.
Another way to divine the sex of an unborn baby is by how it is carried. Babies carried low are occasionally thought to be male, while babies carried high are could be female. If the front pokes out and the sides don’t, the baby is a boy or if the sides poke out, the baby could be a girl. This advice is also told frequently in the reverse.
The Lore of Pregnancy (FA 01 229)
When a baby is late, many perpetuators of folk lore feel the need to comment. About half of them will claim that the lateness of the baby indicates a female, while the other half insists that males are the ones who come late.
They’ll also make claims about the behavior of the mother-to-be. Supposedly, those who are pregnant with a girl become more romantic during the pregnancy. The corollary to that would be that women who are pregnant with boys act more standoffish during pregnancy, though that claim wasn’t made. The claim that was made was that boys are more active in the womb. However, nearly every woman in child-bearing years who shared the claim also contradicted it with personal experience.
One bit of lore perpetuated by doctors before they had ultrasound was that girl’s heart beats are faster than boys. Doctors would listen to the heartbeat with a stethoscope and tell the mother what she’d likely be having based on the speed.
Everything You Should Know About Pregnancy??? (FA 01 456)
Conception lore ranges from ridiculous to pseudo-scientific. Things like looking at the full moon during conception may seem romantic, but have no actual effect on the gender of the baby. Likewise, using the position of the bed can’t have much of an effect, but is still recommended.
The scientific advice is almost odder though. Some suggest various chemical mixtures to be applied before conception. There is also the calendar method which attempts to reason that the time a couple conceives during a woman’s cycle will determine the sex of the child. Intercourse once at ovulation will ensure a boy because male sperm are faster, while female sperm are long lasting, so if intercourse comes a while before ovulation, the female sperm will outlive its male opponents and live to fertilize the egg.
Various women have said they are sicker when they have one sex over the other, though few women have enough children to be able to have any kind of statistical certainty of the differences in pregnancy are based on gender versus just based on the fact that they’re having different children altogether.
A Greek doctor encouraged his patients to shine a light on their eye and count the dots on the bottom of their irises. If there is one dot, they’ll have a boy. Two dots indicate a girl. No word on if the dots change for every pregnancy or even which eye the dots should be counted in.
Another doctor’s method was equally nonsensical and even less useful. He claimed that he could tell the sex of a baby by the ears as the baby comes out. If he’d wait a few minutes, I’m sure he could know for sure.
The excitement of guessing the sex lives beyond the first baby, and the folklore adapts to include new situations. One way of determining the gender of a second or third child is based on the first baby’s first words. If the first baby say’s Dada first, the new sibling will be a boy. Likewise, Mama is the signifier for a new girl.
Folklore of Pregnancy and Birth (FA 01 510)
A couple of radio hosts used an interesting mathematical method to guess the gender of listeners’ babies. The woman’s age at conception plus the number of the month the baby is conceived in were added together. If the resulting answer was odd, they guessed that the baby was female; with even numbers they guessed a boy. Surprisingly, this was more accurate than just guessing blind for their few listeners who called in.
Pregnancy and New Baby Lore (FA 01 684)
Young girls who wished to divine their future could look to their hands for answers. The amount of white marks on the fingernails indicates the amount of children a girl will have.
Gender Prognostications in Pregnancy (FA 01 737)
The first time a woman crosses the threshold into her home after finding out she’s pregnant will determine the gender of the baby. Crossing with the right foot indicates a boy, while crossing with the left indicates a girl. According to some, this is so powerful that if the baby was already one gender, but the woman walks across the threshold the opposite way, the baby will change in the womb.
Surprisingly many people seem to think that gender is a bit fluid in the womb, changing based on random activities of the mother. For example, her eating habits. Drinking milk in the morning will make the baby decide to be a girl, while eating a lot of shrimp in the morning will make a boy. One mother-in-law told her pregnant daughter-in-law to jump over the bed with a cowboy hat and boots on to guarantee a son. She had no method for guaranteeing daughters.
Some believe they can suggest gender to the baby by referring to it in gendered pronouns. But if they actually buy something that it too gendered, the baby will come out the opposite gender out of spite. Quite a few stories exist where a couple received a gift of a crib or other important baby necessity and it ended up being for the wrong gender.
Others believe more strongly in indicators beyond the mother’s control. If a woman’s fingernails grow faster than her toenails during pregnancy, she’ll have a girl. If her toenails grow faster, she’ll have a boy. If the couple has intercourse more after the woman becomes pregnant, it’s a sign that she’s carrying a boy, or if they have less, she’s carrying a girl. Some people get capillaries in their eye indicating gender of their unborn children. Other people just have bloodshot eyes.
Darker skinned women will perhaps notice a distinct coloration of their Linea Alba depending on the sex of the child, dark with a boy and light with a girl.
Darker urine during pregnancy indicates a boy. Or dehydration.
Baby Folklore (FA 01 1075)
If a woman eats the heel of a loaf of bread, she’ll have a son. This was told by a cranky grandfather who wished the women in his life would stop wasting the end of the bread loaf. It is unlikely that this folklore spread beyond his family.
Other folklore is more general, but no less nonsensical. One woman claimed that mother’s would ‘dribble’ on themselves more when they are pregnant with a boy than when they have a girl because girls are neater than boys. Others said that unplanned babies are more likely to be boys. Possibly something to do with girls being more organized or something like that.
Explaining the Unknown Folklore Associated With Pregnancy And Childbirth (FA 01 1088)
Lots of tales of the unreliability of ultrasounds refer to incidences like the one where a girl had her heel curled up between her legs, and the technician had mistaken her for a boy. They make the stories even more horrifying by describing a wealthy woman who went all out to make a perfect princess room for what turned out to be a baby boy.
Instead of something as unreliable as science, some suggest that a pregnant woman drinks five cups of black coffee. If the woman throws up, she’s having a girl, and if she can keep it down, she’s having a boy.
In the 1800s, a group of orphans were killed in a train wreck. Their ghosts rattle the train whenever children or pregnant women go in the car, so a woman who thought she might be pregnant went to the car to avoid unnecessary costs of pregnancy tests. The car shook, so she coughed up the money for a pregnancy test. She was pregnant.
Pregnancy and Birth Folklore (FA 01 1283)
A baby is more likely to be a girl if the parents have a very active sex life before her conception. This doesn’t explain the belief that after conception, an active sex life is an indicator of a male child. Or that male children are more likely to be the result of an unplanned pregnancy.
Determining the Gender of Your Baby (FA 01 1722)
The temperature of the woman’s body matters during conception. If the body is very warm, the baby will be a girl. If the body is normal temperature, the baby will be a boy. Or it would be if women could be the determining factor in their children’s’ genders.
Pregnancy Folklore (FA 01 1807)
Woman who look haggard and tired during pregnancy are going to have a boy, because boys take a lot of energy. Women who look radiant must have a girl inside them because girls give their mothers energy.
Red Raspberries and Drano: Pregnancy Beliefs and the Influence of the Family (FA 01 1881)
Brazilian Folk Lore states that if a pregnant woman is cooking a chicken heart and the heart opens up, she’ll have a girl. If the heart stays closed the baby will be a boy.
Boy or Girl? Popular Folklore Surrounding Pregnancy (FA 01 1893)
If the pregnant mother has sweaty palms, she’ll have a boy. Probably because boys are embarrassing.
Baby Magic: Predicting the Sex of Your Unborn Child (FA 01 1993)
There is a Chinese calendar that tells the baby’s gender with 89% accuracy by using time of conception and matching it up with the mother’s age to predict the baby’s sex.
Women have physical indications of the baby they are carrying. Those pregnant with a girl might have flared nostrils and red eyes. They’ll crave sweet things, because girls need lots of sugar and spice to form properly in the womb. Women who crave spicy foods and pickles are having boys.
Pre-Birth Gender Prognostication (FA 01 2034)
In Romania, they sprinkle salt on pregnant woman without her knowledge, and watch to see if she rubs under her nose or her lower lip first. If she brushes off her nose, she’ll have girl. If she rubs her lower lip, she’s having a boy.
Another Romanian method is for a friend to place pillows on the floor with various flatware beneath them. The Pregnant woman must choose a pillow to sit on. If she chooses the fork or spoon pillow, she’s having a girl, and if she sits on the knife pillow, she’s having a boy.
2079 Pregnancy Beliefs: Connecting Women through Folklore
Some believe that if the baby is a girl, it will steal some of the mother’s beauty during pregnancy. That would explain why the first child is always the most beautiful. Along with that bit of libel, some also believe that girls cause longer labor.
The only apparent slander of baby boys is that they shift to the right constantly, which could be considered quite annoying.
Pickles and Ice Cream: Control During Pregnancy (FA 01 2310)
A woman’s hair can indicate the kind of child she’s carrying. If she is cursed with stringy, unmanageable hair, she will have a girl child. A woman with shiny, easy to take care of hair will have a boy.