There are a lot of old wife’s tales surrounding the predictability of a baby’s sex. Some appear logical, while others are downright bizarre. One particular method of predicting baby’s sex is listening to the rate of baby’s heartbeat.
While there’s no research to back up this theory, could a baby’s heartbeat really predict their sex?
What’s the theory?
According to some people, the heart rate of a foetus can identify whether it is a boy or a girl. If the heartrate is less than 140 beats per minute, it indicates a boy, whereas if it’s faster then it’s a girl.
If this theory were true, it would be exciting for parents-to-be, given that the heartbeat can be detected much earlier than an ultrasound scan. However, could it actually be true? Not according to research!
Could it be true?
There have actually been several studies conducted which have looked into whether a baby’s heartbeat can reveal its sex.
In 2006, a study found that there was no difference between a male and a female heartbeat. The study ran from 1997 to 2003 and looked at 477 sonograms which were taken within the first trimester. The results determined gender could not be established by a baby’s heart rate.
A further study carried out in 2013, also looked at the heart rate of male and female babies during the mother’s first trimester. Again, no real difference was discovered between them. So, it appears baby’s heart rate isn’t a good indicator of whether you are having a girl or a boy.
Other common gender prediction myths
Of course, heart rate isn’t the only gender detection ‘myth’ out there – although some of those old wives’ tales actually have scientific backing.
Extreme morning sickness, for example, is said to indicate that the baby is a female. Recent research has pointed towards the fact that this could indeed be true. In 2017, it was discovered that women who were carrying a baby girl suffered increased inflammation due to bacteria they were exposed to compared to those carrying a boy. This could in turn increase the severity of morning sickness.
This is one of the few gender prediction myths which does have some scientific backing. Mostly, the myths you come across are exactly that.
Is there any way to predict baby’s sex?
The only reliable way to determine baby’s sex, is to undergo an ultrasound scan. The 20-week scan is the best time to ask for gender reveal. However, it is possible to pay for a private ultrasound scan from 10-weeks into the pregnancy. It may be possible to see baby’s gender at these earlier scans, but you do need to be aware that it isn’t always reliable. Later scans are the best for accurately revealing gender.
Overall, there’s a lot of gender reveal myths out there and the only way to really tell whether you are having a boy or a girl is during an ultrasound scan.