33 Old Wives’ Tales to Predict the Sex of a Baby

You've probably been regaled with an array of old wives' tales that claim to discern the sex of your baby during pregnancy, such as craving sweet foods signalling a girl or carrying the baby all out front indicating a boy. The excitement of knowing your baby's sex before their arrival can make the wait for your ultrasound seem endless! Despite lacking scientific backing, these engaging myths and legends shared through the generations offer a delightful and fun diversion during the anticipation. We've assembled a collection of the most widespread, intriguing and downright amusing old wives' tales for pregnancy – so, have some fun predicting whether you’re having a boy or a girl!

What’s an ‘Old Wives’ Tale?’

In contemporary times, the concept and phrase ‘old wives' tale’ may seem somewhat archaic, but its origins continue to intrigue. So, what is the meaning of ‘old wives’ tale’? The term 'wives' is derived from the English word wif and the German term weib, both of which signify ‘women’. The premise centres around elder women transmitting tales, mythologies, superstitions, legends and similar narratives to succeeding generations. Many of these legends have been in existence for hundreds of years, well before literacy and the advent of writing and print became commonplace.

A multitude of these tales encompass morality, often finding their way into the fairy tales and fables we’ve grown up with. Meanwhile, a significant number of these tales revolve around women's health, touching on topics of pregnancy, puberty, nutrition and similar themes.

These narratives are ingrained in our culture and contribute to our shared human history. Although modern medical advancements have debunked many of these old wives’ tales about pregnancy, they remain an enjoyable source of amusement, especially when it comes to sex prediction during pregnancy. If you're wondering, ‘Am I having a boy or a girl’? diving into these centuries-old tales may provide a delightful distraction!

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Can Old Wives’ Tales ‘Predict’ the Sex of a Baby?

Old wives' tales about sex prediction during pregnancy have intrigued generations and continue to amuse expectant parents. You may have been told that if your baby bump is more out front, you're expecting a boy, or if you're experiencing severe morning sickness, then it's a girl on the way. While these myths have been refuted by scientific evidence, they continue to provide a fun diversion during the anticipatory phase of pregnancy!

So, while these tales cannot accurately predict your baby's sex, they were the only means of guessing in times gone by. Modern science now allows us to discover the biological sex of a baby before birth with a high degree of accuracy, but if you're still awaiting your ultrasound or just want to indulge in some harmless speculation, let's dive into a few unscientific yet entertaining old wives' tales about predicting whether you're expecting a girl or a boy!

You can also read our helpful article to find out what determines the sex of a baby.


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Old Wives’ Tales Sex Prediction: Pregnancy Symptoms

Many old wives’ tales for predicting the sex of a baby focus on typical early pregnancy symptoms or those symptoms you feel in your second or third trimesters. According to these stories and myths, morning sickness, cravings, heartburn, and even your blood pressure levels may reveal the sex of your baby!

1. Cravings

If you’re having pregnancy cravings, pay attention to what you want to eat. This old wives’ tale suggests that what you’re craving can predict the sex of your baby.

The Myth

Girl: Food cravings when pregnant with a girl consist of sweet things like chocolate, pastries, juice and fruit. Boy: Food cravings when pregnant with a boy tend to be saltier or savoury items, such as meat, cheese and other forms of protein.

The Reality

Food cravings may be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy, affecting your sense of taste. But food cravings come in different forms for different people. While some people experience no cravings, others may crave unusual combinations of food, such as bacon with chocolate bars.

2. Heartburn

Heartburn is another common pregnancy symptom. Though having heartburn isn't the most comfortable experience, this old wives’ tale puts a spin on it to predict if your baby will be a ‘he’ or ‘she’.

The Myth

Girl: Constant or intense heartburn is a sign you’re having a girl – and that she’ll be born with a full head of hair! Boy: If you don’t experience much heartburn, that’s a sign you’re having a boy.

The Reality

This is another symptom linked to pregnancy hormones. These hormones may prompt your body to slow digestion, plus your growing baby may be pressing on your stomach, both of which may cause heartburn.

3. Morning Sickness

A well-known old wives’ tale to predict a boy or girl relates to morning sickness, also known as nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. This is a fairly common symptom, though it doesn’t affect everyone. Will you have more nausea with a boy or girl? Let’s find out!

The Myth

Girl: If you’re experiencing a lot of morning sickness and feel sick, you’re having a girl. Boy: If you don’t have any morning sickness or just mild nausea, it’s a boy.

The Reality

Of course, this is still just a fun old wives’ tale that tries to predict sex. Whilst the exact cause of morning sickness during pregnancy isn’t clear, it may be caused by those pesky pregnancy hormones. About 70% of pregnant people experience this symptom, especially in the first trimester. And interestingly, it may be more common if you’re pregnant with twins or multiples.

4. Linea Nigra Length

Yes, even the linea nigra plays a role in sex prediction according to this old wives’ tale! The linea nigra is a dark line on your abdomen that appears during pregnancy and stretches down your bump to your pubic bone. Once yours starts to appear, take a closer look.

The Myth

Girl: You’re welcoming a baby girl if your linea nigra starts below your belly button. Boy: If the linea nigra starts above your belly bottom, it’s a boy.

The Reality

You guessed it – pregnancy hormones may trigger skin changes, including the appearance of the linea nigra. These hormones stimulate melanin production, which can also cause other pigmentation. The way the linea nigra looks isn’t a sex prediction but reflects an increase in melanin.

5. Hair and Nails

If you’re blessed with that rumoured pregnancy glow, you might notice that your hair and nails look healthier. Not everyone experiences this, but as the old wives’ tale goes, these changes predict your baby’s sex.

The Myth

Girl: If you notice your hair and nails feel brittle, dry and thin, hello, baby girl! Boy: If you have shiny, luscious and healthy hair and nails, welcome to the world, baby boy!

The Reality

If you do experience that pregnancy glow, which is common in the second trimester, you can thank your hormones which may have started to settle down. As a result, your skin may look plumper and smoother, and your hair a little shinier and stronger.

6. Acne

Pregnancy glow is all well and good, but you might notice a different skin condition and start to develop acne. And, of course, there’s an old wives’ tale linking acne during pregnancy to whether you’re having a boy or girl!

The Myth

Girl: If you have oily skin while pregnant, those pimples are a sign you’re having a girl! Boy: On the other hand, no extra pimples and dry skin during pregnancy mean it’s a boy!

The Reality

More hormones fluctuations during pregnancy can lead to acne. Sebaceous glands are pretty sensitive to hormones, and therefore, may produce more sebum in the skin, which can cause pores to become blocked, leading to spots. So, hormones might cause extra pimples on your face during pregnancy, regardless of whether you’re having a boy or girl.

7. Baby Brain

Have you heard of ‘baby brain’? This catchall term covers those typical pregnancy symptoms that you associate with your brain, such as forgetfulness, brain fog and lack of focus. So, does feeling forgetful while pregnant mean a boy or girl? This old wives’ tale has the answer!

The Myth

Girl: If you’re fairly alert and steady on your feet while pregnant, hello, baby girl. Boy: Feeling tired and a little clumsy is a sign you’re having a boy.

The Reality

Research has yet to confirm if ‘baby brain’ is a true condition, but there’s no doubt that many experience these symptoms while pregnant. Though studies show slight changes in the brain during pregnancy, conditions such as clumsiness, forgetfulness or feeling sleepy probably mean hormone fluctuation, fatigue or stress, rather than whether you’re having a boy or a girl.

Old Wives’ Tales Sex Prediction: Body Changes

Some old wives’ tales look at body changes – both yours and your growing baby’s – to predict sex. So, keep an eye on the size of your baby bump and pay attention to changes in your breasts and your baby’s cardiac activity for those fun clues.

8. Baby Bump Position

Possibly the most well-known old wives’ tale for sex prediction is the one based on how you carry your baby. So, if you’re wondering, is my little one a ‘he’ or ‘she’, take a look at this old wives’ tale and take note of your baby bump once it starts to show.

The Myth

Girl: If you’re carrying high, as in your baby bump sits higher on your belly, it’s a sign you’re having a girl. Boy: If you carry lower in your abdomen, closer to your pelvic bone, it’s a little baby boy.

The Reality

Your baby bump position is related to the size and positioning of your uterus. In early pregnancy, your uterus will sit lower in your abdomen; as the uterus starts to expand, it’ll sit higher and more forward. The size of your baby might also impact the positioning of your bump.

9. Baby Bump Shape

Not only the positioning but the shape of your baby bump can indicate sex, according to old wives’ tales and myths. So, boy belly vs. girl belly?

The Myth

Girl: A wide baby bump is a sign you’re having a girl. Boy: If your bump looks narrow and pops forward, as if you have a basketball under your shirt, it’s a boy!

The Reality

The shape of your belly bump is related to your baby’s positioning inside your uterus. Babies that snuggle sideways may cause a wider bump, for example.

10. Feet Changes

This myth concerns your feet. Pregnancy produces many changes in your body, among them swollen feet. Does this pregnancy symptom signify a girl or boy? Let’s check out this old wives’ tale to find out!

The Myth

Girl: If your feet stay the same without any swelling, hooray, it’s a girl! Boy: If you notice swelling in your feet, get ready to welcome a boy.

The Reality

Swelling is very common in pregnancy and can occur in the ankles, legs, and feet. It’s caused by extra water gathering in the lower regions of your body and pressure from the growing womb, which can affect blood flow to your legs.

11. Breast Size

As your body prepares for your baby, you’ll likely notice changes in your breasts. Pay attention to how they develop, as this old wives’ tale believes they’re sending you a sex prediction message.

The Myth

Girl: If your breasts get fuller but remain in proportion to your body shape, it’s a girl. Boy: If your breasts become very large and heavy, especially in contrast to your body shape, you’re having a boy.

The Reality

Breasts grow and change throughout pregnancy. In the beginning, hormones will cause your breasts to grow; later, they'll continue to change as you start producing milk.

12. Changes to Nipples

Along with increased fullness in your breasts, changes in your nipples are common when you're pregnant. Does this old wives’ tale say these changes mean a boy or girl? Let’s find out!

The Myth

Girl: If the colour of the areola (the area surrounding the nipple) stays about the same, say hello to your baby girl. Boy: If the areola becomes darker in colour, welcome to the world, sweet baby boy.

The Reality

Excess hormones can cause your skin to darken in various areas of your body, including your nipples and areola.

13. Urine Colour

Yes, even the colour of urine during pregnancy can inspire old wives’ tales and apparently determine the sex of your baby!

The Myth

Girl: If your urine is darker or a normal shade of yellow, you’re having a girl. Boy: If your urine is brighter, it’s a sign you’re having a boy.

The Reality

When you're pregnant with a boy or girl, the colour of your urine isn't affected by the sex of your baby. Rather, it stems from what you eat, drink or ingest. Colour changes can be triggered by certain foods or by your fluid intake; taking antenatal vitamins can also impact the hue you see when you pee.

14. Weight Gain

Pregnancy weight gain is normal and helps support a developing baby. But do you gain more weight with a boy or girl? This old wives’ tale has the answer.

The Myth

Girl: Where do you gain weight when pregnant with a girl? If the extra kilograms appear throughout your body, especially in your bottom and thighs, it’s a girl. Boy: If most of your weight gain happens in your belly, it’s a boy.

The Reality

Pregnancy weight gain is very individual and has more to do with your body type, pre-pregnancy weight and history of weight gain.

15. Partner’s Weight Gain

If you think you and your partner are linked in mind, body, heart and soul, this old wives’ tale for sex prediction might be the one for you! According to this legend, it’s not just about your pregnancy weight gain, but your partner’s too!

The Myth

Girl: If your partner gains weight while you’re pregnant, it’s a sign you’re having a girl. Boy: If your partner’s weight stays about the same, it’s a boy.

The Reality

Obviously, what happens in your partner’s body has nothing to do with your pregnancy, but they might be experiencing couvade syndrome. This is when a pregnant person’s partner feels the symptoms of pregnancy.

16. Baby’s Heartbeat

It’s thrilling to hear the swoosh of your baby’s heartbeat at your prenatal appointments. And according to this old wives’ tale, your baby’s heart rate can predict if they’re a he or she!

The Myth

Girl: If your baby’s foetal heart rate is above 140 beats per minute (bpm), you're having a girl. Boy: If your baby’s heartbeat is less than 140 bpm, then it’s a sign you’re having a boy.

The Reality

A normal heart rate for a foetus ranges from 110 to 160 bpm, and other factors like gestational age and your baby’s activity level may affect it.

17. Sleeping Sides

Sleeping while pregnant can be quite the challenge, so you’ll want to listen to your body and make yourself as comfortable as possible. But does your preferred side predict your baby’s sex? According to this old wives’ tale it does!

The Myth

Girl: If you naturally fall asleep on your right side, hello, baby girl. Boy: If you fall asleep on your left side, it’s a boy!

The Reality

You’ll need extra sleep when pregnant, which isn’t always easy to manage as your belly bump grows! Choose the side that feels most comfortable, which could change throughout the night. Just remember that side-sleeping is best, as sleeping on your back while pregnant can put pressure on your spine and back muscles and/or compress a major blood vessel.

18. Blood Pressure

If you're interested in this myth and old wives’ tale for pregnancy, think back to the last appointment with your doctor before you became pregnant. If you can access your records, look for your blood pressure. The Myth

Girl: If you had higher blood pressure before you became pregnant, get ready for a girl. Boy: If your blood pressure didn’t change before getting pregnant, it’s a baby boy.

The Reality

High blood pressure outside of pregnancy can mean a lot of things, but revealing your future baby’s sex isn’t one of them. It’s best to talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about blood pressure at any time in your life.

Old Wives’ Tales to Tell the Sex of a Baby: Methods

In addition to looking at pregnancy symptoms and body changes, there are other sex prediction methods you could try. You could take your chance on one of the most popular methods, the Chinese gender prediction chart, or give the legendary Mayan sex prediction a shot.

Unlike the old wives’ tales for pregnancy above, most of the following aren't accompanied by medical facts to set you straight, as these methods are totally for fun!

19. Ramzi Method

This old wives’ tale to predict the sex of a baby has a more modern approach, as it relies upon ultrasound technology. When you have an ultrasound, ask your doctor or midwife to help determine on which side of the womb your baby decided to attach themselves.

The Myth

Girl: If your baby attaches to the right side of the uterus, she’s a sweet little girl. Boy: If your baby chooses the left side of your uterus to attach to, hello, baby boy.

20. Nub Theory

The nub theory is another one that depends upon an ultrasound. Ask your doctor or midwife to point out your baby’s genital tubercle, where you can see the genital nub (this can usually be detected starting at about 12 weeks). This old wives’ tale predicts sex by looking at the angle of the genital nub, which can provide some basis for an informed guess but is not 100 percent accurate.

The Myth

Girl: For girls, the genital nub usually lays parallel or angled less than 30 degrees from the spine. Boy: For boys, the nub typically angles higher than 30 degrees from the spine.

21. Skull Theory

Yet another sex prediction requiring an ultrasound, the skull theory focuses on the shape of your baby’s developing skull. Ask your doctor or midwife to show you your little one’s skull to see if it appears rounded or blocky.

The Myth

Girl: If your baby has a rounded skull, she’ll be a little girl. Boy: If your baby’s skull isn’t quite as rounded, you’re having a boy.

22. Mayan System

A truly ancient method inspiring an old wives’ tale, the Mayan system of sex prediction uses the parent’s birthday. The Mayans would look at the year of the mother’s birth and the year the baby is due to formulate a sex prediction.

The Myth

Girl: If both years are even or odd, prepare for a girl. Boy: If one year is even and the other odd, you’re having a boy.

23. Chinese Gender Prediction

One of the most popular sex prediction methods involves using the Chinese Gender Prediction Chart. You’ll use a chart to plot the mother’s age at conception and the baby’s month of conception.

The Myth

Girl: If on the chart the mother’s age and conception month intersect to indicate a girl, you’ll see something that indicates that sex, like the word ‘girl’ or a shade of pink. Boy: If the chart indicates a boy, it might say ‘boy’ or be a shade of blue.

Old Wives’ Tales to Tell the Sex of a Baby: Tests

How to predict a baby’s sex? Besides the old wives’ tales and myths above, other stories and traditions use a simple test to reveal if you’re having a boy or girl. From eating garlic to the classic wedding ring test, these old wives’ tales are all just for fun and don’t come with any revealing truths. Enjoy!

24. Baking Soda Test

This fairly simple test involves peeing in a cup (and you thought you were done with that after taking a pregnancy test!). All you need to do is pee into a cup and add two tablespoons of baking soda.

The Myth

Girl: If you’re having a girl, the mixture will stay flat. Boy: If you’re having a boy, the mixture will fizz.

25. Wedding Ring Test

For this old wives’ tale test to predict the sex of a baby, you need a strand of your hair and your wedding ring (or a favourite ring you wear regularly). Ask one of your friends to hold the ring dangling from your strand of hair over your belly, keeping it steady. After it’s steady, notice how it starts to move!

The Myth

Girl: If the ring moves in circles, it’s a sign you’re having a girl. Boy: If you’re having a boy, the ring will move from side to side.

26. Pencil Test

This old wives’ tale is similar to the hair and ring test, but it goes a little further to predict the sex of all your children, whether you’re currently pregnant or not. You’ll tie a string to the top of a very sharp pencil. Ask a friend to dangle the string with the pencil lead pointing down and over your wrist (either wrist will do), arm flat on a surface, and palm facing up. It’ll take a moment for the pencil to steady, but once it does, it’ll start to sway. Watch for the rhythm.

The Myth

Girl: If the pencil moves side to side across your wrist, it indicates a girl. Boy: If the pencil moves up and down over the length of your arm, it means a boy.

What makes this old wives’ tale even more fun is that the pencil will centre itself and change its pattern for each child, revealing and/or predicting the sex of all your children, past and future. For example, if the pencil first moves side to side, then centres itself, then moves side to side again and recentres, then moves up and down before stopping completely, it indicates that you will have (or currently have) two girls and one boy, in that order.

27. Eye Test

This old wives’ tale presents an easy way to predict the sex of your baby. All you need to do is look at your reflection in a mirror and focus on your pupils, watching for any changes.

The Myth

Girl: If your pupils remain the same, hello, baby girl. Boy: If your pupils start dilating (get bigger), you’re having a boy.

28. Garlic Test

Hmmm, how to tell what sex your baby will be? To check out this myth, you’ll probably need to love (or at least tolerate) the taste and smell of garlic. Here's what to do: eat a few cloves of raw garlic and wait an hour or so.

The Myth

Girl: If you don’t smell of garlic after eating it, it’s a sign you’re having a girl. Boy: If you smell like garlic, it's a boy, especially if it sweats out through your pores.

29. Baby Hair Test

This old wives’ tale test works if your new baby has an older sibling. You’ll need to wash your youngest child’s hair, comb it, let it air dry, and look for the cowlick on the back of their head.

The Myth

Girl: If your youngest child’s hair naturally swirls clockwise away from the head, the next baby will be a girl. Boy: If their hair naturally swirls counter clockwise, the next baby will be a boy.

30. Drain Cleaner Test

This old wives’ tale isn’t all that old since it involves liquid drain cleaner, which wasn’t around during your great-great-grandmother’s time. This test mixes your urine with liquid drain cleaner to put a classic spin on it. Yes, it’s a little weird, but it made the list!

The Myth

Girl: If the mixture turns green, congratulations, it’s a girl! Boy: According to this myth, the colour of urine when pregnant with a boy is blue!

31. Red Cabbage Test

If you didn’t think combining your urine with drain cleaner was strange enough, try mixing it with cabbage water. Chop a head of red cabbage and put it in a bowl. Pour boiling hot water over it and wait 10 minutes. Strain the water equally into two glass containers and mix equal parts of your urine into it.

Girl: You’re having a girl if the water turns violet. Boy: It’s a boy if the water turns red or pink.

Involve Your Partner: Old Wives’ Tales to Predict a Boy or Girl

Of course, you can involve your partner in any or all of the silly old wives’ tales above, but here are a few methods during pregnancy that require your partner's participation to predict your baby’s sex.

32. Key Test

If you want to involve your partner in an old wives’ tale sex predictor, don’t read the results of this one yet! Just have your partner place a key on the table. Pick up the key and ask your partner to read the results below – serious spoilers ahead, so no peeking!

The Myth

Girl: If you pick the key up by its narrow end, it’s a girl! Boy: If you pick the key up by its rounded top, welcome to the world, baby boy!

33. Fork or Spoon Test

You’ll need a fork, spoon and two chairs for this one. Ask your partner to tape a spoon under the seat of one chair and a fork under the seat of the other. Without knowing which chair has which utensil under it, pick a seat!

The Myth

Girl: If you choose the seat with the spoon, you’re having a girl. Boy: If you chose the seat with the fork, it’s a baby boy.

When Can an Ultrasound Show Your Baby’s Sex?

Am I having a boy or girl is an exciting question to ponder during your pregnancy journey. For many, you may be able to find out the big news at your mid-pregnancy ultrasound scan at about 20 weeks.

Using old wives’ tales to predict the sex of your baby is a fun and silly way to distract yourself while you wait, but, of course, these aren’t accurate, medical or scientific. However, ultrasounds can also be misinterpreted, so there’s truly no completely accurate sex predictor.

Still, an ultrasound is your best bet. Let your doctor know beforehand if you’d like to learn your baby’s sex (so they don’t forget or reveal it to you if you don’t want to know)!


There aren’t any medical or scientific signs you’re having a baby boy, but there are plenty of fun and unscientific old wives’ tales that claim to predict the sex of a baby! According to these myths, craving salty or savoury food, a pregnancy glow, ‘baby brain’ and no morning sickness are all signs you’re having a boy.

The Bottom Line

Learning the sex of your baby is an exciting pregnancy milestone, so, understandably, you may be eager to find out! To keep your mind occupied while you wait for your 20-week scan or the arrival of your little one, have fun with some of these old wives’ tales to predict the sex of your baby during pregnancy.

Though a unique part of our history and storytelling traditions, these myths are now just for fun and entertainment. Enjoy them!

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