Old Wives Tales

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

So, everyone now knows that a new baby is on the way.  Congratulations, tears and hugs have been exchanged and now the guessing games and amateur predictions begin.  Let’s face it - who doesn’t love a good “Old Wives Tale” to keep us entertained.

But is there any truth behind them and can they really predict the gender of your soon-to-arrive baby?

1. Really feeling green? - This could be an indication that you are “In the pink!”

Midwife's verdict: There have actually been some studies exploring the link between morning sickness and a baby girl, but the results were inconclusive. Therefore I would hold off decorating the nursery pink between bouts of vomiting, as you may need to get your paintbrush back out when Little Boy Blue arrives!

2. Is your baby’s heart beating slow? It’s a boy! 

It has long been mentioned that if your baby’s heart rate is under 140 beats per minute,  a little boy may be on the way. Faster heartbeats could indicate a baby girl.  

Midwife's verdict: Although there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this, when looking after women in labour, I do use this as a tool to guess! However, anyone who has had me looking after them will confirm I am absolutely useless at guessing a baby’s gender. So, I guess it really is just an Old Wives’ Tale!

3 . Sleeping on your right side could indicate a baby girl, sleeping on your left means it’s a boy.

Midwife's verdict: Absolute tosh! Sleeping position is important and women should avoid sleeping flat on their back while pregnant. The optimal position is lying on your left-hand side, however, please do not worry if you find yourself on the right side – both positions won’t predict your baby’s gender.

4. Which way does your wedding ring swing?

An oldie but a goodie and a great one to try at your baby shower.  Thread a ring that you wear through a necklace and get your friend to hold it still above your bump.  Round and round and you need to get practicing your plaits and pony tails.  Side to side means grubby hands, fingers and toes when your little boy is playing rough and tumble!

Midwife's verdict: This is another one that I enjoyed trying when I was having my babies. Did it work? Nope! It predicted 2 boys and I have 1 boy and and 1 girl!  It was fun trying it out though!

5. Are you carrying a hairy baby?  If you are suffering from heartburn, that Old Witch will tell you that your baby will have a full head of hair.

Midwife's verdict: Although there are a couple of (really small) studies that back this theory, up to 45% of women will suffer with significant heartburn during their pregnancy. During pregnancy, a hormone called progesterone acts as a muscle relaxer to aid your growing baby. This can result in your oesophageal sphincter not closing as it should, allowing acid to travel the wrong way. Burn baby burn. So, you may have a hairy baby, you may not, but there is a high chance you will have a little bit of heartburn during your pregnancy!

One thing is for sure: girl or boy, heartburn or no heartburn, exciting times are ahead!