Kids & Parenting

Myths about having a girl

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Ancient superstitions may offer ways to predict whether an unborn child will be a girl.
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Learn all the myths about having a girl, just don't take any too seriously

Did Mother Goose have an answer for everything? Nowhere in the children's nursery rhymes is it revealed how a mother can predict for sure the gender of her unborn child. The ingredient list from the famous old rhyme shared here is far from complete. Its wisdom falls short of ways to know if mom is having a girl.


What are little boys made of?

"Snips and snails and puppy dogs tails

That's what little boys are made of!"


What are little girls made of?

"Sugar and spice and all things nice

That's what little girls are made of!"


The poem is part of a collection—The Real Mother Goose—published by Rand McNally in 1916. It reflects notions of an era that frequently reinforced stereotypes assigning gentle traits to girls and rough-tumble behaviors to boys.


Today, the birth of a girl does not mean parents are roped into pink-only choices when buying party supplies and apparel. Likewise, having a boy does not necessarily mean one needs to shop for footballs in the gift shop near the delivery room.


Myths about having a girl abound. Friends and relatives may spend pleasant hours chit-chatting about the outcome of mom's nine-month quandary. Everyone has their own ways of detecting the truth and few are bashful about sharing their views. Numerous tip-offs claim to predict a girl.


• Severe morning sickness = girl

• A rapid fetal heartbeat = girl

• A mother craving sugar = girl

• Carrying the baby high = girl

• Belly shaped like a watermelon = girl

• Gaining weight in the butt and hips = girl

• A baby generating mild intrauterine activity = girl

• Negligible growth leg hair on the mother = girl

• A mother developing extra-ample breasts = girl


The suspended wedding ring test


One superstition requires using a pendulum. The method entails making a pendulum of sorts by suspending the woman's wedding ring from a piece of silk thread or string. The woman quietly holds the upper end of the string a short distance from her belly. She tries to hold the string very still. Some women even hold their breath to keep any movement minimal.


When all is calm, the ring seems to begin moving under its own power. If the suspended ring eventually begins to scribe a circle, a girl is predicted. If it swings back and forth in a straight line, legend says a boy will be born. Scientists—thus far skeptical—attribute the circling or swinging to minute, involuntary muscle movements of the mother—not magic.



The Chinese conception chart test


Another attempt at divination involves a Chinese conception chart. It's a method that depends upon making the call by using a system based on a mother's age and the month of conception. It's a method using an ancient Chinese chart that reportedly was discovered in a tomb, hundreds of years ago. And myths about having a girl have included this activity for many generations of women.


The Chinese Pregnancy Chart—sometimes called the Chinese Gender Chart—consists of a grid of squares whose left, vertical border consists of women's ages—18 to 45. Across the top, a horizontal border notes the months of the year—January through December.


Each square of the grid is occupied by a letter—B for Boy or G for Girl. A pregnant woman determines the prediction of her child's sex by locating her own age and the month when her child was conceived. The two lines intersect within the body of the chart. The points of intersection reveal the letter—B or G—that indicates the baby's gender—boy or girl.


Myths and uncertainty yield to medical tests


Ultrasound testing circumvents myths about having a girl. It is possible to find mothers who swear by one or more of the mythical methods described in this text. However, when one wants to add a scientific component to the discovery of a child's gender it's usually a medical method such as ultrasound testing that suffices.


Obstetric ultrasound enables an examination using a sonogram machine. The technique creates a computer picture of the unborn child. Variables exist such as the baby's posture and the skill level of the practitioner. Nevertheless, in ideal circumstances a mother can see by viewing the sexual organs if the baby is a girl—or a boy.


Myths about having a girl generally are embraced as durable bits of folklore that are passed like fine, hand-knit booties from one generation to another. They may lack scientific proof but they're nevertheless cherished like…sugar and spice and everything nice.

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