Should I Buy Pink or Blue?

Once you get over the shock of finding out that a baby is on the way, your mind starts to play with the idea of whether that little bump is a boy or a girl.

Obviously, we do have the technology today to find out for sure, but a lot of us would rather skip the ultrasound or amnio or CVS if we don’t really NEED it. And secretly we may want to be surprised. But as the weeks go by we may find ourselves wondering…

Parents around the world have grappled with this timeless question forever and it seems that everyone from your grandmother, to the clerk at Toys ‘R Us, to your favorite massage therapist has their own unique way of making the call. Although the vast majority of these techniques have not stood up to the rigors of science, they’re still fun and some people swear by them as accurate predictors.

One of them states that if you’re carrying high it means you’ve got a boy, low and you’ve got a girl. Another says that if the hair on your legs grows faster during pregnancy, it’s a boy, slower and it’s a girl. If you crave salty or sour foods, then you can stock up on blue paint. But if you’re all about Ben and Jerry’s you may want to go with the pink.

Or how about the one that claims you can tell what’s cooking by suspending a gold ring over the belly of a pregnant woman and watching which way it spins: boys go back and forth, while girls create circles? A baby girl is also thought to be the reason for that acne outbreak you may suffer. And a baby girl in the oven will cause dull-colored urine for mommy while a baby boy will make the urine bright!

Then there’s the legend that says mixing your urine with Draino will tell you what you need to know. Don’t get mixed up with this one. Pregnant women should stay as far away from Draino as possible! Anyway, it was categorically debunked some years ago.

The Chinese have an interesting strategy too. They rely on the  Chinese Gender Chart, which claims to be able to predict your child’s sex with 99% accuracy. Legend has it that the chart was buried in a tomb in Bejing for 700 years. Eventually someone dug it up and it is now on display at the Institute of Science in Beijing. I have to say that this one really intrigues me because it accurately told the tale for all 3 of my kids!

Some of these techniques have actually been examined by the scientific community, like the one that says women who get the serious, long-lasting form of morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarium) were more likely to be carrying girls. Swedish physicians studied this one and published their results in the medical journal Lancet in 1999. Turns out it is true! Something to do with a pregnancy hormone that’s secreted more heavily by little girl fetuses.

But for the most part, the odds are about 50-50 on any one of these old wives tales panning out all the time. Since those are your odds anyway, these tests cannot really be taken seriously, even though they help pass the time, and are fun to try.

There is one way to tell for sure though, without seeing a doctor or a shaman. Only thing is it requires you to wait for 9 months. But hey, learning to be patient will serve you well, once the waiting game is over and baby is safely snuggled in your arms. And after awhile, you won’t be able to imagine how you could have ever pictured your baby as anything other than what she/he eventually turned out to be.

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Ellen W. Schrier, LCSW, is a family therapist and the mother of three adolescent/young adult kids.

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One response to “Should I Buy Pink or Blue?”

  1. Predict Boy or Girl? Not So Much.

    […] pulled out all the stops in the prediction methods department. She worked the Chinese gender chart (see Should I buy Pink or Blue?), she did the ring test (twice), she even shelled out 35 big ones for the Intelligender home urine […]

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