Boy or girl? Ask an old wife!

old wives tales

Brought to you by  

Left breast bigger than the right? You’re definitely having a girl.  Picked up a key by the long end? Then it’s a boy.

These are just two of the countless old wives’ tales which claim to predict the sex of your baby.

And although these two particular beliefs will probably stretch credulity a little too far for most of us, a recent report discovered that more than two-thirds of mothers and mothers-to-be do have faith in old wives’ tales.

We take a look at some of the most popular myths surrounding predicting the gender of your baby, and whether there's any truth in them.

The way the ring swings

A wedding ring is suspended on a piece of string over your belly. If the ring swings back and forth you’re expecting a girl. If it swings in a circle then it’s a boy.

Any truth in it?

Hang a ring on a piece of string over anything – your partner, a computer, the family cat – and minute vibrations in your hand are going to cause it to swing. Definitely not a guaranteed way to guarantee the sex of your baby!

Could this be the key?

The way an expectant mum picks up a key can reveal whether she's going to have a son or daughter. If she grabs it by the round end, a girl is on the way; if she picks it up by the long end, it’s going to be a boy; and if she takes it by the middle, it’s twins!

Any truth in it?

Hmm, what do you think?

Bumps-a-Daisy (or a David)

If there was a prize for the most widely believed old wives’ tale, this would win hands down. If you carry all your baby weight out front, so the saying goes, it’s a boy; if you put on extra weight around your hips and bottom and have a wide bump, it’s a girl.

Any truth in it?

Unlikely. The way your bump grows has more to do with your body shape than anything else. If you have a short torso there’s nowhere for the baby to grow but out. If you have a long torso there’s more space in which to accommodate the baby. Also, a wide bump might simply mean your baby is lying sideways!

Sugar, spice and all things nice

Craving sweet things such as cake? You’re having a daughter. Can’t resist meat or cheese? A boy is on the way.

Any truth in it?

Cravings are generally thought to be your body's way of telling you where you might be lacking nutritionally and, as such, are not linked to your baby's sex

Face the facts

If your face becomes rounder in pregnancy then you’re having a girl; if it gets noticeably thinner, then it’s a boy.

Any truth in it?

Where a woman stores fat and water during pregnancy has nothing to do with the sex of her baby. Women naturally put on weight in pregnancy, and for many people weight gain shows up first in their faces, while for others it goes straight to the hips and thighs.

Unfeasibly queasy?

If you're suffering from severe morning sickness you're having a girl.

Any truth in it?

Possibly... a study of pregnant women by scientists at the renowned Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that of the mums suffering from bad morning sickness, 56 per cent gave birth to girls. This might be because women carrying girls produce a higher level of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, which could trigger morning sickness.

The heart of the matter

This very popular theory asserts that a baby is more likely to be a boy if its heart-rate is lower than 140 beats per minute. Anything higher indicates a girl.

Any truth in it?

There's only been one study that has supported this theory: a 1993 investigation at the University of Kentucky correctly predicted the sex of 91 per cent of male babies and 74 per cent of female babies by monitoring the heart rate. However, no study conducted before or since has reached the same conclusion.

More gender predicting theories:

It's a boy if:

  • Your nipples have darkened considerably
  • The hair on your legs has been growing faster
  • Your baby's dad is gaining weight
  • Your urine is bright yellow
  • You look better than ever
  • You get a lot of headaches
  • You get an even number when you add your age at the time of conception to the number of the month you conceived in

It's a girl if:

  • Your hair gets red highlights
  • You crave fruit
  • You are moodier than usual
  • You don't look as good as you usually do
  • You refuse to eat the heel of a loaf of bread
  • Your urine is dull yellow in colour
  • You get an odd number when you add your age at the time of conception to the number of the month you conceived in


While attempting to predict the sex of your baby using old wives' tales can be fun, hold off going on a pink or blue shopping spree until an ultrasound scan gives you a more reliable answer - or you could just wait until your baby is born.

This article was brought to you in association with Gurgle.com


Some of them match my symptoms as my bump is all out front and no sickness and im having a boy!!
im 25 weeks and have been told its a boy, all of the signs say its a girl though! not really sure what to think as when i had my daughter i had all of these signs too however i was also told she was a boy! which makes me wonder am i in for another big surprise!?!?! surly they cant get it wrong for the same person twice??
at my 20 weks scan i wz told i wz having girl bt my instint wr all long a boy,as i wz hoping for boy,ad alredy hav 2girls ad boy ad dis was my last shot,,, but im not still convinced.. all long i did think its a boy my belly shape ad the cravings..all matchd my first pregance wid my son...well i have not brought anytink pink yet ..all white ad cream....
Im having a boy and some of these wifes tales did make sence to me like adding my age to what month i conseved in - I fell pregant in febuary *the first month* and im 17 add them together you get 18. And I do get alot of headaches to and I have have never been sick through my pregnacy - I think this is just down to coinstidence though :]
Every wives tales says I'm having a girl when in fact I'm having twin boys
i have a boy &three gales pregnent fifth time. iwant aboy this time but totally 4got to ask the sonografer.now its always in my head what im having. icant get rid of this
its fun reading these old wives tales eventhough i dont believe in them.hope everyone has a nice time being pregnant......and being a parent
its fun reading these old wives tales eventhough i dont believe in them.hope everyone has a nice time being pregnant......and being a parent
i have two girls and desperately would love a boy. I am 17 wks pregnant and whilst i thought my husband and i were maximising our chances of having a boy I realise now our timing was probably too early ( at ovulation). This is my last chance but feel certain Im having another girl. Feel awful for feeling this way.
I had got 3 boys and was desperate for my girlie so for a last chance, used the chinese birth calender to predict when best to concieve. It said Nov or Dec, so fell pregnant in the Nov and had my girl the following Aug :o)
i'm 32 weeks pregnant and was told its going to be a boy. i have got 2 girls already and when was pregnant with them had really bad sickness, but not with this pregnancy. and also my bump is not that big, as with my girls i was huge.
we're having a boy! i am carrying out front, but have been craving fruit lol!
my little nipper had his or hers legs crossed when i had my 20 week scan! but the sonographer thinks girly.. i'll know for sure tomorrow as im going for a 4d scn. eek!
I can't tell either way. So i'm waiting on my second scan to find out. I'm itching to know! 3 weeks and counting!
just had my scan which showed im having a boy, im carrying my weight out front and also have eaten more cheese and meat than i normally would...i had hardly any sickness really and a few people have commented on how well ive looked recently
i was sick with morning sickness everyday until my son was born and had no sickness with my pregnancy for my daughter.
Well my first child was a girl but now on my second everything was completely different so i was starting to think i was having a boy. On our scan we was told it was definatley another girl! So i cant comment on anything really cause everyone and everything is different! Mind boggling isnt it! lol! xx
this is not explanatory enough. Is there no sure way to detamine the sex of a baby?
my mum has 4 girls 2 boys, and swears she carried totally different withthe boys, out front instead of around with us girls. I carried around with my little girl and most of the old wives tales were right and I had a girl, im expecting my 2nd now and they are pointing towards a girl again... we shall see if they are right 2nd time around!
Ive got two boys and i started with morning sickness with them b4 i even found out i was pregnant, I was realy ill with it, every second of the day i was sick or felt sick it was awfull, im pregnant with my 3rd and i dont feel one bit sick i feel great this time round soooo maybe im having a girl :) xx
this would mean in theory my baby would be half male half female :O lol scary..
Oh my lol x
Well this would lead to me to think i'd be having a boy, but I just have the feeling its a girl.
i think some of this is true, because i had a baby boy and when u added my age and the month of conception u did get a even number and all the side effects, about ur urine and headaches in the list above i had so i feel that the old wife tales are tru. my friend is havin a girl and she has put alot of weight on i had a boy and i put no weight on.
The old wives tale that u get more morning sickness if u have a girl is (in my opinion) rubbish!! I've got 2 girls, the 1st I had sickness till wk 22 and with the 2nd I had none!!
dnt believe any of it some are sayin its a boy some say its a girl maybe i should just wait a week and find out properly x
loool wow this was interesting i don't know the sex of my baby because hospital not allowed to tell you in my town but legal reasons but from what i've been hearing from people and this it seems to be a boy :-) xx
I didn't have morning sickness, looked good through whole pregnancy, carried all to the front everything they say for a boy n everyone said a boy but I had a little girl :) pregnant again and things are inbetween symptoms at the moment but I believe i'm having another girl, I seen a gypsy lady who predicted a girl x
what a load of rubbish cant beleive ppl actually beleive some of those funny though x
i cant wait till the 2 aug2020 wen i get to find out the sex of my child
i just laugh at most of these!!! some tales are ridiculous, im just going to wait till my scan, due 1st march10 x
Have 2 boys already and had no morning sickness, was all round, etc with them. This time I'm completely different all bump, craved fruit and sweet foods etc but have been told it's another boy! Really don't think you can rely too much on these as every pregnancy is different as I've found. Due 21st August :)
the morning sickness one i think is rubbish because i had a girl and didnt have any morning sickness x
i always say the bump thing the other way n genrely i right all out front with a girl and dnt luk preg 4m behind and all round for a boy i was out front with my girls and im all roud with this one fingers crossd i get the son i long for to complete my family and the hb thing :)
I always thought the ring test was other way roung back and forth for a boy and circles for a girl, it worked for me this way and tells me i am having a boy again this time, so we'll see. Also my eyebrows went totally ginger when i was pregnant with my daughter and my skin was awful, with my sun it was glowing. due 24/02/11
Thats my due date too! :D
this baby i have had really bad morning,lunch and evening sickness which i had with my first girl however i have more of a bump shape with this one and only putting weight on round my my bump unlike my other two which are girls. I also getting more headaches with this one and my husband is putting on weight and people say i look good with this one according to wives tales i could be having a boy. will find out hopefully 26 june with 20 week scan.
i think im having a girl i have a 3 year old little boy so would be over the moon 4 a girl :) and i crave sweets lol i have had lots of morning sickness and with my little boy i wasnt sick once.....im just confused on names my little boy is called keegan-jaye....but i fond out in 10 days soooo excited xxx
well im 29 weeks and have no idea what im having ( wanted to know but he/she didn't want me to no as it had its legs cross on 1st scan and moonie us on the 2nd ) anyway according to wives tales im having a boy because i aint been sick once my leg hair never stops growin bub heart beat is under 140 and my partner gain weight and crave cheese and anything that has cheese on it lol
i think the old wives tales are fun....and when you dont know what your having yet i find them quite interesting. but when i had a my little boy....whoes now 4. my hair was in a awful condition my skin was bad....basically i looked like a sack of poo. with this one my hair is better and i look like i normally do...so whilst they are fun i don't relay on them...everyones different as are the bubs amd how you carry your baby is different too.
I don't know about the morning sickness one because when I was pregnant with my ds I suffered with morning sickness severely and had hyperemesis. My second pregnancy I was sick once and I had my dd. Then last year when I was pregnant I suffered the hyperemesis again but this time it was a girl 9sadly she died at 22 weeks). Now I am pregnant again and I hae only been sick once, have no idea what this one is. Looks like my body alternates the sickness between pregnancies lol xx
i think the old wives tales are fun to do, i will get my partner to do the ring test lol
When i was pregnant i was a small bump all out front which should be a boy, I've always had a sweet tooth so sweet cravings weren't any different to normal which indicates a girl, my face only got a little rounder in the last 2-3 weeks of pregnancy so i suppose this indicates a girl as well. I had terrible morning sickness right up until 30+ weeks and baby's heart rate was over 140bpm, i get an even number when adding my age at conception to the month. so all in all most were right for me, i had my little girl
I had awful morning sickness and had a boy! I had a feeling from the start that he was a boy and the Chinese chart said boy too. His heart rate was never below 140 though. The ring test said different each time! I carried all at the front with a very neat bump but I have a long torso, to have looked from the back you wouldn't have known I was pregnant.
I think the old wives tales are fun. The ring one worked with my ds. However, I got mega loads of spots so didnt look my best and yes he was deffornitaly a boy lol. About the heartburn one. I suffered terrible. and my son was born with very very litte hair! Infact he had the little that when you wet it you still couldnt see it very well! lol.
Some were right for me. Before I was pregnant I was an vegiterian then as soon as I was I started craving cheese and meat and I was having a boy. i was out front too. I also found out the old wives tales do not just stop at guessing the sex of your baby. My nan told me that if you get bad intigestion and heart burn your baby will be born with a head of hair. I had that and guess what? My son was born with a head of hair!
I was 99.9% convinced I was having a boy from day one of being pregnant and had all the classic old wives tales signs; full linea negra up to & over belly button, carrying high and out front, savoury cravings (cheese and tomato anything). I did the Chinese Prediction Chart (enter your age and month of conception and it shows the sex on the chart) and the chart showed I was having a girl but I just didnt believe it. Thing is, I dont know anyone at all that has had the Chinese chart be wrong for them!! I had a little girl! As the previous submitter LfcEcs said about the full head of hair and heartburn, this was definitely the case for me, I had terrible morning sickness and terrible heartburn and my LO was born with a beautiful thatch of hair!!
i have a wide bump am craving sweet things had terrible morning sickness and am having a girl so some were right for me :)
i had awful morning sickness up until 20 weeks if not longer and i had a little boy
not sure if i beleive in old wives tales, am only 10 weeks gone but everything so far is pointing to a girl. Not going to find out the sex though as i want my husband to have the experience of ringing everyone after we have him/her.