Predicting Gender - Selecting Sex: Myths & Wives Tales, the Scoop on Choosing (or Predicting) the Sex of Your Baby
While on the topic of gender selection, let's take a quick look at a few myths about trying to select, or predict, the sex of your child. Remember, in the days before ultrasound, you had to wait 9 months to discover if your were going to have a boy or a girl. Therefore, other less empirical (home-spun) means of predicting or influencing baby gender were developed, some more unusual than others.
Starting between fact and fiction, there are horoscopic and astrological methods of selecting the sex of a future child. The most celebrated of these is the 800 year old Chinese Gender Selection Chart which claims to provide you with conception dates that will lead to having a boy or a girl. Cross referencing the mother's age with the month of conception, the horoscopic Chinese Gender Calendar is said to be accurate (though certainly Western science would dispute this)!
Before we press on with more reason-defying wives tales and myths, lets quickly review how gender is determined in human reproduction. First of all, the gender of your baby is not "developed" during your pregnancy. What you eat, what you watch on TV, or which side you sleep on will not influence the sex of your child once you are pregnant. Rather, sex is determined at the moment of conception, with the fertilization of the egg. When a single sperm enters the egg, it takes just a few hours for the DNA of the egg and the sperm to completely combine. The DNA combination that takes place at conception maps out the genetic pattern for your baby's future development: blue or brown eyes, blond or brown hair, boy or girl. From a genetic standpoint, practically all is decided at the moment of conception, days before the fertilized egg implants in the uterus.
The mechanism that decides the gender of your baby is not random chance. Rather, sex is determined by a single sperm cell and the specific gender chromosome that an individual sperm cell carries with it. In effect, the sperm cell is the gamete responsible for the determination of gender - and of all the sperm produced by the man, about 50% will carry the "girl" gene (X-chromosome) and about 50% will carry the "boy" gene (Y-chromosome). What decides gender comes down simply to which of these sperm fertilizes the egg!
What's interesting here is that X-chromosome and Y-chromosome sperm actually have quite different "personalities", or physical attributes. Y-sperm (boys) are fast swimmers, exhibit higher motility, and are relatively small; but while they can move quickly, they are not very robust and have a short life span. X-chromosome sperm (girls), on the other hand, are robust and can live longer than Y-sperm, but are rather slow, deliberate swimmers. The difference in attributes between types of sperm has lead to several theories and methods for selecting the gender of your baby. Most of these practices are variations on the Shettles Method, which requires that you observe at least some of the following sex-selection parameters:
1. Timing lovemaking in relation to your ovulation date.
2. Privileging one sexual position during intercourse (depth of penetration).
3. Altering the vaginal environment pH level by douching and diet.
4. Modifying diet of both partners with food types and nutriceutical supplements.
5. Using fertility charting and natural fertility signs to time sex.
6. Encouraging or forestalling female orgasm.
To read more about the most popular Shettles Method, click here. However, it should be noted that mainstream science is not unanimous in validating any of these methods of sex selection - and many doctors and researchers claim that such methods are not very effective in influencing gender outcomes. Before applying any method that asks you to change your diet or douche, you should consult with your doctor.
Myths about Gender Section and Prediction: Let's look at some common myths about selecting the sex of your child - or trying to predict or influence gender once you are pregnant.
Breast Size and Resting Side: Can relative breast size after you are pregnant tell you if you will have a boy or a girl? Probably not! But the myth goes that if your left breast is larger than the right, the odds are better that you will have a girl. If the right breast is larger, than you can expect a boy. Applying the same type of "logic", if a pregnant woman is more comfortable lying on her left side, odds are its a boy. With right-side resting preference, you can expect a girl...
Mother's Age at Conception: According to some sources, age may be a variable in whether you have a boy or a girl. Theoretically, age could be a factor, particularly if Shettles claims about vaginal environment pH levels are valid. In principle, changes in hormonal balance could alter the pH level of the vagina. However, medical research has not verified any such claims. One could also suggest that the age of the male could also result in a differential amount of girl or boy sperm being produced, though this also remains in the land of speculation. The Chinese Gender Calendar also uses the age of the mother and the month of conception to predict the sex of your child based on astrology.
Who Initiated Sex? If the woman initiated sex (was more aggressive) at conception, then the odds of having a boy are increased. If the male was the aggressive partner, you will have a baby girl! I wonder how many universities are doing research on this one...
Gender and Diet - Salty & Sweet, Alkaline & Acidity: As indicated above, avoid Wives' tales that ask you to change your diet! A healthy diet is the most important thing you can do for your baby. However, according some legends, a salty diet before conception will favor boys, and a diet comprised of sweeter foods will favor girl babies. While this advice is baseless, other more "scientific" sounding sources suggest that a diet that promotes an alkaline vaginal environment (foods rich in calcium and magnesium) will provide a better chance for boys. Diets rich in potassium, on the other hand, are purported to favor girls. Talk to your doctor before making any adjustment in a healthy and balanced preconception diet. Be skeptical of people selling you "gender slection kits" that require diet change or invasive procedures.
Where Your Baby Sits, Heart Rate: Any theory about gender prediction will have at least a 50% success rate! If you are pregnant and you carry your baby out front, rumor has it that you will have a boy. If it can be determined that you are pregnant by observing the mother from the back, theory says that you will have a girl. In the age of ultrasound, this old wives' tale is pretty much ancient history. Likewise, the heart rate of your baby is also said to offer clues about the sex of your baby. 140 beats or more per minute = girl. Less than 140, a boy.
Read more about Gender Selection and the Shettles Method.