Old wives' tales for a new arrival!
May 23, 2014 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Looking for your odd, obscure and downright odd tests for pregnant ladies.

So my sister is pregnant (hooray for her!) and is obsessed with all things pregnancy related. Today she told me about a home test where she pours pee on baking soda and it tells her she's got a boy or a girl. I've heard of the dangling of a wedding ring (or is it a spoon?) above the pregnant belly, but was wondering if you all knew of any other "tests?" I think she'd get a kick out of trying out old wives' tales, she's pretty much game for anything. I'd like to stay away from the more medical tests (she will be doing lots of those), I'd rather find the more historically linked/ folklore based stuff. Thanks a ton everyone!
posted by carnivoregiraffe to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My mother suggests this variation on your example... The pregnant woman should take a pendulum (which in my mother's time meant she must tie a long piece of string to a ring) and with her non-dominant hand hold it perfectly still above her dominant outstretched palm. If the pendulum moves in circles it is a girl, and it if moves back and forth in a line it is a boy. She has always been correct in predicting the sex of her children and that of all her friends and family (there are other more accurate old-timey ways to predict gender, based on when in your cycle you had sex, what you douche with and what you were eating in the months leading up to conception, which is probably too intimate to get into on a website), and she even won a contest back in the day for predicting the exact date I would be born, so I bow to her wisdom.
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 7:08 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well in case anyone was interested (and this is not exactly what you were asking about), one less intimate version she told me of is if you douche with baking soda and have relations with your partner exactly on the day you ovulate, which must be around the time of the full moon but never after, it will be a boy unless your diet interferes (restricting your nourishment or not having enough filling things to eat will lead to a girl).
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 7:15 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

One of my sisters said her mother-in-law insisted my sister was carrying a boy, because of the way she are her dinner: apparently whatever order she ate her salad/meat/etc. in told MIL that.

(It turned out to be a girl!)
posted by easily confused at 7:18 PM on May 23, 2014

I had a coworker who would predict gender based on how the pregnant woman walked. I have no idea if that was her own special skill or something based on folk wisdom.

The other one I heard a lot while preggo was morning sickness = girl, no morning sickness = a boy.
posted by jamaro at 7:30 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've heard the morning sickness one, and that getting lots of acne means it's a girl, because girls "steal your beauty."
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:42 PM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mental Floss has some good historical pregnancy tests. Peeing on barley does seem like it would be weirdly entertaining.

I was told it was a wedding ring on a string and holding it over the belly, a la dowsing. If it goes in circles, a girl, and for a boy, it should swing.

Heartbeat is a fairly reliable early method - the faster the heartbeat of the fetus, the more likely to be a boy.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:46 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

"If you carry high, it'll be a boy" is what I was told. Of course, that's not really a test, but something to keep in mind as time goes on.

Also, if you're craving sweet foods, it's a girl (sugar and spice and all that's nice).

I've also heard the pendulum one with circle for girls and back and forth for boys.
posted by patheral at 8:22 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

A lot of people swear that the stomach is sideways (i.e. sticks out more) when it's a girl, and more up-and-own when it's a boy (or is it the reverse?).

My mom apparently devoured chocolate when she was pregnant with my sister.

You might like this great story on This American Life: The Motherhood of the Traveling Pants (audio, there is also a transcript) , in which a grandmother's magical powers continue to determine the gender of her families' children long after she has died.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:40 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Heartburn in pregnancy is supposed to mean you'll have a baby with a head full of hair. (There might even be actual research that eventually confirmed this.)
posted by hush at 8:50 PM on May 23, 2014

Heartburn in pregnancy is supposed to mean you'll have a baby with a head full of hair.

Lies! I had heartburn from the moment I conceived until birth with all four of my pregnancies and had four bald babies.

Here's a good one: Look at your breasts. One will be bigger than the other -- one usually is, and they usually grow during pregnancy -- if it's the right one, it'll be a boy.
posted by patheral at 9:14 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

The delightfully comedic medical history podcast Sawbones has a whole episode devoted to pregnancy tests. From the episode description:

"Dr. Sydnee and Justin are having a baby, and they (embarrassingly) used a boring old pregnancy test to figure it out. This week, we save you from the same fate with a history of pregnancy tests that basically boils down to peeing on everything ever."

From memory, the things being peed on included wheat, barley and brass door hinges.
posted by embrangled at 9:45 PM on May 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

My wife and were in a restaurant in Melaka, Malaysia when she was pregnant and the (female, older) proprietor felt her back and waist and said it would be a girl. It was, and the ultrasound had already told us that but apparently the old lady knew because the waist was slim. Weirdest of all, we had never been to that place before and it was our first time meeting the woman. She did discount our food though.
posted by Literaryhero at 10:33 PM on May 23, 2014

I've recently heard that bright yellow urine = boy, dull yellow urine = girl. I can't speak to the accuracy of it, though.
posted by bernardbeta at 12:10 AM on May 24, 2014

I have heard that if you ask a pregnant woman, "Show me your hands," and she holds them out palms up, that means she's having a girl. Palms down = boy. (I don't know the origin of this bit of silliness, though!)
posted by DestinationUnknown at 4:01 AM on May 24, 2014

Sit the pregnant woman in a room with at least one other woman, and let a cat into the room. If the cat takes a shine to the pregnant woman (preferably by leaping up into her lap), then the baby is a boy. If the cat ignores her or clearly prefers the other woman, then the baby is a girl.
posted by Thing at 4:16 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you pee into pine sol (the regular yellow kind) and it turns blue you're pregnant.
posted by floweredfish at 4:43 AM on May 24, 2014

This isn't a rest per say, but it is folklore:

If the man squeezed his buttcheeks as he came, that gives his sperm am extra "push" to have a boy.
posted by "friend" of a TSA Agent at 9:33 AM on May 24, 2014

I came here to say the "if you carry high it's a boy, carry low and it's a girl" one. I carried my first one high and it was a boy. I carried my second one low and hubby wanted a girl and we bought a pink snowsuit and a dress and it was another boy.

But, yes, that's the one I heard which was accurate half the time for me.
posted by Michele in California at 10:16 AM on May 24, 2014

Wow, I have never heard of most of these. Thank you all for sharing! My sister is very excited to try out pine sol and wheat/barley, and I am excited for her, but less excited at the prospect of all of the pee-related text messages I am sure will follow. Thank you all again!!
posted by carnivoregiraffe at 3:51 PM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

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