Pregnancy is one of the few times in life when we still experience mystery and surprise. Whether it’s our 1st or 5th pregnancy, each one is very different.

Maybe that’s why myths or “old wives’ tales” continue to grab our curiosity. Many myths try to reveal your baby’s gender—is it a boy or a girl? Until ultrasound made it easy, you had to wait for the big surprise. That made gender myths even more meaningful.

High or Low?

Supposedly, if you are carrying your baby wide, it’s a girl; carrying him all out in front, then it’s a boy. Carrying high also means a girl, and low means boys. But sorry mama, daddies and grandparents: These strategies just don’t hold up in research.

There’s no statistical correlation between the way a baby is carried and his or her gender—even if your cousin Jenny did carry 3 strapping boys all out in front and down low.

How your body carries a baby depends on the strength and elasticity of your uterine and abdominal muscles, how much amniotic fluid is in your uterus, how big your baby is and which way she or he is laying.

Salty or Sweet?

But what about food? Another gender myth says cravings for salty foods means you’re having a boy. Want sweets? You’ve got a girl in there, yes?

My mother-in-law taught me the Korean version of this myth when I was pregnant: Craving meat means a son; fruit signals a girl. Again, for the data crunchers, there’s no statistical association between food cravings and baby’s gender. This myth is busted!

Hairy or Bald?

And then there’s the sure-fire myth that correlates heartburn to a thick head of beautiful hair for baby. Don’t we all want that?

Sorry, once again, it’s a myth. Maybe it started as a way to distract us from the terrible stomach-and-chest-on-fire feeling that is heartburn. The fact is that most women have heartburn during pregnancy. It’s caused by the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. When this happens, stomach acid “backs up” into the esophagus and causes the dreaded heartburn feeling.

Add to that a growing baby that puts extra pressure on the stomach and intestines, and ouch! To get rid of the heartburn, try eating smaller meals and sitting up for at least an hour after eating. As for the baby’s hair… you’ll have to wait and see!


Catherine Catie Chung PhD, RN, CNE, is a former nurse expert advisor to Healthy Mom&Baby in practice in Las Vegas, NV.

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