Is It A Boy Or Girl? 12 Strange Gender-Predicting Wives’ Tales

Craving salt? Is Daddy gaining weight? It used to be you relied on some of these old wives’ tales and superstitions to find out a baby's gender. See this unusual list!

Once upon a time, before ultrasound and sonograms, parents had to wait until their baby entered the world to know if it was a boy or a girl. Of course, that didn’t stop people throughout history from wondering, guessing, predicting, and speculating about the baby’s gender. That’s why there are so many superstitions and old wives’ tales about it that have been passed down from generation to generation. We have a list of some common (and a few lesser-known) gender-predicting wives’ tales. Are you familiar with any of these?

12 Baby Gender-Predicting Wives’ Tales

Craving salty? Might be a boy!

1. Carrying High or Low?

This is probably the most widely-known baby gender wives’ tale. A woman carrying high with a big round belly is supposedly having a girl. Carrying low with a smaller belly indicates a boy.

2. The Wedding Ring Swing

Someone ties the expectant mother’s wedding ring to a string and holds it over her belly. If the ring sways back and forth, it signifies a boy. If it swings in a steady, circular motion, it’s a girl. Other variations of this old wives’ tale use a needle hanging by a length of sewing thread or a pencil on a string.

3. The Baking Soda Test

This one takes a little effort. First thing in the morning, the mother puts a spoonful of baking soda in a paper cup and then adds some of her urine to the cup. If it fizzes, it’s a sign that she’s having a boy. If it stays flat, the ol’ wives say it’s a girl. And, if you’re an expectant mother and you’re doing this test, you might as well know this additional predictor—if that urine is bright yellow, you will have a little boy. If it’s dull yellow, plan on a girl.

4. Baby’s Heartbeat

If a baby’s heartbeat is above 140 beats per minute, it is said to be a girl. A heart rate below 140 beats per minute indicates a boy.

5. Do the Math

An old Mayan folktale says if you add the mother’s age at conception to the year of conception, the number will tell you the gender. If the result is an even number, then the baby is a girl. If the result is an odd number—it’s a boy!

6. Mom’s Cravings

If a pregnant woman has cravings for sweets or cravings for citrus, that indicates a girl; salty foods, she’s carrying a boy. (This would mean the old cliché about craving pickles and ice cream only applying to those having twins of opposing genders.)

7. Wake Up and Smell the Garlic

This one isn’t about craving garlic, but what happens when a pregnant woman eats it. If the smell of garlic does not come out of her pores, it’s a girl. If the smell seeps out of her pores, it’s a boy—or a pizza.

8. Morning Sickness

If the expectant mother has morning sickness in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, she’s having a girl. If mom escaped that fate, legend predicts it’s a baby boy.

9. Beauty Stealers

If the mother-to-be appears more beautiful during pregnancy, it’s a boy. Less beautiful? That means a baby girl is supposedly “stealing” her mom’s beauty. Plus, baby girls are said to cause acne. If you insist that the mother of your child is more beautiful during pregnancy, no matter the baby’s gender, that’s known as being a smart man.

10. Cold Feet

Some people get cold feet before a wedding, and others do so during pregnancy. Not cold feet as in wanting to back out, but actual cold feet might be a sign that the baby is male. If mom’s feet don’t feel any different than before she was pregnant, it’s a girl.

11. Fat Daddy

Some say if the father gains weight at the same rate as the mother during her pregnancy, it’s a sure sign that the baby is a boy. Other sources say dad’s weight gain indicates that the baby is a girl. In all likelihood, it simply means that dad is really supportive … or hungry.

12. Gray Grandma

If the baby’s maternal grandmother has gray hair, legend says the baby is a boy. This one seems unlikely because were it true, it would mean that if granny was gray for her daughter’s first child, all of that child’s future siblings would have to be male too.

Of course, there is always a 50% chance of a gender prediction being right, which may be why even some of the more questionable predictors have been passed down through the generations. In this age of high-tech medicine, parents can choose to know or not know, and if they know, they can choose whether or not to tell family and friends or keep it a secret until the child is born. Of course, even ultrasounds can be wrong occasionally, so maybe old wives’ tales are a good back-up method for trying to determine a baby’s gender.

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Judy Kneiszel

Judy Kneiszel is a freelance writer from De Pere, Wisconsin. She contributes to regional and national magazines and newsletters, writing on a wide variety of topics including food, farming, health, renewable energy, and running a small business.

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Oh, by the way, I did not have morning sickness.


I craved both sweets and citrus. I ate oreos and fresh oranges by the dozen. My doctor ‘s wife said I would have a boy. She was correct…8 lbs 14 oz, 3 weeks after the due date. (1959)


With my daughter I carried all around with my son it was all in front ,never had morning sickness but had evening sickness with both I’ve got what they say is a millionaires family too bad I never found the millionaire


There’s actually a chart floating around that’s similar to the Mayan one and I would say it’s 95% accurate

Mary Jo Koca

Well, none of this was true for me. My first I carried low, the family predicted a boy and I had a girl. My second I carried high so they figured it would be a boy and they were wrong again. The third time they all just gave up guessing and I had a boy. As for the food cravings, I only had them with my first and I craved pickles and tomatoes. The best part was not knowing and being surprised when they were born.

Betty Smith

The “high/ low method” a sham. My first was high. in my ribs, all the time, boy my second was way low, cute belly, boy too! I was convinced by my mom & mom in law my second was was a girl, no. But wouldn’t trade them for girls!

Mom of Three

Odds are Boys and Evens are Girls…If you take the age of the mother at the time of conception plus the number of the month the baby was conceived in. Example: mother is 25 and she conceived in June which is 6…baby will be a boy because added together it is a 31 (odd number)


Haha. This is a new one tome With my two both equal odd numbers. I have two girls. Born 1987 and 1990 . Lol…I love old wives tales

Susan Higgins

They’re fascinating, aren’t they? Thanks for writing, Gwen!

Tricia Dellas

When I was expecting we mixed a teaspoon of Drano into the urine. Red or brown meant a girl blue or green meant a boy. I can’t believe we did something so dangerous ( fumes and chemical burns anybody) but we did and it was accurate for my boy and my girl. My daughter in law declined to play and opted to wait on the ultrasound which was also accurate!


We did the Drano test for our 4th. (It wasn’t really dangerous using a small amount of urine and just a little Drano.) After 3 boys, it indicated a girl. I didn’t get my hopes up, though. Then a friend did the circular thing using a crystal. Again, a girl, but I attributed it to the friend knowing we wanted a girl and subconsciously affecting how the crystal swung. Well, we got our girl, but what those tests didn’t tell us is that we wouldn’t make it to the hospital. She was born in the back seat of the car!


Those ultrasounds can be wrong, too. My doctor insisted I was having a tiny girl and HE came out weighing 9lbs, 9 oz!

Jane H.

I recall during one of my ultrasound exams, the nurse said due to the baby’s rapid heartbeat it had to be a girl. I said, “Nope, it’s a boy.” And I was correct.

Susan Higgins


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