Does My Pregnant Belly Tell Me If It Is a Girl or Boy?

Predicting a Baby's Sex

Two Women with Belly
Photo © Sheer Photo, Inc/Getty Images

One common bit of pregnancy lore is that you can tell the sex of your baby by the size and shape of your pregnant belly. You are likely to have friends and relatives predicting whether you'll have a boy or a girl based on it.

However, those dimensions have absolutely nothing to do with the sex of your baby. It merely represents the position your baby, placenta, and uterus have decided to take and doesn't relate to the sex of the baby at all. So while you may have heard that carrying high is a girl and low is a boy, it might not be true for you at all.

Your Pregnant Belly Shape and Size

Your pregnant form is one that does give a lot of information about your pregnancy. At every prenatal visit, you doctor or midwife will measure it to ensure that it is growing. Here they are actually measuring your fundal height—the top of your uterus from the pubic bone. This will grow every week throughout your pregnancy and is usually measuring, in centimeters, within a number or two of the number of weeks that you are, after your twentieth week.  So if you are 22 weeks pregnant, you'd expect that the measurement would be 20 to 24 centimeters.

Sometimes a woman will carry high and have a boy, and carry low with a girl. This might even change from pregnancy to pregnancy. Some women consistently carry higher or lower with all their pregnancies. Others have two boys or two girls and carry high one time and low the other. You may feel like you are carrying lower with a pregnancy that is after your first. This can depend on a lot of factors.

The size and shape of your belly are largely about how your body is in general, how you carry yourself, how your uterus grows, and how your baby situates themselves on any given day inside your uterus.

If you or your doctor or midwife have concerns about your baby's position or the size or shape of your belly, be sure to discuss the issue together. Many times, a simple discussion will make you all feel better. If there are other concerns, an ultrasound might ease your fears.

Boy Bellies vs. Girl Bellies

You will hear different opinions from different friends and relatives as to which belly shape and position, high or low, represents a boy or a girl. Various cultures and traditions have passed down their method of spotting the gender of your baby, and they may disagree with each other.

The game of guessing the sex of the baby is more complicated now that many women have ultrasound scans and other methods that can give a more accurate prediction of the sex of the fetus. You may have asked not to know the sex or you may have gotten an opinion based on the scan or test but you'd rather keep it a secret from family and friends. Now you'll have to choose whether you burst the bubbles of the belly shape guessers or not. Of course, in some cases they'll be the ones who can say, "I told you so!"

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