Folklore to Determine the Sex of Your Baby

Old wives tales and folklore for determining the sex of a baby have been around for a very long time, passed down from generation to generation within families. While there may be history attached to some of the tales, scientific evidence is largely against them. There is no evidence that you can determine your baby's gender by the way you're carrying, or by their heart rate, for example.

Here's a look at the stats and facts behind some of the most common folklore for determining a baby's gender, including the ring test, belly shape, and Chinese lunar calendar.

The Ring Test

The ring test is one of the oldest known ways for figuring out the sex of your baby. You take a ring—preferably your wedding or engagement ring—and tie it on a string (you can also use a needle instead of the ring). Hold the ring over your pregnant belly and watch the motions. If the ring goes in circles, you're having a boy. If the ring swings side to side, you're having a girl. It is unclear what happens in a twin pregnancy.

In one experiment, nearly half of the over 36,000 parents who tried the ring test said that they were having a boy. About 13,000 parents came back to report after the baby was born and 70 percent found the test to be accurate for them. However, given the large number who didn't report back, this percentage is likely inflated due to confirmation bias. Those who didn't get the expected result were probably less likely to respond.

Just remember, these types of tests are for fun. It makes a great party trick for your baby shower. Just don't put too much stock in it, particularly if it goes against what science via an ultrasound or another genetic test has shown you.

Heart Rate

This folklore says that babies with a faster heart rate are more likely to be girls. The cutoff was made at 140 beats per minute (bpm), so girls would have a heart rate above that and boys under. In a poll of over 31,000 people, 58 percent of parents said that the heart rate test worked for them. It seemed to be slightly more effective at predicting the girls.

Chinese Lunar Calendar

The Chinese Calendar is supposedly a long lost calendar that predicts the sex of your baby based solely on the age of the mother at the time of conception. In over 106,000 votes, 53 percent of respondents predicted that they were having a girl, with 46 percent saying boy. Just over 40,000 parents came back to say if the test was right, with 58 percent saying their prediction was correct. This is close to the number expected by chance.

Belly Shape

The shape of your belly is also supposed to be indicative of boy or girl. A baby girl is supposedly carried high and a baby boy is carried low. Over 78,000 parents responded and 60 percent said that they were having a baby girl, leaving about 40 percent expecting a boy. When asked after the birth, about 20,000 parents came back, and about 60 percent said that they found the test to be true and accurate for their pregnancy.

Dad's Weight

Is the father of the baby gaining weight? It might be Couvade syndrome (sympathetic pregnancy) or it might be a baby boy. If dad is not gaining weight, you can expect a girl according to this folklore. Over 75,000 people answered a survey and the results were split evenly between predicting girls and boys. Over 16,000 people came back to respond after their baby was born and 61 percent said that the response given was accurate based on the weight gain of the dad.

Sympathetic Pregnancy in Your Partner


The Drano test can be more dangerous than fun. It is yet another myth with no evidence to back it up—mixing Drano with a pregnant woman's urine will not change its color in line with the gender of your baby.

The Drano Myth for Predicting Baby's Sex

A Word From Verywell

Folklore abounds when it comes to trying to figure out the sex of a baby. While these tests can be a lot of fun, remember that they are not accurate. Do not make big decisions based on the results from these experiments. You should also be careful, as some of the more modern folklore, like the Drano test, can have an element of potential danger because of the use of chemicals. Your doctor or midwife can give you the most accurate information about the sex of your baby.

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