Pregnancy Myths – Part 1 – Sex Determination

India is one of the few countries that has legally banned sex determination due to the prevalence of female foeticide. It’s a good move administered by the government, considering the perverse aversion by some sects and people of the society to a girl child. As per a Washington post article the world has 101.8 males for every 100 females. And India has 107.6 males for every 100 females. You can clearly see the discrepancy.

But things are changing, slowly, small steps taken in the right direction.

Although it doesn’t stop our population, who are dunked in the treacle of tradition and culture,  to conjure up their own methods to determine the sex of the child; without the use of technology and sometimes just by looking at the pregnant woman (not at all creepy).

The following are the myths that people have over years, decades, even centuries passed on to their progenies on how to determine the sex of a child:

  1. Glowing – They say that if the woman is glowing during her pregnancy, she’s having a girl. But then there are others who also believe that if the woman looks like a white walker from Game of Thrones then she’s having a girl; because she is stealing her mother’s beauty. In either case when they do deliver, one of the two parties will be going “I told you so! I TOLD YOU SO”
  2. Smooth – If the pregnancy has gone smooth then it’s a girl. Word of advice, never use the words “smooth” and “pregnancy” in the same sentence to your wife. What’ll happen next will not be so smooth
  3. Tummy talks – This one is a pretty common one, if the woman is carrying high then it’s a girl and if it’s low then a boy. If the tummy is all out front then it’s a boy and if it is all around then it’s a girl. Who has time to examine all this?
  4. Full term – If the woman completes a full term of pregnancy then it is definitely a girl. Well that’s mature thinking.
  5. The thin black line – Every pregnant woman develops the pregnancy line or the ‘linea nigra” (black line). This runs over the belly vertically and becomes darker as the pregnancy grows. According to legends if the linea nigra is “really” dark (it’s already dark to begin with) then it’s a boy. So how do you distinguish what is dark? I bet someone made a shade card for this particular myth. “hmmm you are definitely getting a girl, you see your linea nigra is dark, but not dark enough, if it was darker than this dark then it is a boy”. Now I know where the idea of the ‘fairer’ sex came from
  6. Picture Perfect – In some cultures it is believed that depending on what you “want”, the pregnant woman must look at a picture of the baby (girl or boy). Makes total sense; my next child is going to be an iPhone 7.
  7. Hard or soft – In our community (Bohras) there is a tradition of making a particular type of sweet from wheat and jaggery during the baby shower ceremony. If the final cooked product is soft then it is a girl and if it is hard then it’s a boy. I can totally imagine the conversation here, “it’s cooked. Is it hard enough? No, it’s soft, and looks like you are going to get… Let it cook for longer. But it’s already cooked. Just cook it longer.”
  8. Deep Thrust – Ok I really don’t need to explain this one. But somebody out there had a weird sense of humour. The good thing, let’s blame the man, no matter what the outcome.
  9. Husband’s Weight – Whoever came up with this myth clearly was going through some eating disorder. Apparently if the husband puts on weight during the pregnancy then the child is going to be a boy. Imagine the pressure on the dude who has three girls and now is going for a fourth, “Today I am going to eat a stallion, that has eaten a male goat, lathered in butter made from double fat milk of a bull”
  10. What’s your daddy? – Some people believe that the gender of the child depends on the husband’s personality. So if he is soft, good natured, kind – then it’s a girl. With that logic we all know what the The Hulk is getting
  11. What came first? – This was an interesting one. So the first born in the family of both the spouses, will determine what your first child will be. If you are a male child and the eldest amongst your siblings and your wife has an older brother, who is the eldest amongst his siblings then the chances of you getting a boy are higher. The theory is null and void if two “only” children get married to each other.

My wife had a smooth, full term, glowing pregnancy, with a pretty dark linea nigra, where I put on a bit of weight… And we got a beautiful daughter.

Just wanted to add that this post doesn’t mean to offend any one in any way. Would really appreciate if you’ll could share some myths in your culture and country.


  1. Very nice post; we have two grown up children – the elder one is a girl. Though I do not remember how my partner looked or behaved but the boy I do remember the old midwife tales. Thanks to our science education logic overpowered myths. Thanks for the note I learned a few more myths

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No such thing. Both the mother and father can look at scenes but as per law the doctor is barred from revealing the sex of the child, nor can the patient insist in knowing the sex


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