Women, for ages, have indulged in various myths that have been passed down generations to predict the gender of the child. Some of these were scientific and true, others not so much.
Medically though, prenatal prediction of sex of an unborn child is banned in India by the establishment of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP), as amended in 2002, and the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 (PNDT), as amended in 2002. The first disqualify abortion in certain circumstances. The second deals with the determination of the gender of the child with views to aborting it.
This was done to prevent the alarming rates of female foeticide in India.
Here are a few myths regarding predicting the sex of the baby during pregnancy which has been busted:
- The shape of the bump– It is common knowledge among mothers that if the bump is firm and sticking out then it is a boy and if it is tad flatter then it is a girl. Well, of course, it is a myth but there is some truth to it which is misunderstood. Research studies that have been published on BBC suggest that the truth lies in the fact that an average baby boy is larger in size than a girl but that negligible difference in size hardly affects the shape of the bump. If the baby’s back is parallel to the mother’s back, then the bump is flatter, if not, it sticks out making it look bigger. The position of the baby has nothing to do with gender.
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- More morning sickness equals doubling of female hormones– It is a common belief that if the morning sickness occurs in a mother too frequently then it is because the fetus is a girl and the female hormones have doubled in the mother’s body. This is absolutely false as most of the morning sickness occurs in the first 12 weeks and then the fetus doesn’t develop any sex-related hormones.
- Long and difficult labour– Again an ‘old wives’ tale’ which claims if a woman has long and difficult labour it must be a boy. There is no scientific proof ascertaining that. A survey that examined 8000 at Dublin came to the conclusion that births last longer with a boy than a girl. There is nothing conclusive about this and many female births have been long too, so it’s better not to rush into any judgments.
- Faster fetal heartbeat rate– Usually it is believed that the faster heart rate of a fetus must be of a girl. A rapid rate of more than 140 heartbeats per minute might be suggested by some that it is of a girl. It is true that the heart rate of a girl is at most times faster than a boy but only after labour can this determined. Before that, it is just the age that affects the heartbeats of the fetus.
While it is a common curiosity among would-be parents to know the gender of their child, people are always discouraged to go down that lane. Especially in countries like India, there are several reasons for that. Pre-birth notions about gender can be harmful and unnecessary.
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Its’s a grey area, but all we know that it is best to live up to the curiosity and surprise yourself during birth. You must remember that all children, irrespective of gender, are a gift to you, and therefore, they must be loved, cherished, and appreciated.
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