Finding out you’re pregnant is super-exciting, and so is learning the gender of your baby. Whether you decide to keep that a surprise until you give birth, or you’re just not telling anyone until the baby arrives, one thing’s for certain: You’re going to encounter quite a few people who think they can predict whether your baby’s a boy or a girl. And you’ve probably heard a tale or two about how different signs can clue you in to the gender of your little one. Carrying that baby low? You must have a daughter on the way. Is your skin dry and itchy? Well, that means there’s a son in your future. But is there really any truth to these old wives’ tales?
Not so much, say experts. “Although many cultures and societies have defined various methods of predicting fetal gender, there is no scientific evidence,” says Sonya Abdel-Razeq, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale University.
So what exactly is it that causes your feet to be cold (it’s a boy!), or your hair to hang limp (it’s a girl!)? It truly varies from woman to woman, says Abdel-Razeq. You may experience physical changes depending on the general ease or difficulty of your pregnancy. And your symptoms (like all those pickle cravings!) could also have to do with a mixture of individual hormones, how healthy you are before conceiving, and a variety of environmental factors throughout your pregnancy. They aren’t caused by your baby’s gender, though.
There can even be big variations in the same woman from one pregnancy to another. “Each pregnancy is a unique endeavor that is a reflection of the circumstances that surround conception,” says Abdel-Razeq. “With each pregnancy, a woman is a bit older, potentially has more responsibility (to other children, etc.), her body has memory of past pregnancies, and she may experience symptoms earlier than in prior pregnancies.”
Either way, you can’t blame your crazy cravings on a boy or chalk your glow up to a baby girl.