Can you predict a baby’s sex from their heart rate?

Many people claim that they can predict a baby’s sex using signs such as the size of the mother’s breasts or the position of the fetus in the womb. However, little scientific evidence supports these claims.

In this article, we look at the research into fetal heart rate as an indicator of sex. We also explore other myths about predicting a baby’s sex and describe reliable scientific methods.

Can babies’ heart rates indicate their sex?

Some people believe that the speed of the fetus’ heart rate can predict the baby’s sex.

For some, this may be an exciting idea, because a doctor can determine the heart rate from the first trimester before an ultrasound can show the baby’s sex.

The belief is that a heartbeat slower than 140 beats per minute indicates a male baby, while a faster heartbeat indicates a female baby.

There is no evidence that this is true.

What the research says

A number of studies have looked for a link between a fetus’ heart rate and their sex.

In 2006, one study found no significant differences between male and female fetal heart rates.

The researchers took the heart rates recorded on 477 sonograms taken during the first trimester and compared them to the sonograms taken during the second trimester, which the doctors used to determine the fetuses’ sex. They concluded that a fetus’ heart rate was not an indication of its sex.

In 2016, a study looked at 332 female and 323 male fetal heart rates recorded during the first trimester. These researchers also found no significant difference between them.

Many popular myths surround the prediction of a baby’s sex while they are still in the womb.

One involves tying the mother’s wedding ring to a thread and holding it over the pregnant abdomen. According to the myth, if the ring moves in circles, the baby will be a boy. If it swings from side to side, the baby will be a girl.

Below are some other myth-based predictions:

A woman is more likely to be carrying a boy if:

  • she is carrying her pregnancy bump in front
  • she is carrying her pregnancy bump low down
  • she did not experience morning sickness in the first trimester
  • her right breast is bigger than her left
  • she craves foods that are salty or rich in protein, such as cheese or meat
  • her skin becomes dry
  • her hair becomes more full-bodied and shiny

A woman is more likely to be carrying a girl if:

  • the pregnancy bump extends around the abdomen
  • she carries her pregnancy bump high
  • she experienced morning sickness during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • her left breast is bigger than her right
  • her cravings are for sweet foods, such as fruit and candy
  • her skin gets softer
  • her hair becomes thinner and duller

Many people enjoy toying with these theories and making predictions of their own. However, no scientific evidence supports their accuracy.


Many myths surround the sex of an unborn baby. One is that, early in pregnancy, unborn boys have faster heartbeats than girls.

There is no evidence that this is true. Studies have shown that there is no difference between male and female fetal heart rates.

A healthcare professional can make an educated prediction about a baby’s sex during an ultrasound. This is only possible from around the 18th week of pregnancy. Even then, the baby’s position can make a prediction difficult.

The only way to be sure of a baby’s sex is to wait until they are born.

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