1. Socks on or off? Influencing the baby’s sex at conception
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could already decide whether you’re having a boy or girl during conception? If things were really that simple, everyone would have their dream-baby, and no one would ever be nervously awaiting the famous “It’s a boy! / It’s a girl!” from the ultrasound. Apparently, it’s not that easy because many parents are surprised when the long-awaited boy turns out to be a girl and vice versa. None of these theories, such as “socks on during sex makes girls”, nor syncing the point of conception to the moon phases, have sufficient studies to prove their effectiveness.
At what point in time before or after ovulation the baby is conceived, also has a few myths circling around it. These myths are gradually being verified by studies. Supposedly male sperm are faster and lighter than female sperm and can therefore nest directly into the egg. If ovulation is still one to two days away, the female sperm cells are more likely to remain because they are slower and more resistant. Is this true? Researchers have found that the likelihood of conceiving the desired sex with this method increases by 20 to 25 percent.
In addition to many traditions that say that the baby’s sex can be determined by the shape of the abdomen, some experts apparently only need to take one look at the expectant mom. If you look radiant and relaxed, it will probably be a boy. Pale skin, dull hair and a tired look are supposed to suggest a girl. Here there is no connection whatsoever between such comments and reality, except that maybe these remarks affect your well-being.
Pregnancy is demanding for the body and consumes a lot of energy. Hormones also affect your appearance – regardless of the sex of the baby. You are tired faster and thanks to hormones, your skin and hair also change. Maybe you are too tired to blow dry your otherwise shiny hair? That’s totally fine – this phase will pass. How a pregnancy affects you and your body is just as difficult to predict as the baby’s gender. So, try to enjoy pregnancy as much as possible and if your hair dulls down despite the expected boy: just treat yourself to a visit to the hairdresser’s.
Sounds logical, right? After all, a second person will grow up in your belly and this little being needs energy and calories too. That’s true – but only conditionally, because this person is much smaller. The calorie requirement of women increases during pregnancy, but the need far from doubles, despite expectant grandparents liking to claim this as a fact. In the first three months, the fetus does not even need any extra energy because it is far too small. As of the fourth month expectant moms have an additional daily need of about 255 calories. But this need is already covered by a slice of whole grain bread with butter and cheese, and not by a second hamburger with french-fries.
Some people believe the mystery of the unborn child’s sex can already be solved with morning sickness as the main clue. Allegedly, women who are more likely to experience nausea in the first trimester will have a girl. A myth? Kind of. Researchers from various countries have found that women with severe pregnancy-related nausea get an above average amount of girls. So, is it true? Only conditionally, because the results of different studies vary greatly. The fact is, however, that the pregnancy sickness is triggered by the hormone hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin), the amount of which can vary depending on the gender of the baby. Or not, because there are also studies with different results.
“A glass of wine is fine” is commonly heard, because as long as you’re not dizzy, your baby isn’t harmed by this either. But if you look closer, that’s not true at all. The baby is connected to the mother’s bloodstream and absorbs all nutrients, but also all harmful substances, and must process them. In the case of alcohol or other harmful substances breaking them down is not as simple because the liver of the baby is formed later. Thus, the baby cannot break down the alcohol. So, you really should ignore this myth and just completely abstain from alcohol and nicotine for the sake of your baby.
Which other myths have you encountered? Allegedly you can recognize the gender of the baby based on food preferences and cravings during pregnancy. Either way, one learns the truth at birth at the latest because even an ultrasound does not give a 100% certain answer. Also a myth, right?