Weird Ways Cultures Predict If a Baby Will Be a Boy or a Girl

In modern times, a pregnant woman who wishes to know the sex of her baby will simply get an ultrasound and have the doctor tell her. But ultrasounds, of course, haven’t been around for as long as humanity has been reproducing. Historical sex prediction traditions and methods have been around for ages.

Droplets of a mother’s milk or rings dangled over her belly were said by some cultures to be the key. Other sex prediction methods are the world require the careful observation of an expectant mother’s behavior or appearance, peering into her eyes (and the circle beneath them) or observing the way she walks. While most of these methods are total bunk, a lot of them retained their power and spread all over the world for a simple reason: statistically, there’s a 50 percent chance that it’ll be right!

Plus, most of them—with the exception of peeing into a potentially dangerous chemical—are totally harmless for the mother and child, so why not have a bit of fun? Some of these ways different cultures predict the sex of a baby are strange, some are quirky, and all of them shed a unique light of their respective cultures. So check out these different ways to predict if a baby is a boy or a girl and leave a comment if you've heard of another method.

  • An Ancient Chinese Method Involves Looking at Baby Poop

    An ancient Chinese sex predictor involves, well, poop. A pregnant woman should hold an infant, so young that it has not yet begun teething. Then, you have to wait until that baby poops. If the color of the feces is green, it means that the woman’s baby is the opposite sex of the baby she just held. If it remains the same, the baby is the same sex. Sounds super pleasant!

  • A New Moon Predicts a Second Baby of the Same Sex

    A myth from Touraine, France relies on the moon. Many pregnancy myths do. This one says that if a woman sees a new moon on any of the six nights following the birth of her child, her next child will be whatever sex that child was. Otherwise, it will be the opposite. 

  • A Drop of Milk Dropped in Water Is a Great Sex Indicator, According to Aristotle

    Aristotle’s Masterpiece was used through the 19th century in England as a guide to sex and childbirth. It was not actually written by Aristotle. The book asserts that a woman can release a single drop her milk into a basin of water. If it sinks, it’s a girl. If it spreads, it’s a boy. “This I have often tried, and it never failed,” the book reads.

  • Mixing a Pregnant Woman's Urine with Drano Will Reveal a Baby's Sex

    Mixing a Pregnant Woman's Urine with Drano Will Reveal a Baby's Sex
    Photo: demcanulty / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    If a mother mixes her urine with Drano, the changing color will reveal her baby's sex. Green is for female children, while blue is for males. However, other versions of the old wives' tale offer other colors and sex predictions, some of them contradictory. But while some of these sex predictors are merely harmless fun, doctors recommend pregnant women not come into close contact with Drano or other harsh chemicals while pregnant. According to Snopes, Ann Landers once said, "The only thing this test proves is that the pregnant woman's kidneys are functioning." 

  • A Hungarian Myth Says a Spider Can Predict a Baby's Sex

    According to Traditions and Superstitions in Obstetrics and the Care of the New-Born in Hungary by Rudolf Temesvary, a woman can enlist a spider to help her figure out her child’s sex. She can insert a finger in a spider web, making a hole. Should the spider repair the hole, the child is a boy. If the spider leaves it, the child will be a girl. Given how sticky spiderwebs are, this one seems slightly unpleasant. 

  • Dots in a Pregnant Woman's Iris Indicate Her Baby's Sex

    According to the William A. Wilson folklore archives, a Greek doctor believed the eyes would reveal a baby’s sex. He would tell his patient to shine a light in their eye. If there was one dot on the bottom of the iris, a boy was on his way. If there were two dots, it was a girl. If there were more dots, who knows? And which eye? No word on that either.