Pregnant woman with friend

You might have heard some old wives’ tales when you were pregnant, and they don’t stop even when your baby is here. What old wives’ tales have been simply silly, and which ones seem to have a grain of truth to them?

Which tales are true?

So, a needle or ring can predict the sex of your baby, huh? This is just one example of oodles of old wives’ tales that surround fertility, conception, pregnancy and childbirth — many of which are handed down from mother to daughter through a long-held oral tradition. Some are just plain silly but moms swear by others that ring true for them.

The heartburn-hair connection

One of the most cited tales deals with a pregnant mom’s heartburn and her baby’s hair or lack thereof. “I had tremendous heartburn with Brennen and he had so much hair it looked like a toupee,” shared Michelle from Kansas. While many old wives’ tales have no scientific basis, in 2006 there was a study on this particular bit of folklore and researchers, who expected to find no correlation, found that a mom with heartburn was more likely to have a baby with hair on his head. They suggested that hormones that are responsible for relaxation in the lower esophagus are also responsible for triggering hair growth.

Your belly shape

Another popular old wives’ tale about pregnancy discusses your belly shape and position as it correlates to the baby’s sex. Often, carrying high means girl, and carrying low means boy. This seems to be about as accurate as the normal odds of having a boy or girl 50/50. The bottom line: The way you carry your baby is determined by your physical shape, muscle tone and genetics not the baby’s sex. “Someone said I was carrying low and must have been having a boy,” said Shelly, mom of two. “I had a girl.”

Needle or ring test

Can’t wait for your mid-pregnancy ultrasound? Try the needle or ring test. Some moms totally swear by it, like Ashley, mom of three. “You put a needle on a thread, hold out your hand palm up, ‘bounce’ the needle up and down five times, slightly dragging against your hand near your thumb and index finger, and hold the needle over your hand,” she explained. “Circles means girl, back and forth means boy, repeat until the needle just stops.” It’s been three for three for her family, and if she has a fourth, she knows what sex it will be too. “Baby number four, not yet conceived, will be a boy,” she shared. “He already has a first name.”

Flipping the baby

Do you have a baby whose days and nights are mixed up? One old wives’ tale instructs new moms to flip their baby to reset their sleep schedule. Yes, we mean physically flip the baby. This site instructs you how to do it slowly and carefully, but the baby’s feet need to be above her head at some point. Hurley, mom of one, swears by it. “We did this with Turtle when she was 2 weeks old,” she explained. “She slept through the night from then on.” Happy coincidence? Maybe. But sleep-deprived parents can rest assured that while this may not work, it also shouldn’t hurt the baby (as long as you are extremely careful, of course), so flip on.

Our advice? These tales don’t always work (or stand a scientific test), but they don’t hurt and can be fun. Just take them with a grain of salt.

More on pregnancy fun

Fun facts about your second pregnancy
Fun tips for early pregnancy
12 Fun baby shower games


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