When you are pregnant you soon get used to people coming up to you in the supermarket and offering their words of wisdom. Carrying low? It must be a boy. Craving sweets? It must be a girl. But while most of these superstitions have never been proven with actual science (and let’s face it, there’s a 50 per cent chance of them being right each time), some have been found to be true more often than not.
1. A baby boy will mean a longer labour
After looking at over 8,000 births over three years, researchers in Ireland found that there was actually a small difference in labour times for the sexes. Labour for a boy tended to be just over six hours, whereas for a girl it was under six hours. The difficulty of the labour also seemed to side with having a boy, with mothers of boys tending to have intervention (such as C-sections or use of forceps) 29 per cent of the time, compared to 24 per cent for mothers of girls. Researchers believe that the heavier birth weight of boys (on average) could explain the results.
2. Avoid bananas if you want a girl
The tale goes that you should avoid eating bananas when you are trying to conceive if you want to have a girl. Looking at 740 women who were pregnant for the first time, researchers found that women who consumed more calories had boys in 56 per cent of cases. For the third of the group that consumed the fewest calories, 55 percent gave birth to girls. But it wasn’t just the calories; specific nutrients seemed to affect the sex of the child too. High levels of potassium (this is where the bananas come in – they’re full of the stuff) was linked to birthing boys.
3. If you get heartburn you’ll have a hairy baby
While all babies develop hair on their bodies during the second trimester of pregnancy, not all of them come out with much on top. One study looked at 28 pregnant women who experienced painful heartburn. Of those, 23 gave birth to babies of average or above-average hairiness. From the same study, 10 of the 12 women who reported having no heartburn at all had children who were less hairy than average. It seems that the hormone that causes the baby to have more hair is the same pregnancy hormone that relaxes the stomach muscles, causing the heartburn for mum.
Do you have any pregnancy superstitions that were actually true for you or someone you know? Share with us in the comments below.