• Dr Peter Chew

Baby's gender

There are many old wives’ tales surrounding pregnancy. A myth that has been around for a long time is that one can predict the baby’s gender by listening to its heart rate. The “prediction test” states that if the foetal heart rate is above 140 beats per minute(bpm), the baby is more likely to be a girl. If the heart rate is below 140 bpm, the chances are that the baby will be a boy.

But does the “Prediction test “work?

No. Unfortunately, the heart rate of the fetus cannot predict its gender. Research studies have shown that the baby’s heart starts beating around 5-6 weeks of gestation. It usually begins beating at a rate of around 85 bpm and increases by 3 bpm each day until it reaches about 175 bpm around the 9 weeks of gestation. After that, the heart rate slows to between 120 and 160 bpm. In one study, the average heart rate for baby boys in the first trimester was 154.9 bpm (+/- 22.8 bpm) and for baby girls 151.7 bpm (+/- 22.7 bpm). There was no significant difference between male and female heart rates during early pregnancy.

Thus, the heart rate of the baby is an unpredictable way to determine its gender. Heart rate depends on the activity of the baby, being higher when the baby is moving and slower during sleep. This means the baby’s heart rate can be different at different times of the day, regardless of the gender

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