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Is There a Connection Between Gender and Baby Heart Rate?

By Jessica Eckert
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Predicting a baby's gender is a fascination that has gripped people for a long time. Of the many beliefs that surround this issue, one of the most popular is using the baby heart rate to determine the gender of the unborn child. The basic theory is that a baby boy will have a heart rate of less than 140 beats per minute, and a baby girl will have a heart rate of more than 140 beats per minute. Although this theory is widely believed, there is no scientific proof that there is any connection between gender and heart rate of a baby.

A baby's heart rate actually varies throughout the pregnancy. During the first weeks of pregnancy, the baby heart rate is closely matched to the mother's heart rate, or an average of about 85 beats per minute. This rate slowly increases by an average of about three heartbeats a day. After about five weeks, the heart rate of both male and female babies has increased to about 175 beats per minute, and this average then slowly decreases throughout the rest of the pregnancy. Research has shown that the difference between the average male fetal heart rate and the average female fetal heart rate is very small — less than half a beat per minute — which has led researchers to conclude that there is no correlation between fetal heart rate and gender.

A fetal heart rate is classified as normal when it falls between 110 beats per minute and 180 beats per minute. The heart rate of a baby also might change throughout the day. A baby who is active or moving will generally have a higher heart rate then a baby who is still or sleeping. Thus, a higher baby heart rate is actually more indicative of the baby's activity level than of its gender.

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Discussion Comments
By Animandel — On May 30, 2014

I think it is fun to discuss some of the old wives tales as you sit around speculating about the sex of your unborn child. My husband and I did. It's even fun to make a list and see which ones were correct after the birth.

However, if you really, really need to know then I suggest you have an ultrasound done rather than measuring the baby's heart rate or looking at the mother and deciding whether she is carrying high or low. No test is perfect, but I prefer the odds with an ultrasound over odds associated with these wives tales.

By mobilian33 — On May 30, 2014

All methods other than the ones deemed scientific receive a great deal of criticism. I don't know why there is such disbelief in some of the ways used in determining the gender of a child when these methods have been used for ages with varying degrees of success of course.

I have to admit that some of the things being used to predict whether a baby is going to be a boy or a girl seem far fetched, but who am I to say one of these methods is more or less reliable than another when I don't have any way of measuring how successful they have been in the past.

There have always been certain people in the community where I live who are credited with being able to tell whether a woman is going to deliver a boy or a girl. The method of choice at the moment is based on looking at the pregnant woman and seeing whether she is carrying her unborn child high or low.

As I remember, carrying low means you can expect a baby girl and carrying high means you can expect a boy. Again, I have no way of knowing how accurate the predictions are as a whole, but a lot of people in the community swear by such methods.

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