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Are Old Wives' Pregnancy Tales True?

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We’ve all heard the different theories about how to predict your baby’s sex and set labor into motion. What is true and what isn’t? We recruited our very own Tessa Reff, MD, an obstetrician at Samaritan Sweet Home Family Medicine, to help debunk some of these long-told tales.

If you’re carrying high, it’s a girl. 
Only an ultrasound or blood work can confirm the sex of your baby.

Having sex will induce labor.
Ejaculate contains prostaglandins which is in some medications used in the hospital to induce labor. As long as sexual activity is cleared by your doctor, testing out this theory will do no harm.

Eating spicy foods can cause contractions. 
The only thing spicy foods have to offer during pregnancy is heart burn.

Using castor oil makes baby want to meet momma.
Unfortunately, the only thing castor oil is likely to do is give you diarrhea.

Nipple stimulation will progress labor.
Pumping with a breast pump mimics breastfeeding a newborn. This releases oxytocin, also known as Pitocin, which is a drug used in the hospital to induce labor. There is some evidence that this tale is true, but you should consult your doctor before trying.

A slower fetal heart means you’re having a boy. 
Maybe, maybe not. Again, only an ultrasound or blood work can determine sex.

Spinning crystals over your belly can predict baby’s sex.
No. But, it is fun to do!