If you're wondering whether you're expecting a boy or a girl, it's tempting to try some non-traditional methods of gender prediction. The Chinese birth chart, also known as the Chinese conception chart, is one such method. While it's not backed up by science and is about as accurate as a coin flip, it can be entertaining.
This birth chart was rumored to be discovered over 700 years ago, but there aren't historical sources to confirm this story. It uses the mother's age at the baby's conception to attempt to predict the baby's gender. Studies have shown it isn't accurate, but that doesn't mean it's not fun!
Accuracy of the Chinese Birth Chart
If you're thinking of using the Chinese birth chart to predict the gender of your baby, hold off on buying paint for the nursery or scoring a great deal on those little pink or blue onesies. Over the years, a few studies have tested whether the chart is accurate, and it's about the same as any random guess you could make. In other words, it's not accurate at all.
Back in 1995, one study closely examined the accuracy of the birth chart. It compared the results from using the chart to the results of genetic testing and found that the chart didn't offer any predictive value. It was just about as likely to be right as it was to be wrong in predicting the gender of a baby. What's more, the study authors went so far as to recommend against using the Chinese birth chart to predict gender and to consider it only a "humorous diversion."
A later study in 2010 confirmed these results by checking the chart's accuracy by using the chart to look up over 2.8 million births. Researchers compared the baby's gender at birth to the results of the chart and found that it was only right about 50% of the time. They concluded that it was "no better at predicting the sex of a baby than tossing a coin."
How to Use the Chinese Birth Chart for Fun
Although the Chinese birth chart isn't accurate, it can be great fun to use when you're trying to add to your family or if you're already pregnant and haven't had your ultrasound yet. Some people believe the Chinese birth chart can predict gender by cross-referencing the mother's age and the month of conception. The chart is based on the anecdotal observation that women of the same age might seem more likely to have children of the same sex, although this isn't backed up by scientific research.
If you have some spare time, you can give it a try. Just don't pick out names based on the results. Here's how to use it.
1. Calculate the Mother's Chinese Lunar Age
When attempting to use this birth chart, it's important to remember that you should use the mother's lunar age and the Chinese lunar month when reading the information. This can be a bit confusing.
First, convert the mother's birth year and month from the Gregorian calendar to the Chinese calendar. The Hong Kong Observatory has a helpful conversion table. Note that the difference in when the year starts can affect the mother's age at conception.
Next, you'll need to add one year to the mother's age. The Chinese lunar age is based on the concept of a child being one year old at birth. So if the mother was 28 years old at the time of conception, you should consider her to be 29 for the purposes of this chart.
2. Determine the Date of Conception
Trying to use the chart to predict the sex of a baby involves calculating the child's month of conception. You can use a conception date calculator if you have some information about the mother's menstrual cycle. It's important to note that estimated conception dates can vary in accuracy, but if you have a good guess, you can try looking it up on the chart.
3. Use the Chart to Look Up the Gender Prediction
Once you have the information you need, look for the mother's Chinese lunar age on the left side. Find the month of conception at the top and see where the two intersect. This intersection is the prediction.
Even though this birth chart might not be accurate at predicting the sex of a child, it can be a fun way to entertain yourself. When you're waiting nine months to meet your new little one, anything that helps pass the time is worth a try.