If you're like many expectant parents, you may be eager to get an answer to the ever-pressing question: is my baby a boy or a girl? Ultrasound is the gold standard for determining a baby's sex, but it can be fun to try at-home gender prediction tests.
There are plenty of old wives' tales that people use to guess the sex of their baby, including the popular ring gender test. Learn how to use this fun at-home test to predict whether you're having a boy or a girl.
When to Use The Ring Test
The ring gender test can be done at any point in your pregnancy. Exactly when you do it and who you choose to share the experience with is up to you. You may want to do the test at home alone with your partner, or ask family and friends to get in on the fun at your next get-together.
You may also want to turn the ring gender test into a baby shower game, asking guests to guess what the baby's sex will be before performing the ring test and other at-home gender prediction tests at the gathering.
Ring Gender Test Instructions
The ring test, also called the pendulum gender test, is a simple and safe method to predict your baby's sex. To perform the test, you'll need:
- Ring. The ring should belong to the pregnant person. Many people use their wedding ring, but another ring that holds sentimental value can be used.
- String. If you don't have string or thread handy, a strand of hair will do.
- A pregnant person
- A friend or family member assist with the test
Once you have your supplies, follow these steps to perform the ring gender test:
- Attach the ring to a string or strand of hair.
- Have the pregnant person lie down on their back.
- Hold the string so that the ring dangles over the expectant parent's abdomen.
- Allow the string to move on its own without any intentional movements or swinging
- Wait for the string to move on its own without interfering or intentionally swinging it.
- The ring should move in either a back-and-forth motion like a pendulum or in a circular motion, depending on the sex of your baby.
How to Interpret Ring Pregnancy Test Results
You can use the results of the test to guess the baby's gender. The results can also be used to guess the number of babies you might have.
Interpreting ring gender test results is straightforward:
- If the ring moves in a back-and-forth, pendulum-style motion, the baby is a boy
- If the ring moves in a circular motion, the baby is a girl
Number of Babies
Some people use the ring test not only to guess their baby's sex but to find out how many children they will have. This version of the ring test can be performed on a pregnant or non-pregnant person. Here's how to use the ring test to find out how many kids you will have:
- Gather your supplies (ring & string) and tie the string to the ring.
- Place your left hand on a flat surface and spread your fingers out
- Swing the ring between each finger, gently "tracing" your hand from pinky to thumb, then thumb to pinky
- Return to dangling the ring above the center of your left hand
- The ring should begin swinging in a circle (girl) or a back-and-forth motion (boy). This is said to be the sex of your firstborn child.
Repeat the tracing process to find out the sex of your second-born child, and so forth. Continue until the ring stops all movement, which means the test is over and you have a prediction of how many potential children (and their sexes) are in your future.
How Accurate Is the Ring Gender Test?
Although many people swear by the accuracy of the ring on a string test to guess a baby's sex, there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims. Accurate results are usually just by chance (the test has a 50/50 chance of being correct, after all!), so the test is more about having fun while you wait for more accurate test results or your baby's birth to know for sure if you are welcoming a boy or girl into your family.
If you try the ring test more than once, you might notice that your first try tells you you're having a boy, and the next attempt says girl. So why the different answers? Apart from the fact that the ring test is akin to flipping a coin, a number of factors can affect the test results. In fact, the person who is holding the ring/string above your hand or abdomen can influence the results. Maybe they have shaky hands or shifted their feet while conducting the test. In some cases, the ideomotor effect may influence the results of your ring test.
Ideomotor movements are small, involuntary movements that are influenced by a person's expectations, preconceptions or beliefs. This means that if the person who is performing the ring test wants your baby to be a girl, or someone else in the room suggests they "know" it is a girl before the test is completed, then the person holding the ring/string subconsciously makes the string move in a circular motion to confirm their suspicion.
Other Ways to Determine Baby's Gender
Ultrasound scans are the most widely used method to accurately determine a baby's sex in utero. Prior to the introduction of ultrasounds in the 1970s, people around the world relied on various folk tales to guess the gender of unborn babies. These tried, but not necessarily true, gender prediction methods have been passed down for thousands of years and rely on a variety of tools and methods to predict an unborn baby's gender.
Some cultures look to the moon, others rely on ancient charts, and some suggest that the pregnant person's food cravings or the shape of their belly can indicate whether the baby is a boy or a girl.
Though there is no written history on the origins of the ring test, the lack of scientific data to support the method most certainly means this test is rooted in superstition.
Thanks to advancements in medical technology, there are a number of methods that can accurately determine an unborn baby's sex. Many of these methods are screening tests that monitor your unborn baby's development and/or test for certain chromosomal or genetic abnormalities in the baby.
- Ultrasound. Research shows that ultrasound scans can determine a baby's sex as early as 14 weeks gestation, but are 99% accurate when performed in weeks 18-20 of your pregnancy.
- Amniocentesis. A small amount of amniotic fluid is taken between 15-18 weeks of pregnancy to test for certain birth defects.
- Chorionic villus sampling. A sample (biopsy) of placental tissue is taken between 10-13 weeks gestation to check the baby for genetic disorders.
- Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). A blood test used to analyze small fragments of DNA in a pregnant person's blood to check for chromosomal abnormalities in the baby. This test can be used as early as 10 weeks into your pregnancy.
- At-home DNA testing. At-home DNA testing kits claim to identify a baby's sex as early as 7 weeks into your pregnancy by obtaining a sample of the pregnant person's blood. These kits can be purchased online and at some drugstores.
Finding out whether you are having a girl or a boy can be one of the most exciting milestones during your pregnancy. Though the ring test is an old wives' tale based on superstition rather than fact, it can be a fun bonding experience while you wait for a more certain way to learn the sex of your baby.