Q: My wife has been researching online alternative methods to discover the sex of our baby before actually going to the doctor in about a month. She discovered a method of urinating in baking soda and waiting for the chemical reaction. If it fizzles, it's supposedly a boy. If it does nothing, it's supposedly a girl. Is there any true medical accuracy to these chemical reactions?
A: Over the years, patients have shared various ways to suppos-edly discover the sex of their baby. These include the dangling pin, the Drano method (similar to the reader's baking soda approach) and the Chinese lunar calendar. The dangling pin approach proposes that by affixing a pin or needle to a piece of thread and then dangling it over the pregnant woman's wrist (or stomach), the pin will swing back and forth if it's a boy and will twirl in circles if it's a girl. The Chinese lunar calendar suggests the baby's gender is calculated by the mother's "lunar age" at time of conception and the month of conception. While many patients will attest to the accuracy of these methods, there is no scientific reason to believe these tests are reliable. However, there is nothing wrong with having some fun with the folklore of it; after all, there is a 50-50 chance of being right.
-- Dr. John A. Shull, obstetrics and gynecology; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County
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