Publication Date



maternal intuition, fetal gender, sonography, pregnancy, ultrasound


Purpose: Fetal gender speculation is a preoccupation of many expecting parents, and pregnant women commonly profess to intuitively know the gender of their unborn babies. This study objectively compared pregnant mothers’ perceptions of fetal gender to sonographically proven gender determinations. Also, success rates from previously published studies, noninvasive prenatal testing and a myriad of gender determination methods were observed and reported for context.

Methods: All pregnant women presenting for second-trimester screening ultrasound (at 17–23 weeks gestation) in the obstetrics department of a single health center were asked to participate. A medical sonographer described the ultrasound examination, obtained appropriate consent and medical history. Each mother was asked if she had any perception as to the fetal gender and her answer documented. Mothers who had foreknowledge of fetal gender were excluded. Frequencies of actual gender were compared with observed frequencies of the maternal prediction using chi-squared test.

Results: Approximately 40% (n = 411) of our study population (N = 1,026) indicated having an intuition or perception of fetal gender. These women correctly predicted the gender of their babies 51% of the time (P = 0.6571). Women who expressed a “strong” degree of intuition (n = 53) fared better, accurately predicting fetal gender at a rate of 62%, though the difference in this smaller subcohort also failed to demonstrate statistical significance (P = 0.0741).

Conclusions: Intuition of fetal gender is professed by almost half of mothers though, when present, is no better at accurately predicting fetal gender than flipping a coin.