There are many traditional beliefs about how parents-to-be can find out the sex of their baby before the birth. The baking soda gender test is an easy, cost-effective method, but does it work?

People may not want to rely on the results of this test, but there is also no harm in trying it. However, there are many other conclusive ways for expectant parents to determine the sex of their unborn child.

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Combining baking soda with a mother's urine is said by some to reveal an unborn baby's gender.

The baking soda gender test is an at-home method that involves combining a pregnant woman's urine with baking soda to see if it fizzes. Whether or not the urine fizzes is supposed to determine whether the baby is male or female.

The baking soda gender test actually looks to determine the baby's sex, not its gender. The sex refers to their genetic and biological makeup, whereas gender refers to social and cultural differences that develop over time.

There is some science behind the test. Baking soda reacts with acids, causing some acids to fizz and bubble. The theory behind the test is that the acidity, or pH, of a pregnant woman's urine, will change based on the sex of her unborn baby.

However, there is no proof that the sex of an unborn baby has any effect on the pH of a woman's urine. Also, many other known factors can make a woman's urine more or less acidic.

A woman who wants to try this test must collect her urine in a clean container the first time she uses the bathroom in the morning.

This first-morning urine must be used for the test because the woman's urine may become diluted as she drinks fluids throughout the day.

It is important to wash the hands thoroughly before collecting urine. To collect the urine, a woman can squat over the toilet and hold the container under her while releasing a small amount of urine.

The next step is to add an equal amount of baking soda to the urine and look for whether the urine fizzes or remains the same.

One of two things will happen when baking soda is added to urine. The urine will either fizz, or it will stay the same.

If the urine fizzes, then folklore regarding the baking soda test says the woman is carrying a boy. If the urine remains the same, it suggests she will have a girl.

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Many factors may affect the baking soda gender test, such as the mother's hydration level.

Unfortunately, the results of the baking soda gender test are only accurate about half of the time — no more accurate than a coin toss.

Many other factors can affect the pH of a woman's urine, including:

Because so many variables affect the pH level of urine, a woman may get different results on different days if she takes the test more than once.

For pregnant women eager to find out the sex of their baby before it is born, there are many more reliable ways to do so than a baking soda test.

Some accurate ways to determine the sex of an unborn baby include:

Ultrasound

When an anatomy ultrasound is done around 20 weeks of pregnancy, a doctor or ultrasound technician will usually be able to see all of the baby's anatomy, including their genitals. Getting a good image may be difficult if the baby is in an unusual position.

Studies have shown that 2-D ultrasounds are very accurate in determining sex. One study showed a 98.2 percent rate of accuracy. The inaccurate results in the study occurred when two male babies were misdiagnosed as females.

DNA Test

Many simple blood tests can reliably determine whether or not someone is carrying a boy or a girl.

These tests include:

  • Harmony
  • Maternit21
  • Verifi
  • Panorama

These blood tests work by looking for the presence of a Y chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes, whereas males have both an X and a Y chromosome. If a Y chromosome is found, the baby is male.

Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis involves inserting a needle through the pregnant woman's abdomen, using ultrasound guidance, into the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby.

The needle collects a small sample of the amniotic fluid to send to a laboratory for analysis. The fetus sheds cells into the amniotic fluid, making this a way for doctors to detect genetic problems.

This invasive test is done only for medical reasons. Finding out the sex of the baby is not a primary reason to do this test, as it has risks for the mother and the baby.

Chorionic villus sampling

Chorionic villus sampling is a test done during pregnancy to determine if the baby is at risk of a congenital problem.

Similarly to amniocentesis, this test is invasive and does have some risks, so it is only done for medical reasons. However, it can still determine the baby's sex.

During the test, a doctor inserts a syringe into the uterus through the vagina and cervix. Occasionally, this is done through the woman's abdomen to collect a sample of the tissue, known as villi, in the placenta.

This tissue is full of genetic information about the baby, including about its sex and certain genetic disorders.

The baking soda gender test is not a reliable way to determine the sex of a baby.

There are many reliable ways to determine a baby's sex. Ultrasounds and blood tests are both very accurate and are safe for the mother and baby.