February 24th, 2021

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Antenatal Fetal Heart Rate and "Maternal Intuition" as Predictors of Fetal Sex
Authors:  Stephen Genuis, M.D., F.R.C.S.C., D.A.B.O.G., Shelagh K. Genuis, B.Sc.O.T., and Wei-Ching Chang, Ph.D.
  OBJECTIVE: To determine if the antenatal fetal heart rate is a reliable predictor of fetal sex, if there is any correlation between "maternal intuition" and fetal gender, and if maternal intuition favors one sex over the other.

STUDY DESIGN: Two hundred twelve consecutive maternity patients with singleton gestations underwent a total of 2,261 antepartum visits. Fetal heart rate assessment was carried out between 14 and 41 weeks of gestation. At 32 weeks, participants were asked if they had a strong intuitive feeling regarding the fetal gender. Following birth, data on the infant were recorded, and the information was analyzed.

RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the baseline fetal heart rate between male and female fetuses at any recorded gestational age. One hundred ten patients (51.9%) in the sample indicated a strong belief about the sex of their fetuses, with the majority (63.6%) predicting a male. The accuracy of maternal intuition, however, was not significantly different from that of random guessing.

CONCLUSION: In the current era of declining family size, an increased focus on absolute reproductive choice and proliferating reproductive technological services, prenatal sex determination and sex selection will continue to provoke increasing attention. Fetal heart rate determination and maternal intuition, however, are not valid predictors of fetal gender. (J Reprod Med 1996;41: 447#449)
Keywords:  fetal heart rate; fetal sex
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