Expectant mothers are filled with a great deal of joy and anticipation regarding the arrival of their baby. In addition to the excitement of having a wonderful addition to the family, there are a number of issues that can be sources of wonder and even anxiety for parents-to-be. One significant topic is the gender of their baby. While some sources my claim to have the ability to predict the gender of your child, or even skew the outcome in favor or one sex or another, the reality of the matter is, most of these methods are, for the most part, superstition and hype.

According to a new study, this includes the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which is said to be based on an ancient chart that was sequestered in a tomb for nearly 700 years, though one may wonder how exactly they came up with that figure. Whatever the case, there are numerous websites filled with the promise predicting your baby’s gender using the calendar, some of which claim to have an accuracy rate of up to 93%.

The approach involves factoring in the mother’s age and the month of the conception date into the calendar. A chart is then used to incorporate those dates to predict a baby’s sex. In theory, if you can plan the date at which conception will occur, then you should be able to know beforehand whether or not you’ll have a boy or a girl.

The study, published in the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, put the Chinese lunar calendar to the test by reviewing 2.8 million births over the course of 33 years (1973 to 2006). What researchers found was that, in the end, the calendar was no more accurate at predicting a baby’s gender than flipping a coin.

The authors noted that they tried to approach their study with an open mind, even in light of the fact that there is really no rational biological basis behind the calendar's claims. Their conclusion was that if expecting parents do employ the lunar calendar method, then they could be setting themselves up for disappointment and might want to wait until the child is born before choosing the color of their baby's wardrobe.

The fact of the matter is, doctors can determine whether the baby will be a boy or a girl with a fair degree of accuracy using ultrasound technology, though the techniques do not give accurate results until about the midpoint of pregnancy, or around 20 weeks. In situations where 20 weeks is simply too long to wait, or for those who believe that they may be able to skew the odds in favor of either a boy or a girl, some people will turn to alternate means that often function outside of accepted scientific circles.

With these limitations in mind, perhaps it would not be a bad idea to take the predictions with a grain of salt and view the information as a entertainment rather than sound science.

If you are curious about the calendar, check out the gender predictor on Baby Zone. If you have questions or concerns, speak with your doctor.