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Nub theory: what is it and does it work?

Nub theory: what is it and does it work?

Pregnancy is a vocabulary minefield.

From the time you first hear the phrase ‘nub theory’ to the time you have your baby (and then for years after, while they’re growing up!), you’ll no doubt hear hundreds of other seemingly incomprehensible words and expressions.

But what exactly is nub theory? Is it really accurate? We’ve got all the information you need to demystify this peculiar phrase…

What is “nub theory”?

It all comes down to that age-old guessing game: will you have a girl or a boy? Nub theory is just another way to predict a baby’s gender.

It all comes down to that age-old guessing game: will you have a girl or a boy? Nub theory is just another way to predict a baby’s gender.

“Sometimes referred to as looking at the ‘angle of the dangle’, some people claim that when you look at an early scan of the baby’s genital area, although both girls and boys have identical-looking little bobbles (or ‘nubs’), the male ‘nub’ sticks up at a different angle from the female ‘nub’,” says Rachel Fitz-Desorgher, a midwife with 30 years of experience in infant feeding, active births and working with parents.

Is it accurate?

Like many other methods of guessing the gender, there is not enough good quality evidence to show that looking at the angle of the ‘nub’ will give you a reliable chance of correctly predicting the gender.

“Using the nub theory may be no better than swinging a coin over your tummy, looking at the shape of your bump, analysing your cravings or counting how many times you need to shave your legs in a month,” says Fitz-Desorgher.

“As the mum of four boys, my friends tested every one of their favourite gender-prediction theories on me and I can say categorically that - just like the scientific evidence tells us - none of them worked any better than 50:50. So toss a coin or just guess - it will work just as well!”

When can you tell?

People who believe in nub theory will usually say that you can tell the gender from looking at the 12 week scan photo, according to Fitz-Desorgher.

“When you look at a 12 week scan, you can see many things if you are trained to do so,” she says.“But even the very best sonographer will not claim to be able to tell you the sex of your baby with any certainty. The most accurate time to determine the sex of your baby is when your little warm bundle has safely reached your arms!”

The most accurate time to determine the sex of your baby is when your little warm bundle has safely reached your arms!

Fitz-Desorgher adds that scanning is a tricky method and can lead to unexpected results.

“Scanning is a medical procedure done to confirm pregnancy and exclude abnormalities and the NICE guidelines only support the NHS providing them for this reason,” she says.

“Many parents, though, go into the room treating the scan as a nicety and want more info than the sonographer can actually give. Sonographers are put under a lot of pressure to look for gender and the sonographer is actually supposed to be concentrating on checking that the baby has all its arms and legs!”

Rachel’s Fitz-Desorgher’s first book Your Baby Skin to Skin: Learn to Trust your Baby's Instincts in the first year is out now. (£12.99 White Ladder Press).

 
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