Pencil Test for Pregnancy: How-To, Accuracy & Other Methods

Pregnancy brings many exciting moments, but one of the most anticipated ones during the 9 months is finding out the gender of your baby (besides their actual birth, of course).

While ultrasounds and blood tests are definitely the most reliable way to go, there are several fun DIY at-home gender tests that you can do to guess what you are having before you get the real confirmation. 

One of those is the pencil test. Can’t take a test without a pencil, right? 

The pencil test is based on a longstanding old wives’ tale that claims the movement of a pencil when it is used as a pendulum over your belly can determine the gender of your unborn child, show birthing history, and predict the gender of a future child. 

Now that got your attention. Let’s take a look at this test and several others and learn how you can do them in the comfort of your own home. 

Pencil Test for Baby Gender

I’m sure you have lots of questions about this pencil test. I did too, and I found some answers to share with you. 

Using a Pencil To Determine Baby Gender

The goal of this baby gender test is to allow a pencil to act as a pendulum over your wrist or belly. The direction that the pencil swings, whether from side to side or forward and backward, is what will predict your baby’s gender. 

Pencil Test Origins

The pencil test, like many methods of guessing a baby’s gender during pregnancy, derives from an old wive’s tale that has been passed on through generations.

It is said that this test can predict the gender of a pregnant woman’s baby, determine the birth history of a woman who already has children, and predict the gender of a future baby for a woman who is not yet pregnant.

Supposedly, the test works on men as well. 

Pencil Test Accuracy

Because there is no conclusive evidence that this test works, the accuracy rate of the pencil test is about 50%. However, many families swear by this method.

While this test is not a scientifically proven method to determine your baby’s gender, it makes for a fun and harmless experiment that you can do with your partner or at a baby shower

When To Perform Baby Gender Pencil Test

What is so “magical” about this test is that you can do it anytime whether you are pregnant or not!

If you are pregnant, you can do it at any time during your pregnancy. Some women have even used this test before they get pregnant to test their fertility and predict the gender of their future child. 

How To Do the Baby Gender Pencil Test

The beauty of this test lies in its simplicity. It requires zero experience and very little preparation. 

Supplies Needed

  • Lead pencil with an eraser, traditionally non-mechanical
  • Sewing needle 
  • Thread – you will need more than a foot
  • Yourself and a partner


While people claim that this test works using your wrist as well, we will focus on the belly method. It is more fun, realistic, and exciting! Here’s how it goes: 


  1. Make sure you are in an indoor setting where there is no wind or fans blowing. 
  2. Thread the sewing needle. 
  3. Hold up the pencil in one hand with the graphite facing down and the eraser facing up. Press the needle vertically into the eraser. Be careful — the eraser is tougher than it looks, and it can be difficult to push the needle in. 
  4. Tie off the thread. The whole thing should look like a pencil necklace. 

The Test: 

  1. Lie down in a comfortable position, belly up. You may lie on a bed, a couch, or the floor. 
  2. Hold the pencil by the thread, and gently touch the point at the center of your baby bump, just above your belly button. You may do this with your shirt covering your bump or with your skin exposed. Some believe skin-to-pencil contact is important for this technique, but it is a matter of preference. 
  3. Lift the thread directly upwards from your belly. You may need someone else to do this for you. Be sure to keep as still as possible, and try to keep your movements from influencing the movement of the pencil. 
  4. Watch the swing of the pencil. It will either swing from side to side across your belly or in line with the length of your body. 

Baby Gender Pencil Test Results

Pay close attention to the swing of the pencil as it determines your results! 

  • Side to side: Congratulations, you’re having a baby girl!
  • Up and down: It’s a boy! 

Variations for the Baby Gender Pregnancy Test

The pencil test can also be done using your wrist rather than your belly. Follow the same steps, but place your palm face up on a flat surface, and put the point of the pencil in the center of your wrist.

The results are determined the same way depending on the swing of the pencil.

What Else Is the Pencil Test for Pregnancy Supposed To Show?

Supposedly, the pencil test can determine a number of other things including: 

  • A woman’s birth history – How many children she has had and their gender(s) in order! It claims to also be able to determine if a woman has had an abortion or miscarriage if the pencil sways in a large circle motion. 
  • How many children are in the womb – If the pencil sways diagonally, a woman might be carrying twins. (It could also just be a break in the pencil’s “thinking,” so take the prediction very lightly.)
  • A woman’s fertility/birth predictions – The test can be done on a woman who is not pregnant or has not yet had children to determine the gender(s) of her future children.

Other Methods for Predicting Baby Gender

While they may not be the most accurate or scientific methods, there are a number of other fun DIY gender tests that you can do at home or as part of your baby shower. 

Baby Gender Ring Test

This test is similar to the pencil test, only you use a ring and a necklace to create the pendulum rather than a pencil and thread.

Use your wedding band or another ring, and thread it on a necklace. Dangle the ring over your belly, and watch the way it swings. Side-to-side motions indicate a baby boy, and circular motions indicate a baby girl. 

Baby Gender Ring Test Accuracy

Like the pencil test, there is no evidence to support this method. It’s just another old wives’ tale that many people swear by!

Baby Gender Needle Test

For this test, a needle is threaded and hung over the pregnant woman’s belly. If the needle swings in circular motions, the baby is said to be a girl. If it swings back and forth, it is thought that a boy is on the way. 

Baby Gender Needle Test Accuracy

This test is based on folklore with no evidence proving its accuracy. 

Baking Soda Gender Test

This test is based on the wives’ tale that the reaction of a woman’s urine to baking soda can determine the gender of her unborn baby.

To perform this test, place 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a small container. Then, go to the bathroom and collect a urine sample.

Combine the urine sample with the baking soda, and stir gently. According to folklore, if it fizzes, it is a boy, but if there is no reaction, it is a girl. 

Baking Soda Gender Test Accuracy

The theory behind this test is that the pH, or acidity, of a woman’s urine will change based on the sex of her unborn baby.

More acidic urine creates a fizzing reaction with baking soda, suggesting that a woman’s urine is more acidic when she is carrying a boy.

However, medical experts would say that this test only works by coincidence as there is no scientific evidence that an unborn baby’s sex has any effect on a woman’s urine. 

A woman making a heart with her hands over her pregnant belly.

Sugar Gender Test

According to some, a pregnant woman’s cravings have a lot to do with her baby’s gender.

If she is constantly craving something sweet and sugary, it is said she must be carrying a girl. On the other hand, if she craves salty foods, it is thought she is carrying a boy. 

Sugar Gender Test Accuracy

There is no scientific evidence to prove that the sex of your baby can influence your cravings, but this is a longstanding wives’ tale that many women swear by. 

Chinese Baby Gender Predictions

Another folklore gender test involves using an ancient Chinese calendar that uses your lunar age and the lunar month you got pregnant to determine your baby’s gender. You can see the calendar here.


The accuracy of the Chinese gender calendar is questionable. There is no scientific evidence to support it; therefore the most we can guarantee is that it is 50% accurate.

It is really just another fun and unfactual way to guess your baby’s gender. 

Sneak Peek Gender Test

The Sneak Peek gender test uses a maternal blood sample in order to determine the sex of her baby.

The blood sample is tested in a lab and scanned for Y chromosomes in the fetal DNA. If those chromosomes are present, she is having a boy.

Sneak Peek Test Accuracy

This is one of the most accurate and scientifically proven at-home gender tests with a 99% accuracy rate. 

I personally used this test to find the gender of my twin boys and can’t recommend it enough. You can save $10 on your Sneak Peek test here.

How Early Can Gender Be Determined by Ultrasound?

Eleven weeks is the earliest that gender can be detected on ultrasound; however, it is not always the best time.

Accuracy via ultrasound increases the further into the pregnancy you get. The accuracy rate for determining gender via ultrasound is 70.3% at 11 weeks and jumps to 100% at 13 weeks gestation. 

Blood Test To Determine Gender of Baby

The NIPT (Noninvasive Prenatal Testing) blood test is available to all pregnant women beginning at 10 weeks of pregnancy.

This test screens for down syndrome and other chromosomal conditions, and it can also tell you if you are having a boy or a girl.

Unfortunately, the blood test is not an accurate option for a woman who is carrying twins or other multiples. It can be accurate if all of the babies are girls; however, if a boy is in the mix, the test cannot determine how many. 

Related Questions: 

Does the Needle and Thread Work if You Are Not Pregnant?

According to tradition, the needle and thread test can determine the gender of a woman’s future child, even if she is not pregnant at the time of the experiment. However, there is no scientific reasoning behind this method.

Does the Pencil Test Count Miscarriages?

According to folklore, the pencil will move in a large circular motion if the woman has had a miscarriage. 

Final Thoughts 

Whether they are reliable or not, these tests can make for some great fun! As crazy as they sound, you know there is a little part of you that wants to give some a try, so do it!