China Elevator Stories

“Has your skin turned darker after becoming pregnant?”

I chat with a co-worker in Shenzhen.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


Austria pregnancy photos - Ruth Silbermayr

One day in April 2014, a female coworker asks me: “How many months are you pregnant?”
 I tell her: “I’m 7 months pregnant.”
“Have you had an ultrasound yet*?”
I tell her: “I have.”
“So what’s it going to be? A boy or a girl?”
I answer: “I don’t know.”

She then goes on to ask: “Has your skin turned darker anywhere after getting pregnant?”

“I don’t think so.”
“Then you’re going to have a girl. At least, that’s what people say – that it’s a girl if your skin doesn’t turn darker during pregnancy and a boy if it does.”

Have you ever heard of this saying?

Explanation: What she means by asking me if I have had an ultrasound is if we’ve let a doctor determine our baby’s sex via ultrasound. If people ask if you’ve had an ultrasound in Chinese, this is often what they mean with it. Determining a baby’s sex before birth is illegal in China, but many people still find a way around this regulation and have their baby’s sex determined by a doctor before birth.

Follow me on: