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Sex of Holmes-Cruise baby already under scrutiny

Donna Freydkin USA Today

Now that Katie Holmes has announced that she and her fiance, Tom Cruise, have a baby on the way, get ready for the gender-guessing games.

The weekly entertainment magazines – which devour celebrity baby news the way “Sex and the City’s” Carrie Bradshaw collects shoes – will scrutinize Holmes’ appearance, shopping and eating habits, along with idle chatter for any hint of the sex of her little Cruiser.

People are always interested in knowing whether a mother-to-be is going to have a boy or a girl.

“It’s the first question you ask a pregnant woman,” says Parents magazine editor in chief Sally Lee. “It’s one of the great mysteries none of us can control, and there’s something intriguing about that. It’s one of the last surprises you have in life.”

Even if Cruise, 43, and Holmes, 26, keep mum, it won’t muzzle the gossip hounds.

“People will be looking to see if she has a sweet tooth, because that might mean it will be a girl,” Lee says. “If she’s carrying low, it might be a boy. There are so many myths.”

Sometimes, stars spill the beans. Jennifer Garner went on NBC’s “Tonight Show” on Sept. 27 to promote the new season of “Alias” and seemed to inadvertently reveal that she and husband Ben Affleck, 33, are expecting a girl this winter.

“You can just start to feel really pregnant, like you are the hugest person on the face of the planet. … And then I felt just bigger and bigger like she … oops,” Garner, 33, said to host Jay Leno, putting both hands over her mouth.

Whether Garner really did slip up or is merely messing with the baby-obsessed press remains to be seen.

If a star won’t confirm the sex of the child, the magazines may get their tips from store employees, shoppers or paparazzi who spot a celebrity buying boy or girl baby garb.

In its Aug. 15 issue, In Touch crowed that Britney Spears was expecting twins. In its May 2 installment, Star announced “It’s a girl!” for Spears, 23, and husband Kevin Federline, 27.

The singer delivered a son, Sean Preston, on Sept. 14.

“We try always to be right, and in most cases we are,” says Star editorial director Bonnie Fuller.

In Spears’ case, the information “came from a source who saw her buying pink baby clothes,” Fuller says.

Denise Richards, 34, and Charlie Sheen, 40, knew that their first child, 19-month-old Sam, was a girl (second daughter Lola was born in June), but they told only designer Wendy Bellissimo, who decorated their nursery.

“I couldn’t tell anybody!” Bellissimo says. “They wanted to have something for themselves about the baby, something to hold on to.”

But when Brooke Shields, 40, found out she and her TV writer husband, Chris Henchy, 41, were having a girl, Rowan, now 2, she “didn’t hide it and couldn’t wait to tell,” Bellissimo says.

“She was excited to share that with the world.”

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