pink and blue baby shoes

Finding Out the Sex of Your Baby

Sometime around week 19 of the pregnancy, it becomes possible for an ultrasound to pick up the sex of your baby. If you are offered an ultrasound from this point onwards, you may be given the opportunity to learn the sex of your baby.

On the day
Unfortunately, it may not always be possible to determine the sex of the baby using ultrasound. There are various factors that could prevent this, including the position of your baby during the scan, the equipment used and the expertise of the sonographer. If your baby has his or her legs covering his genitals during your appointment, you may have to wait until the birth to find out the sex after all.

Ultrasound is not a foolproof way to determine the sex of your baby, and unfortunately inaccuracies are sometimes reported. The sonographer will usually state that they can’t be completely sure of your baby’s sex. There are stories of shocked mums, surrounded by pink onesies and tutus, being told, “It’s a boy!” in the delivery suite.

Choosing not to know
If you decide not to find out the sex of your baby, you should inform the sonographer of this in advance. During scans in late pregnancy, it is sometimes possible for you to see the genitals of the baby, so your sonographer will tell you when to look away.

Should I find out?
Finding out the sex of your baby is a very personal decision, and one that you and your partner will have to make together. You should discuss it in advance, go through the points raised below, and work out how you both feel about it. Once you’ve made a decision, stick with it.

Here are some reasons that people choose to find out the sex:

  • Finding out the sex of your baby means you are able to finalise his or her name before the birth. It also means you’ll have half the work to do, because you won’t be wasting your time coming up with names for the wrong sex.
  • Knowing the sex of your baby means you can plunge head first into the important task of teeny tiny outfit buying. You’ll know whether you should be browsing in the frilly tutu or the baby blue aisle.
  • Some people choose to find out so that they can decorate the nursery accordingly before the birth.

However, there are also some convincing arguments for not finding out the sex:

  • Not knowing the sex of the baby will help you to avoid the gender stereotyping of ‘pink for girls’ and ‘blue for boys’. There are lots of cute outfits designed to be unisex, so your baby won’t be underdressed if you choose not to find out.
  • Some women claim that not knowing the sex helped them to work harder during the pushing stage of labour.
  • Some parents choose to avoid finding out by ultrasound because of the inaccuracy of this method. To avoid the small chance of a mix up, some parents decide it’s better not to know at all.
  • There are so few good surprises in life – why not choose this to be one of them?

Will you find out the sex of your baby? How did you reach a decision?

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

Fiona PeacockFinding Out the Sex of Your Baby

Comments 62

  1. Pingback: Boy or Girl? Fun Gender Prediction - Health & Parenting

  2. Pingback: Choosing a Baby Name - Health & Parenting

  3. Mgbrit

    It’s just after midnight, I’m 17 weeks and 3 days will be finding out the sex later this morning as our family Christmas present! So excited and nervous.

    Was too impatient to wait for the anomaly scan on 11th Jan!

    We each have a 17 year old daughter from previous relationships (we both didn’t find out with them) and a 6 year old son together (we found out at 20 weeks with him) so another boy would be nice to balance our family but we’re not too fussed what it is as long as they’re healthy! My son says he’ll cry if it’s a girl lol
    Just over 9 hours to go- eek!

  4. shelby

    Hello I’m now 17 weeks 3 days. With my first child we found out the sex and it was so exciting. Last year we had an unfortunate miscarriage but with this pregnancy its somewhat different than my first but some what the same. My son was born at 33 weeks premature and it was quite the adventure. Everyone including my fiance thinks I’m having a girl this tine around but I haven’t the slightest clue. I wanted to find out but my fiance said he doesn’t and after thinking about it I think it would be so exciting to find out on delivery day and shop after baby’s born. Especially because last year i was expecting a niece and instead got a nephew! Lol pink everything, everyone went out and bought some blue stuff for the poor guy to wear! Lol. But anywaysHopefully this time around isn’t as crazy as last time! But still has the excitement of boy or girl 🙂

  5. Sara

    I agree with some of the people above – you forgot the most important reason. Forget about names and picking clothes and the nursery colors. 40 weeks can feel like a long time and it’s nice to have that one piece of information as you wait to meet your baby. For some of us it also helps us bond with the baby and at a time when the pregnancy can still feel somewhat surreal adds another detail about your growing baby. I actually don’t love the color preferences that knowing has imposed on us but I’m delighted to know regardless!

  6. Keeley

    m 17 weeks 3 days today with my second child, I’ve very sadly lost 2 pregnancies before this so finding out the sex at 16+1 made it feel more real and made me less anxious. it’s also good for my daughter, to help her get used to the idea of having a baby brother 💙

  7. Kayla

    I’m 17 weeks & 5 days, my family wanted me to have a gender reveal party in which I’d have to wait an extra month after my ultrasound to know and I just recently told them that I would prefer just to find out at the ultrasound, so in a week and five days I’ll know what gender my baby is 🙂 I still plan to buy mostly unisex clothing but as this is my first child, I just want it to feel more real and tangible knowing the gender before birth.

  8. Daphane

    I am 30 years old and 17 weeks 4 days pregnant with my very 1st Coco Puff..Since its my 1st it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl but I do want to find out the sex of my angel and so does my husband this will be his 4th child and my 1st 🙂 so happy and scared

  9. Shavon

    I am 37 yrs old, 33 wks and 4 days pregers with my 3rd child. This is my 2nd marriage and my husband’s first child. With the 2 pregnancies from my 1st marriage we elected to find out the sex. They are both girls. Ive always wanted a son. Therefore this time around I decided I didnt want to find out the sex.

    However, i gave my blessing for my husband to find out if he promised to keep the info to himself. Im not for certain if he indeed knows, but I truly think he does and has kept his word not to tell me or anyone.

    The way I see it, (1) Im due in December so delivery will feel even more like the best Christmas morning ever!!! Also, finding out at delivery will reduce the chances of any sadness i might experience if finding out it is another girl. I promised my husband I would agree to two pregnancies before 40 with hopes of being blessed with a male child, but if the 1st is a boy we will stop at 3 children. This has been a very different and difficult pregnancy compared to when i carried the girls when i was younger. Id really prefer not endure another pregnancy. I feel too old for this!

    Fingers crossed.

  10. M

    I didn’t find out for my first (little girl) and don’t want to find out for this one either! My husband however, is desperate to find out. I don’t see why you need to know, we’ll love it whatever gender it is and we have all the “neutral” clothes from first time round!

  11. Amanda

    Im 17 weeks 5 days today, pregnant with my 4th baby and i have found out the sex with all pregnancies.. i get to excited!!😂😝😍 4 more sleeps till my next ultrasound and im sooo finding out. I have a boy and 2 girls and having the same cravings as i did with my first which was a boy so im thinking im pregnant with a boy again haha who knows till the scan 💓💙💜💓

  12. Tasha

    I’m a first time mom and I’m currently 17 weeks. I went for my second trimester scan yesterday and the Doctor asked if I wanted to know the sex of the baby and I got so excited and only to find out that the umbilical cord was in between the baby’s legs blocking our view. I’m happy though that my baby is growing well as it should. Happy baby_ Happy mommy

  13. My Miracle

    I am 17 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I have a 2cm cyst which makes me do not enjoy pregnancy at times.It my first baby and I try to communicate with him or her.So my partner and I made a bet ,if it is girl I win.Cant wait to win when we found out the sex in 2 weeks

  14. Dani

    Week 17. My baby was shy crossing his or her legs during the ultrasound, the tech said that probably is a girl. I was so frustrated…. And I really want to know

  15. Becks

    I had a surprise with my first and he’s now 1 year old. I’m 17w3d and have decided to find out although my husband didn’t really want to find out, I finally won him over. Had a scan at 14w and very clear to see our second looked like a girl. Can’t wait to reassure in 2 weeks!

  16. Stephanie

    Im 17.5 weeks pregnant with our first, we had a private Gender & 4D scan at 16 weeks and found out we are having a beautiful baby girl 💗🎀 If its available in your area I would highly recommend the 4D it is absolutely amazing you can see the features and little nose! I’m probably the most organised person you’ll meet so I just want to be as prepared as possible, All pink everythiiiiiing 😀💗

  17. Eir

    This is my second pregnancy. We’ve chosen to find out the sex this time, I had a scan at 12w4d, and the sonographer said it was a bit too early, but it might be a girl. We’re having a scan in week 20, then we’ll probably find out for sure 😍
    My firstborn was a stillborn boy, and didn’t know the gender until he was born. This time we want to do things different. We haven’t told anyone about the pregnancy yet, we wait until the second scan, so we know for sure that the baby is healthy

  18. Victoria

    This is my second baby, I have a 6 year old little boy and I didn’t find out which was amazing and so much more exciting with everyone waiting round when I was in labour to find out! I am not 17weeks pregnant and I’m not going to find out again I love a surprise so we can all go crazy buying when our gorgeous baby is here 😍

  19. Lacey

    We will be 17 weeks 6 days when we do our anatomy scan in 4 days!! Surprise baby #6, since we got rid of everything from our youngest we need this time to prepare!! So excited to see what we will have!!

  20. Kristi

    We learned it was a boy with 99% accuracy at 15 weeks with genetic testing. I am 35 and my OB suggested it due to the high increase of genetic disorders with my age.

  21. bubs

    I’m currently 17 weeks pregnant and I found out the second of my baby at my 12 week scan, the sonogram her said she was very confident of his sec and wouldn’t have told me if she were any less however I am definitely looking forward to getting a bit more reassurance at my 20 week scan!! If it turns out I’m having at girl she is going to be wearing at lot of darker clothing for the first month or so lol

  22. Myrna

    I am 17w3d and just had my appointment yesterday for the anatomy scan. Turns out we’re having another girl. This will be my 2nd but my fiancé first.

  23. Millie

    We are going to find out the gender in just over 3 weeks. I can’t wait . It’s our first baby and we want to be as prepared as we possibly can be . I keep looking for outfits now but then can’t decide on them as we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl . I think that finding out will make things even more exciting for us and we are looking forward to it . X

  24. Jenika

    I always imagined keeping it a surprise and not finding out. It’s like God’s surprise to us! But I also always imagined being married and being homeowners and being prepared to TRY for babies. This is a big surprise for us already and we want to try to be as prepared as possible. Plus we’re way too excited to wait to find out!! 😆😍👶🏽💙💕 We find out in 12 days!! It’s all I can think about! I can hardly wait!!!

  25. Lara

    I don’t want to find out. My husband said he does. But that was for practical reasons more than genuine curiosity. But he won’t be able to not say anything so we won’t find out! It’s nice to have it a surprise I think. Especially with the first!

  26. El

    im 17week with my second child, I’ve very sadly lost 3 pregnancies before this so finding out the sex made it feel more real and made me less anxious, it’s also good for my daughter, to help her get used to the idea of having a baby brother 😁

  27. Jennifer

    My husband and I opted for genetic testing (blood test) at 12 weeks and we found out we are having a boy! This is our first child and we are just happy that he’s healthy!

  28. Mikki

    We had a private scan yesterday (17w2) because hubby didn’t want to wait until
    20w scan. We’re having a little girl! It feels so much more real now!! I’m so excited. And because we have the nhs 20w scan in 3 weeks if they were wrong we will get a second option but she definitely looked like a girl 😀

  29. Allison

    Currently 17 weeks pregnant with twins (my second pregnancy) and Husband and I are opting to find out the genders this time around. We decided not to find out with our first baby, hoping it would be a big, wonderful surprise. But after a horrendously long labour, I was too tired and traumatised to be excited when my husband told me it was a boy (I desperately wanted a boy!). So this time we’ll celebrate beforehand just in case labour and delivery goes awry again.

  30. Miss

    I am not a fan of surprises when it comes to most things and wanted to know. I found out the gender (99%)at week 13 after during the downs test and was confirmed today. Couldn’t be happier as this is the first one and as the doctors say,it’s kind of a miracle baby.

  31. Erica

    I decided not to know the sex of my baby . I wana keep it all a surprise hehe cant wait till my little peanut is here hehe

  32. Devinae

    I’m currently 17w3d and me abd my husband chose not to find out. This will be our first child and we want to make the delivery day very special by keeping the gender a surprise. We’ve already found tones of unisex clothing abd nursery is completely planned out as well. Everything is working out for us.

  33. Colette Parfett

    We did a test called the harmony test which tests for any downs as well as x and Y chromosome.
    We found out we having a little girl at 12 weeks.

  34. Stevie Llewellyn-Nash

    I’m 17wks+2 and my first pregnancy, me and my partner will be finding out the sex. I’m certain I’m having a girl but we’ll see 🙂

  35. Laura

    im pregnant with my third child and as the other two cant wait to find out if I’m having a girl or boy. My husband and I want to know the sex to we can decide with a name to call the baby instead of just calling “it”.

  36. Cankara

    Here in the netherlands you can find out the gender at 13 weeks :). We made an apointment at 13 weeks and 3 days. Its our first child and we are having a boy! We did not want to wait at the 20 weeks echo. Im 17 weeks and 3 days pregnant today.

  37. Charlotte B

    Me and my partner were too impatient to know so we went for a private scan at 16w and found out we are expecting a girl (due in Sept).
    This is a great option in the UK if you can’t wait for your 20w NHS scan!!

  38. Janina

    We live in China, where by law they usually cannot tell you the baby’s gender (to avoid peope “getting rid” of unwanted girls, given they can only have one child), but luckily as foreigners in a private clinic we can find out. All my collegues are even jelous about it… I mostly want to know to be able and give my baby a name and call it him or her, rather than speaking of “it” all the time as if it was a thing (or from a Stephen King novel…). Will have my next appointment this week (at 17+5) and I keep my fingers crossed that we can find out by then. 🙂

  39. Dominique

    My husband will be finding out the gender but I will not be. We will see how well he Can hold his tongue around me I guess but we have already started calling it a him and occasionally a her. We are both hoping for a boy! In bc Canada they do not tell you the gender if you and your partner do not agree.. so to make it possible to find out without finding out we will be asking the person doing the us to write down on a piece of paper the gender and slip it into an envelope. We will .. to their knowledge. . Be doing a baby shower reveal where the bakery gets the envelope and the cake batter would be dyed pink or blue depending.. so we cut into the cake to find out. Not happening but I used to work and a bakery and we did these kind of reveals all the time so I know it should work. We won’t be having any other documentation stating the gender though in case our midwife slips or I see the paper. And asking the us photos don’t reveal anything either… if possible.

  40. Jahneale

    I’m 9 weeks along with twins & although right now it looks like they’re fraternal I still can’t wait until I can find out the sex. Really hoping for a boy & a girl! 🙂

  41. kylee kline

    Im due in just a week and we found out at our 14 week ultrasound what we were having. I know its very rare to find out so soon but we did! I was skeptical because it was so early but she was right and she did show us. Its a girl!!! I wanted to wait till the birth but we already have one of each and i have kept everything from both and wanted to know what i could get rid of.

  42. Lula

    We always knew we wanted to find out the gender, it’s our first child and he is a boy! Plus we are both Spanish and there EVERYONE finds out the gender as a matter of course. I have found that finding out his gender has increased our bonding with our baby, it makes it so real and definite and he suddenly became more tangible, more of a little human being. I couldn’t wait to stop calling it it, and start calling it him or her. Not sure how to explain it but upon finding out I have deifnately felt differently towards my growing bump and bub. I couldn’t wait to find out and don’t know how people who don’t do it! The anticipation would kill me! But each to there own 🙂

  43. Brittany

    I couldn’t wait til the 20 week scan so I also had a blood test done. This is my first child so I think knowing earlier will help me plan better. I found out at 11 weeks I’m having a boy

  44. Daniela

    I had a very strong feeling of expecting a girl, so curiosity made me want to know. As I’m a vet I would have seen it anyway. Did up to 300 scans a day on dairy cows for 1,5 years… 😉
    And yes, my feeling was correct. now it’s only five or six weeks until I can hold her. She’ll get a blue and green nursery, because the animal print was too cute not to buy it just because of her gender.

  45. Claire Hooson

    I’m currently only 8 weeks pregnant but I’m already excited to find out what the sex of the baby is! How do you find out the sex by blood tests? Do you just arrange it with you’re midwife? X

  46. Holly

    We found out the end of August through a blood test that it was a girl. Yesterday I had my ultrasound and I asked the sonographer to tell us what she saw and she confirmed that it’s a girl. Even though the blood test was 97% (or so) accurate, it was still good to hear it from two separate tests!

  47. shalini

    I so wanna know my baby’s gender… But due to the sad situation in India where female foeticide exists Knowing the gender is banned

  48. Nanette

    Im only 9 weeks pregnant, but my hubby n I cant wait to find out the baby sex, we act and talk like we’re having a girl! Cant wait to be sure!!!! Maybe wt ultrasound or blood test

  49. Bridget S.

    Using a blood test (99.9% accurate), we found out at about 12 weeks that we are having a girl! This is out first child, and we are so excited. Our little angel is due March 2015! 😀

  50. Marcela

    When my husband and I got married, we brought together two of each, for a total of 4. Together this is our fifth baby and we want the surprise. It’s killing everyone else (like gramdma) but they can wait for the surprise too, lol. This pregnancy has gone by so quickly so we know that in just a few more months, we will meet the new member of our family.

  51. Gill

    We wanted to know as so much stuff is white or beige if it’s not blue or pink. Just as well cos our little boy did a “wahoo” legs wide open flash unexpectedly on a scan so there would have been no chance to look away if we didn’t want to know!

  52. Dimitira

    We decided at the beginning of the pregnancy NOT to find out, when it came time for our 20week scan, the subject got brought up again and for the entire week prior we were discussing whether we should or not. Unfortunately on the day we still hadn’t decide, I left the decision up to my partner and we told the soneographer we would tell her when we’d decided. At the end she cleaned me up and turned the machine off and sent us off without letting us even suggest whether or not we wanted to know! So now for better or worse we are waiting til the birth.. I was a bit disappointed on the day, I was getting excited to know, but now at almost 24 weeks, I think, well we’ve come this far so may as well go til the end 🙂

  53. Crystal

    I never found out with my first 2 (both boys) but I plan to find out this time it’s already driving me crazy wondering!

  54. kirti

    I would like to know the gender there is no harm in it.. In india it’s bannned coz of female foeticide .. agrrhh
    rest is totally on parents

  55. Melinda

    I my self just found out on the 27 of September . We actually did a blood test and they are 99.9% accurate ! And we are having a boy! I couldn’t wait to find out we already have a girl so it’s nice to know for sure! And I love shopping and it’s good to have to time to buy for the baby before he comes ! I myself couldn’t not know the gender!

  56. Lee stewart

    Me and my girlfriend are keeping the gender a surprise, this is our first child and we’ll be more than happy with whatever we are bless with. Due 22nd of december, so even the day could be a surprise

  57. Makayla

    I couldn’t wait to find out @ 19 1/2 weeks we’re having a girl, it’s now easier for with picking names and shopping.

  58. Abbey

    Had a surprise with the first (a boy) found out today that we are having a girl! Was the right decision for us to have found out this time. Do whatever feels right for you, for this pregnancy 🙂

  59. Tatianna

    I definitely am impatient and love knowing what to shop for.. So the gender was not left for a suprise.. Found out today in addition to my 3 yr old boy is a beautiful SISTER for him to enjoy <3 the mystery and suprise for us is who she will look like…. 🙂

  60. Fmom

    No, we are “Team Green”. We decided before we even got pregnant that when we did we wouldn’t have the gender revealed before the birth. I understand some people want to know and thats fine for them. But i guess i personally have always felt that the gender is one of the great mysteries everyone waits upon the birth to be revealed. I mean, if you already know everything there is to know, you have no surprises left to look forward to. Kind of like knowing what a gift is before unwrapping it. Wheres the fun in that? Anyway, for us, we are hoping to have both a boy and a girl before we are done with having children- so whichever God bleeses us with first is great!

  61. Becca J

    As much as I don’t want to find out the sex of my baby, I can be a control freak so I’ll probably find out before hand