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.