Knowing Your Baby’s Sex
One of the most challenging decisions for many couples during pregnancy is whether or not to find out their baby’s gender. Recent surveys suggest that between 50% and 70% of expectant couples decide to find out the sex of their child before birth. Some of these couples stick to old wives tales and myths about gender, while others pursue more scientific procedures performed by health care professionals. Whatever you and your partner decide, take some time to learn more about the different procedures that can be used to find out your baby’s gender.
Why Find Out Your Baby’s Gender?
Many couple’s relish the idea of waiting to find out the gender of their baby. Of course, this can make pregnancy and the labor and delivery process much more exciting. However, there are also many good reasons to find out the sex of your baby before delivery. Common reasons for finding out baby’s sex include:
- It can allow you to choose a name early on.
- It can make planning nursery decorations easier.
- It allows you to buy gender-specific clothes.
- It can make planning celebrations after birth (such as circumcision) much easier.
- It may increase your bond with baby.
- It allows parents to who may pass on sex-specific genetic defects to find out their baby’s risk for certain disorders.
Clinical Procedures to Find out Gender
If you and your partner decide to find out the sex of your baby, you may decide to pursue certain clinical testing procedures. These procedures can often tell you the sex of your baby with great accuracy.
Ultrasound is usually the most common procedure used to determine a baby’s gender. Throughout pregnancy, it is likely that you’ll receive a few different ultrasounds. Ultrasounds between the 18th and 26th week of pregnancy are usually the most accurate when it comes to determining the sex of a fetus.
During your ultrasound, your health care practitioner will run a hand-held device over your abdomen. This device passes sound waves through your uterus, creating a picture of your fetus. This picture can then be analyzed for sex-specific characteristics, such as a penis or vagina. It is important to remember that ultrasound isn’t 100% accurate, though. The accuracy of ultrasound does depend upon the type of equipment used, the age and position of your baby, and the skill of your health care practitioner.
Amniocentesis is a genetic test typically performed on pregnant women who are at higher risk for certain genetic diseases or birth defects. It can provide information on the genetic status of your baby, and can also determine your baby’s gender. It is usually performed between the 9th and 18th week of pregnancy.
During an amniocentesis, fluid from your uterus is removed using a needle. This fluid (the amniotic fluid) contains vital information about your baby. It can be analyzed to determine your baby’s sex. Results typically take between two and four weeks, however, they are close to 99% accurate. Amniocentesis does carry a risk of miscarriage however: miscarriage occurs in about 1% of all amniocentesis procedures.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
Chorionic villus sampling can also be used to determine the gender of your baby. However, CVS is usually reserved for women who are at high risk of having a baby with a genetic or chromosomal abnormality.It is typically performed in between the 8th and 11th week of pregnancy.
During CVS, samples of the cells from small projections on your placenta (called villi) are removed. These cells are then analyzed for their genetic structure. CVS is also 99% accurate in determining the sex of a fetus. However, CVS is not without its risks. This procedure carries a 4% risk of miscarriage and is also associated with an increased risk for infection, premature labor, and fetal damage.
Other Popular Methods to Determine Gender
If you are not interested in pursuing a clinical procedure to find out your baby’s gender, than you may want to turn to some old wives tales and myths to help you find out if you are having a boy or a girl. There are hundreds of different myths in circulation about gender in pregnancy. Here are just a few of the more popular ones.
You will have a boy if:
- baby’s heart rate is under 140 beats per minute.
- you are carrying low and in front
- your urine is bright yellow
- your right breast is bigger than your left
- you don’t experience any morning sickness in the first trimester
You will have a girl if:
- baby’s heart rate is faster than 140 beats per minute
- you are carrying high and all over
- your urine is clear
- your left breast is bigger than your right
- you sleep on your right side
String and Ring Test:
This "test" can also predict whether you will have a boy or a girl. Tie your wedding band or other ring on to a piece of string. Hold this string so that the ring hangs down in front of your belly. Gently swing the string: if the ring moves in a circular pattern, you are having a boy; if it moves in a straight line, you are having a girl.
Chinese Lunar Calendar:
The Chinese lunar calendar is a calendar that can be used to predict the sex of your baby. This is how it works. The age of the mother when the baby is conceived is selected on a horizontal column, while the month of conception of the child is on a vertical column. The place on the chart where these two meet will say either boy or girl.
The Chinese have used this method to predict their babies sex for centuries. In fact, an old Chinese lunar calendar was found in an ancient Royal Tomb near Peking. Authorities predict that the calendar is about 900 years old and it is on view at the Institute of Science in Peking. In Chinese society, it was so important to know the gender of the baby, parents-to-be often consulted this special calendar even before conception! Some say it is 80% effective, while many agree that it is accurate just 50% of the time.