To Find Out or Wait… That is the Question!

There are many decisions to make regarding your labor and birth, and a never-ending list of decisions to make regarding parenting. It can be quite daunting! But one of the more “fun” decisions to make during pregnancy is whether or not to find out the sex of your baby before he/she is born! Whether you choose to find out during pregnancy or wait until you meet your little one face to face for the first time, it is truly be a special surprise, whatever you choose!

First let’s talk about the most common ways you can find out your baby’s sex prenatally, including a “newer” method:

The “Traditional” 20-Week Anatomy Scan

How it works: It is common practice in today’s American obstetrics to have a full anatomy scan (ultrasound) of your baby when you are around 18-20 weeks into pregnancy. This ultrasound will check all of the major organs and functions of your baby’s growing body including the heart, brain, kidneys, bladder and fluid levels, to name a few. The primary reason for this scan is not to determine the baby’s sex, however you almost always are able to find out at this scan if you want to.

Even though routine ultrasounds started to become widely used in America in the 1970’s (read about the fascinating history of the fetal ultrasound here), it didn’t truly become the norm to find out the sex of your baby via ultrasound until the late 80’s/early 90s. Since then and until recently, this has been the first opportunity for most couples to learn the sex of their babies during pregnancy.

Maternal Blood Test at 10 Weeks

How it works: This is a test done on the mother’s blood that detects the presence of a Y-chromosome (male), and if no Y-chromosome is detected, then it can be assumed your baby is female. This test is non-invasive and can be done as early as 10 weeks gestation. Just in the past 5 years has this option been commercially available at doctors offices and for the past couple years has gained awareness and popularity.

Just for Fun: Old Wives Tales Gender Prediction Tests

Anything from chinese calendars to the pencil test, it can be fun to make a good guess on the sex of your baby with these Old Wives Tales that your grandmother probably swears by.

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

It seems that “waiting” to find out at the birth is actually making a comeback after all these years of having the technology to find out sooner. We asked parents who have done it BOTH ways (waiting and finding out early) to comment on their experience, and many of them actually said they liked waiting better. Here are some quotes from fellow moms:

“I didn’t find out with my first but did with the last three. think the delivery room was a little more fun with my first, not knowing the gender. It was really fun for my husband to announce “it’s a girl!” when he went into the waiting room to tell family. On the other hand, I am a super sentimental person and wished that I would have had more girly outfits and blankets when she was a newborn especially for photo reasons.”
– Natalie

“We found out with the first, kept it a surprise with the 2nd. It was beautiful to find out at birth. And beautiful when we found out beforehand. We did find out with our 3rd since we already had two boys at home but we kept it a secret from everyone else.”
– Christi

“I found out with the first two and was surprised with the third! It was completely and wonderfully amazing!! For me it was an incredible element of labor I didn’t experience the first two times – the surprise factor gave me a total rush of adrenaline when it was time to push.”
– Lacey

“Did not find out on #1, but found out for #2, both were fun!!”
– Jennifer

“I found out with my first two and waited with this last baby. Loved waiting. Even my husband (who wanted to find out the whole time) said in the delivery room that it made it more emotional for him. If we ever have another, I’ll wait again.”
– Lindsey

So what did you choose to do for your babies? Let us know in the comments below!

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