Photo by Melissa Young
Finding out the gender of your baby is a big decision. My husband and I made the decision to find out, and the anticipation was killing me. I finally convinced my doctor to take a peak before my anatomy scan because I couldn’t wait any longer; coworkers who were not as far along as I was already knew! I crossed my fingers, said a prayer, and of course my baby would not cooperate. For twenty minutes. I tried everything: jumping jacks, high knees, and threatened to do a handstand at eighteen weeks pregnant! If you’re like me and are anxious to find out if you’re welcoming a boy or girl into your family, you might be wondering when can you tell the gender of a baby on ultrasound? This article has that, and other interesting ways to find out your little one’s gender.
The first option is to believe in Old Wives’ Tales. There are several Old Wives Tales’ that claim they indicate a baby’s gender. A popular one is based on mom’s body: a baby girl will steal mom’s beauty by inflicting skin blemishes, whereas a boy will cause mom to have cold and dry hands and feet. Another common Old Wives’ Tale is that the rate of a baby’s heartbeat can reveal the gender. If the baby’s heartbeat is below 140 beats per minute, break out the blue! If it is over that, bring on the lace and bows. A fun Old Wives’ Tale states that cravings can also be a gender indicator. Sweet cravings indicate you’re carrying a girl whereas salt cravings indicate a boy. These are all subject to chance, and are not scientifically proven. However, it is a fun example to use in the early stages of your pregnancy!
There are tests that can be done that inadvertently reveal a baby’s sex. If a doctor sees an abnormality in blood work, they will order a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) between 10-12 weeks. This test analyzes chromosomes for abnormalities and genetic disorders. CVS is often given to women who have an at risk pregnancy, and inevitably reveal a baby’s gender through the chromosomes that are present. Although it is great to find out a baby’s gender so early, this test is not done “cosmetically”, but rather for the safety of your baby. This invasive test carries a small risk of miscarriage, and is therefore not done unless a doctor deems it as necessary. Another test is Amniocentesis, which checks for disorders if the parents are genetically predisposed to them. This test is usually given between weeks 15-18, and again runs a small risk of miscarriage and discomfort for mom and baby. Just as with the CVS, amniocentesis is only done if a doctor thinks that the baby is at risk and requires closer examination.
Ultimately, parents can usually find out their baby’s gender between 18-20 weeks. At 20 weeks, women undergo an anatomy scan in which every part of your baby is measured. Remember my story about my botched reveal attempt at 18 weeks? Well, my doctor didn’t have all day to seek out my child’s goods! During the anatomy scan, the doctor goes inch by inch over your child’s body, measuring everything from their head to their toes. Because this is such a lengthy scan, the chances of seeing the gender are extremely high. However, there is a chance that the baby STILL will not cooperate!
If your baby does not cooperate during the anatomy scan, and you are still desperate to know your baby’s gender, you could opt for an additional sonogram. A recent surge of 3D and 4D sonogram businesses have created a whole new way for parents to view their baby more often. If you do not have luck finding out the gender of your baby at your regular appointment, you could go to a sonographer. Pricing depends on what level of services you desire, ranging from a few photos to multiple images and video! If you are determined to know your baby’s gender despite their lack of cooperation, this would be a great option to try. I had a friend who elected to do this while visiting family to make the gender reveal more personal! It was really special for her to share the news in person with her family in person since they lived so far apart.
I ended up finding out my baby’s gender at our anatomy scan at 21 weeks. I had to suffer through three additional weeks of wondering! It was worth the wait to find out our little one would be a healthy baby boy. Good luck, and may your baby be in the right position at the right time!