Pregnancy is nine long months of wondering.
What will your baby look like?
Will your baby inherit your nose?
What personality will your baby have?
Will your baby be a boy or a girl?
There are just so many unanswered questions, and nine months can feel like a long time to wait to find out.
Luckily for you, you’ll be able to find out the sex of your baby before the birth, if you want to.
When Can You Find Out The Sex Of Your Baby?
Bear in mind that sex and gender are two different things: you may be able to find out the sex of your baby, but your baby’s gender is not something you can see or decide.
Your baby’s sex was determined at the moment of conception, but you’ll have to wait a little longer before you can find out what you’re having (spoiler alert: it’s a baby). Your baby’s genitals will begin to form as early as week six, but won’t look much different until the end of week eleven.
If you’re having a boy, his penis will start to develop. If you’re having a girl, her clitoris and labia majora will begin to develop. These won’t yet be visible on a scan, so don’t expect to find out your baby’s sex at your first trimester scan.
How To Find Out The Sex Of Your Baby
There are a number of possible ways to discover your baby’s sex before the birth. Most parents-to-be find out at the major development scan at around 18-21 weeks, though it is possible for some people to find out sooner.
Amniocentesis is an invasive test used to determine if there are any possible genetic abnormalities. This test is usually only offered to women whose babies are considered high risk for genetic problems and isn’t without risk.
If you are offered this test, you may be able to find out the sex of your baby earlier. Amniocentesis is performed sometime between weeks 16 and 22 and carries a risk of miscarriage due to the needle puncturing the amniotic sac. Find out more here.
Another chromosome test, known as Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is sometimes offered, though it is not as common as amniocentesis. This test is only offered if the baby is considered to have a high risk of genetic disorders. If you have this test, you should be able to find out the sex of your baby. CVS is usually carried out between weeks 11 and 14.
Finding Out Using A Scan
Most women have an anomaly scan sometime between weeks 18 and 21. This is a detailed scan to look for certain potential abnormalities in your baby’s development. The sonographer will spend time focusing on each of your baby’s organs to check they are developing okay.
During this time, you’ll be able to have a good look at your baby. It can be pretty exciting seeing your baby on the screen, and this is often pinpointed by partners as one of the moments that made the pregnancy seem suddenly ‘very real’.
At this stage in your pregnancy, the sonographer may be able to identify your baby’s sex. If you want to know the sex, you should inform the sonographer when you go for the scan. However, it’s important to remember that the focus of this scan is your baby’s development, the potential sex reveal is just the icing on the cake (if you want to know).
Some of the difficulties during the scan
To find out the sex of your baby, your baby needs to be in the right position. If your baby is in a difficult position, the genitals may be hidden from view. In this case, the sonographer will be unable to tell you what sex your baby is. It can be sometimes for difficult for the sonographer to get a good look at the genitals. Try not to be disappointed if you are unable to find out the sex, it won’t be a secret forever. You’ll soon be holding that beautiful baby in your arms and will know with absolute certainty what sex your baby is.
Even if the baby is in a good position, the sonographer won’t be able to say with absolute certainty what sex your baby is, though they may be pretty confident. It is worth bearing in mind that there have been a number of instances where sonographers have incorrectly identified the baby’s sex. So even if you find out the sex at the scan, there’s always a possibility you’ll get a surprise at the birth.
If you are able to find out your baby’s sex, check out BellyBelly’s collection of fun gender reveal ideas.
Also, if gender disappointment is or may be a problem, don’t forget to check out BellyBelly’s Tips For Coping With Gender Disappointment.