“What am I going to have and how soon can I find out?” This is a question many mothers begin to wonder about as soon as they see their positive at-home pregnancy test. Numerous old wives tales’ exist to help predict a baby’s gender and while these tales’ are fun to play into, advances in medicine have made finding out the sex of your baby a much more accurate and reliable process. Most parents-to-be find out the sex of their baby through a gender reveal ultrasound around 19-20 weeks—but there are several other methods doctors might use to determine it.
First and Foremost: Schedule an Appointment to See Your Doctor
Before discussing the different ways you can find out the sex of your baby, it’s important to remind you when to see your doctor if you think you are pregnant. Upon seeing a positive result on a home pregnancy test, call your OB-GYN soon after to schedule an appointment to confirm your pregnancy. Kick off the miraculous journey toward parenthood with advice and support from your Woman’s Clinic doctor for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Prenatal appointments provide both you and your baby complete support throughout your pregnancy. It is recommended they are done once a month until reaching the 28th week of pregnancy. At this point, the frequency of visits changes to twice a month until the 36th week of pregnancy. After this, weekly visits should be scheduled until your baby arrives. At each of these visits, your doctor will conduct procedural checkups and fetal testing to check your and your baby’s progress, in addition to identifying any issues that require immediate attention. At your first visit, you will receive guidance on prenatal vitamins, a healthy diet, and pregnancy exercise recommendations. Your doctor will be happy to answer any questions you have during your visits.
Methods for Determining Your Baby’s Gender
Around week seven of your pregnancy, your baby’s genitalia will start to become distinct. By week 14, a baby’s gender may be revealed via ultrasound. However, an ultrasound technician might have difficulty distinguishing between a boy or a girl at this point. Doctors generally recommend waiting until weeks 19-20 to have your anatomy scan ultrasound in order to show the correct gender. When you are at your ultrasound, make sure to let your ultrasound technician know that you want your baby’s gender revealed so they can look for certain definite ultrasound signs, such as the presence or absence of a penis.
Be mindful that even at this point in your baby’s development, an ultrasound may not show your baby’s gender with absolute certainty—especially if your baby is in a stance which hides their genitalia or if you are pregnant with twins. In these instances, it may be necessary to have a second ultrasound performed.
Noninvasive Prenatal Testing
Starting at the 9th week of pregnancy, your doctor can order a blood test for noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT). NIPT checks for chromosomal abnormalities, such as Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18, and Down syndrome. During this test, the doctor looks at the placental DNA in your blood to indicate whether there is an increased risk of your child having a genetic disorder. More testing will be required if your NIPT comes up with positive results.
As your baby’s chromosomes are included in the DNA examined by the doctor, the fetal sex can be determined by looking for the male Y chromosome. If absent, your baby will be a girl.
If you decide to do NIPT and end up with a positive result, an amniocentesis (or “amnio”) test will likely be ordered by your doctor to follow up on these results. In this test, amniotic fluid is extracted to check for fetal abnormalities (such as cystic fibrosis or spina bifida). Amnios are generally done between 15-20 weeks of pregnancy, and can determine the sex of your baby with 99% accuracy. That being said, these tests come with potential risks and should not be done for the sole purpose of determining your baby’s gender.
Chorionic Villus Sampling
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is an invasive prenatal test in which your doctor pulls a sample of chorionic villi from the placenta and examines them for chromosomal disorders, such as sickle cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease. Doctors can perform CVS as early as week ten of your pregnancy.
Like amniocentesis, CVS is only done if your prenatal screenings come back positive. This test can determine your baby’s sex, but it also has harmful side effects. Therefore, it should not be done for gender determination alone.
In Vitro Fertilization
If you decide to go through in vitro fertilization (IVF), you can find out the gender of your baby at the beginning of your IVF procedure(s). Additional costs are involved with this screen, but results are produced with absolute certainty.
Gender Prediction Tests
Although you are merely playing a guessing game, you can still have some fun by trying out numerous gender prediction tests. For example, some claim a mother’s cravings during pregnancy can point to the sex with sweets meaning a girl is on the way. Unfortunately, there is no scientific basis behind these claims. If desired, you may purchase a gender prediction blood kit and use it to play the guessing game of your baby’s sex as you await the final reveal through the above-mentioned methods, or if you are old-fashioned at the birth itself
Pregnancy is such a special time in your life, and finding out the gender of your baby can be one of the most exciting parts of the process. Contact The Woman’s Clinic today at (501) 261-0131 to schedule an appointment to see your doctor and learn more about revealing the gender of your baby.