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Discovering the Gender of a Baby

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pregnant woman having an ultrasound

Finding out the gender of a baby is one of the most exciting days of any pregnancy -- that is, if you want to know. Although there are quite a few different old wives' tales regarding how to find the sex of a baby, including dangling your wedding ring over your belly and the shape of your baby bump, but these are just myths!

The best way to find out the sex of a baby is to have a diagnostic ultrasound around 20 weeks pregnant. These ultrasounds can't always reveal the gender of a baby, but in many cases, they can.

How Can an Ultrasound Find the Sex of a Baby?

The ultrasound around 20 weeks is typically used to check on the baby's growth and development. The ultrasound technician is actually looking at your baby's organs, including the heart, stomach and intestines, but they're also looking for general growth patterns. However, if the baby is in the proper position, the ultrasound technician may be able to determine the gender of a baby.

However, it's important to remember that the technician may not be able to tell if you're having a boy or a girl. If you don't want to know the gender of a baby, you need to tell them before the ultrasound begins so they don't accidentally reveal the news. Some couples may not agree on whether they should find out the gender of a baby so if you don't agree, come to a decision together before you start the ultrasound.

If you need to have an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, you can also find the sex of a baby. However these procedures aren't used specifically to find out if you're having a boy or a girl. Most moms won't have either of these procedures since they're typically reserved for moms with a risk of specific genetic anomalies.

Should You Find the Sex of a Baby?

Finding out the gender of a baby is a personal decision. Some parents want to know because they feel like knowing whether the baby is a boy or a girl will help them bond with the child. They may want to decorate the baby's nursery with gender specific decorations and buy special clothing.

Others may have a strong gender preference and want to get used to the idea of having a baby of the less preferred gender. There's nothing wrong with having a gender preference so if you feel a twinge of regret when you find out your baby's gender, don't let yourself feel guilty! Once your baby is born, you won't be able to imagine anyone else in your arms.

Still other parents want to have the baby's gender be a complete surprise. If you think this adds to the excitement and anticipation of the pregnancy, make sure to tell your ultrasound technician that you don't want to know.

What if You Can't Find out The Gender of a Baby

In some cases, the doctor's office or ultrasound technician will be unable to tell you whether you're having a boy or a girl. Some offices may have concerns that parents may terminate a pregnancy if the baby is the wrong gender, which can lead to non-disclosure policies. Other offices may not reveal the gender because an ultrasound technician can sometimes read the scan incorrectly.

If you're unable to find out the gender of a baby in your regular diagnostic ultrasound, you may be able to pay out of pocket for a gender reveal ultrasound. It's important to remember that these can sometimes be wrong, especially if the baby is in a certain position.

 
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