Deciding whether or not to find out the sex of your baby is one of the first decisions that you’ll make as a parent. Some people like the surprise, while others want to know so that they can prepare ahead of time. While there are many ways to guess the sex of your baby, there are only a few ways to tell for certain.
At certain points throughout your pregnancy, your doctor may be able to tell you whether you are carrying a boy or a girl. The most common way to do this is during the ultrasound, when the doctor is visibly checking your baby’s health. Another way to tell baby’s gender is through Chorionic Villus Sampling, which your doctor may do if there is a chance of genetic abnormalities. Amniocentesis–studying a bit of amniotic fluid–can also reveal baby’s sex.
Old Wives’ Tales
Throughout the years, people have also relied on old wives’ to guess baby’s sex. For example, legend has it that if you crave sweet foods, you’re carrying a girl, and if you crave salty ones, you’re having a boy. Heart rate can be another indicator, with girls having faster heart rates–over 140 beats per minute–than boys. Those who have morning sickness are supposedly more likely to be carrying a girl, and you’re also more likely to have a girl if you have sprouted some pimples. Note that none of these methods of telling the sex of your baby are accurate. Only use them for fun.
For most parents, determining baby’s sex is something that they simply want to know to be able to purchase gender-specific clothing or pick out the right name. However, knowing the baby’s sex can also help you plan for X-linked genetic disorders if you know that the mother is a carrier. X-linked genetic disorders are usually recessive genes, which means that the woman could be carrying the disease and pass it on if she is carrying a son. Examples of X-linked genetic disorders are hemophelia and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Using ultrasound to determine the sex of your baby requires a clear view of the baby’s genitals. Occasionally, your baby is not cooperating, and you cannot see this area, so the doctor cannot tell you the sex. Also, there is a small margin of error with any of the methods, and you may still get a surprise in the delivery room.
Chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis have a slight risk of harm to the baby. CVS has a 4 percent miscarriage rate, and amniocentesis has a 1 percent miscarriage rate. Both procedures can also cause other complications with pregnancy, such as low amniotic fluid. Some parents feel that the risks to the baby outweigh the benefits of the testing that results from these procedures.
- baby image by Fabio Barni from Fotolia.com