When you are pregnant, the first question everyone seems to ask you is if you are having a girl or a boy. And it does make sense to know. You only have to pick one name, you can start buying clothes and you can decorate the nursery. Old wives’ tales aside, you can determine the sex of your baby medically.
Most women determine the sex of the baby through an ultrasound. At around 18 to 20 weeks, ultrasound technicians can normally determine the sex of your baby. The ultrasound is not 100 percent reliable. The baby’s position may make it difficult for the ultrasound technician to see the baby’s genitals. If the baby is in the correct position, it is usually easier to determine if the baby is a boy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not recommend that women get an ultrasound solely to determine the baby’s sex. The ultrasound’s purpose is to screen for deformities or abnormalities. People do not know the long-term risks of exposure to ultrasound, as of 2010, so it is best to be prudent, according to the Baby Zone website.
A reliable method to determine the baby’s sex is through an amniocentesis that checks the baby’s chromosomes. The purpose of the amniocentesis is to determine if the baby has any genetic problems. It is usually for women who are 35 or older. Doctors perform the amniocentesis around the 16th week of pregnancy. This test has some risks because the doctor inserts a needle into the uterus. Therefore, women typically do not get an amniocentesis just to determine the sex of the baby.
Another test that can determine the sex of your baby is the chorionic villus sampling, which is a test that looks for problems with a baby’s chromosomes. This test is normally reserved for women who have a high risk of genetic abnormalities. The doctor performs this test at eight to 10 weeks of pregnancy. CVS is riskier to the fetus than an amniocentesis, according to the Baby Zone website. CVS increases the risk of losing the fetus by 1.2 percent over the risk of not having the procedure.
The Wives’ Tales
Some people swear by their tried-and-true method of determining the sex of a baby. Even though no proof exists that these methods work, some people like to consider them anyway. One method is to determine the baby’s heart rate. Girls supposedly have a faster heart rate, but according to the Parents website, that is not true. Some people say they can tell what you are having by how high or low you are carrying your baby. No one can seem to agree about which is which, though. Some say carrying high means a girl, while others say it means a boy. Another myth involves cravings. Craving sweets mean a girl; craving salty or sour mean a boy.
- boy and girl image by Marzanna Syncerz from Fotolia.com