After you find out you’re pregnant, one of the first questions you might ask yourself (or the internet) is “how soon can I know the gender of my baby?” Sure, there are old myths you can test out and gut feelings you can follow, but when do you find out the gender officially?
Whether you want to choose a color for the baby room or start shortlisting names, let’s look at the earliest points you can determine your baby’s gender (or their sex, to be precise).
One thing to note before we begin: our language and understanding about sex and gender is evolving. It can be helpful to note that, although some families choose to find out the baby’s sex, it doesn’t mean that will be their gender as they grow up.
Sex can be seen as a biological fact but, socially, many families and individuals believe that a child may identify differently in the future. Sex or “gender reveals” don’t necessarily mean anything about a baby’s personality or future preferences.
Can you find out the gender at 12 weeks?
But how accurate is an ultrasound at 12 weeks for determining gender?
Honestly, it’s often not that reliable.
Even early blood tests won’t usually give you a definite answer. It’s a challenge to be so patient, but your sonographer has a much better chance of being able to tell your baby’s sex at the 20 week mid-pregnancy scan when the, ahem, “evidence” has developed more fully.
How do you find out your baby’s sex?
There are a couple of different methods the professionals can use to tell if you’re carrying a boy or a girl:
This is how most parents will find out their baby’s sex. Your baby’s sex organs start to form at 7 weeks but, since the little one is still only about the size of an apple at 14 weeks, it’s really hard to tell what’s going on from outside your womb.
Between 18 and 20 weeks, it becomes much easier to see your baby’s genitals on an ultrasound. Yet, they might decide to cross their legs or go to sleep during your appointment. Because routine scans are mostly to determine that your baby is healthy, your doctor might not be able to spend too much time “poking around” to find out the sex.
Don’t forget, you can also book a separate appointment for a “gender ultrasound” if you don’t find out the first time.
This is a test on your amniotic fluid, which is normally performed between 15 and 20 weeks. Because there are risks involved, it’s not a routine procedure and is usually only done if there’s a concern about genetic conditions. However, because they analyze chromosomes, amnio results can also show your baby’s gender.
Chorionic villus sampling:
Also known as CVS, this is a procedure where part of the placenta is tested for genetic disorders. It’s usually done at about 10 weeks. However, as with amnio, this is not a routine test and does carry some risks.
Cell-free DNA testing:
Cell-free DNA testing is a blood test that’s done to screen for chromosomal conditions. It’s also possible to tell the baby’s gender from this test because doctors can see if the male Y chromosome is present or not.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF):
During the IVF process, it’s possible to determine the gender of the embryos before they’re implanted, so you might find out right at the beginning.
What about the old myths?
If you’re tired of waiting for your next appointment, there are some classic prediction methods you can try out. Accurate results not guaranteed.
- Boys have a heart rate above 140bpm.
- Boys make you extra hungry.
- Girls make your pregnancy nausea worse.
- Carrying your bump high means it’s a girl. Low, it’s a boy.
- If your pregnancy cravings are for sugar and spice, it’s a girl. Apparently, future baby boys want chips and fries and all things salty.
Remember, these are far from proven.
Of course, some parents enjoy the anticipation. The thought of finding out your baby’s gender when you hold them for the first time is a pretty special thought for some mamas.
If you choose to wait to find out, just make sure you tell your healthcare practitioners before each of your ultrasounds so that they don’t accidentally spoil the surprise.