Finding Out The Sex of Your Baby

The Big Day

The big day is coming! Not the day that you get to bring your precious bundle of joy into the world, but the next best thing. The day that you get to see your baby on that little screen for the very first time (or 10th time – each one is special!). You lay there with cold goop on your belly, wondering if the technician will see the “hamburger” or the “hotdog”. You breathe a sigh of relief when the doctor shows you the beating heart.

For a few minutes, the technician pokes and prods you, looking for the perfect spot to see all the baby’s important parts. Your bladder, feels like it will explode every time the technician pushes against you. You see the spine, the kidneys, the feet, the skull, the legs…

And then:

“Would you like to find out the sex of your baby?”

A question so seemingly simple, yet so complex that the very thought of it sends waves of panic. Do you want to know before, or do you want the element of surprise when the baby arrives? You’ve probably been asking yourself these questions for a while that you excitedly tell your technician your whole reasoning behind your decision. And somehow, your technician always agrees that you’ve made the right choice.


Medical Concerns Regarding Ultrasound Technology

The debate around the safety of Ultrasound technology is a growing concern for many expectant mothers. Some in the medical field contend that ultrasounds as they are performed today are perfectly safe, while others state that there are fewer advantages and more disadvantages to having them. The key is to discuss this with your OB, midwife, or anyone else who will be a part of your birthing team. The majority of medical professionals believe that it is safe when used in moderation.


The Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to any choice you make. If you choose to keep the information a secret, you get the element of surprise at the baby’s birth. Most moms I’ve talked to that waited have said that finding out at the very moment of birth, is one of the greatest feelings in the world. You get to pick out 2 sets of names, and spend the rest of your pregnancy wondering which clothes to buy your baby and registering for neutral patterns.

Of course, there’s also something to be said for being fully prepared. No need to exchange gifts after the baby is born, you can do your nursery in something other than green or yellow, and you can tell everyone in the family so they will stop asking you “do you think you’re having a boy or a girl?” You can pick out the name beforehand and you can make the big decisions – To circumcise or not, to pierce their ears before they find them?

Neither decision is a wrong choice. Whatever you decide, do it for you and your spouse and let everyone else keep their own opinions! If you do want to find out but add an element of surprise, there are a few neat tricks that my girlfriends have come up with. Recently, one friend of mine found herself having to go to the big ultrasound, alone. Her husband, who was excited to be having another baby, had to attend training in another state. She didn’t want to find out without him next to her, so she asked the technician to write it down on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. She then took the envelope to the baby store, and picked out a pink outfit and a blue one. She took both to the counter, handed the woman the envelope, and asked her to put the appropriate outfit in a box with the letter so she couldn’t see either one. The employee obliged her and took the items in the back. When she emerged, she had one box and happily sent my friend away. A few nights later, when the couple was finally able to spend some time together at dinner, she pulled out the box. Eager, they excitedly opened the box together, which revealed to them that they were finally having their little girl!

I on the other hand, let curiosity get the best of me during both of my children’s pregnancies. One boy, and one girl, and both were absolute perfection. My husband and I have talked, and if we should ever get pregnant again, we’d like to have the element of surprise. After all, we have two closets full of baby clothes; I think we’ll be covered!

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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