When (And How) Can You Find Out the Sex of Your Baby?
When a woman gets pregnant she immediately may want to know whether she's having a baby boy or a baby girl. While some pregnant women wait until their due date to find out the baby's sex, more tend to find out the baby's gender well before their little one enters the world. One Harvard Medical School study found that 58% of men and women found out or intended to find out their baby's sex.
If you find yourself in that group, you probably want to know when and how you can know the sex of the baby that you're carrying around for nine months.
At What Point Can You Find Out the Sex of Your Baby?
It's not so much the how but the when that gets pregnant women excited about finding out whether they're having a baby boy or baby girl. If some could find out when they discovered they were pregnant, they would!
An OB-GYN can order a blood test as early as 10 weeks of pregnancy to determine the baby's sex. Another test can be done via ultrasound between 16-18 weeks of pregnancy. Your health care provider can recommend which test to take and at what point.
You may have also heard of at-home gender tests. These can also be done around the 10-week mark if you really can't wait to find out whether you're having a boy or girl and want to get it done yourself.
How Can You Find Out the Sex of Your Baby?
As we mentioned above, you can find out the sex of your baby by getting a blood test or ultrasound from your healthcare provider or by trying an at-home test.
Dr. Anar Yukhayev, OB-GYN at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Northwell Health tells Family Education he uses two methods to determine a baby's sex for pregnant women who want to know before their due date.
"One is with a blood test in the office looking at cell-free fetal DNA with a NIPT test and that I do around 10 weeks of pregnancy. This is 99.9% accurate," says Yukhayev.
The NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) can also screen for trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and other chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders, besides finding out the sex of your baby.
Sometimes an ultrasound technician cannot detect the baby's sex with an ultrasound because the baby might either be too small or might not be in the best position to view the baby's genitals. There may also be something obstructing the view. Whatever the case, if the results aren't there to plan your gender reveal party just yet, the sonographer may ask you to go back for another ultrasound scan a bit later for a clearer sex determination.
While many pregnant women go to their OB-GYN when they want to know the sex of their baby, others turn to at-home tests to see what that form of gender prediction has to say. These work by taking a small blood sample using a lancet to collect blood that is put in the tube. The tube is sent out to a lab for analysis to see if you're having a boy or girl. Within a week, sometimes sooner, you receive the results of the sex of your baby.
But, Yukhayev warns pregnant women about using this test if they want the most accurate gender test.
"The at-home gender reveal kits are tricky because they claim to use the same technology as the NIPT to look for gender, but they are run in unaccredited labs," says Yukhayev.
He says there is only a small amount of blood drawn which can likely lead to inconclusive results.
"The study that they cite as showing 99.9% accuracy is an industry-sponsored trial and in all of their patients, blood was drawn as opposed to a simple finger prick which is actually advertised with their product," Yukhayev points out.
Yukhayev says the blood test and ultrasound scan are the most accurate ways to find out if you're having a baby boy or baby girl.
If you are considering an at-home test, talk to your healthcare provider to get their opinion about whether you should use it to determine your baby's sex.
Are There Other Ways of Finding Out the Gender of Your Baby?
Some pregnant women look for old wives' tales or other non-scientific ways of determining the chromosome makeup of their baby.
There is something called the baking soda test. This has no medical standing and is just something that some women do for fun. The baking soda baby sex test is an at-home method that involves combining a pregnant woman’s urine with baking soda to see if it fizzes. Whether or not the urine fizzes is supposed to determine whether the baby is male or female.
If the urine fizzes, then a woman is preparing for a baby boy. According to the old wives' tale, a baby girl is on the way if the urine does not fizzle.
Again, there is no scientific data to back this up. This test is just something that some pregnant women may choose to do for fun to determine if they should be preparing for an XX chromosome baby or XY chromosome combination.
Another old wives' tale that doesn't get any merit in the scientific world, but is fun to do at home or a gender-reveal party is the ring test. You may have heard of this. All you have to do is tie a ring on a string over your belly. If it swings in a circular motion, you could be having a girl. If it swings side to side, you could be having a boy. You can do this fun little test during your first trimester or at any other point during your pregnancy. It may even be fun to do it once you've had one of the more medically accredited tests. See if they match up to determine the sex of your little one.
One other pregnancy tale is to take a look at how you're carrying your baby. If you're carrying high, rumor has it you're having a girl while carrying low could indicate a boy. Again, there is no data to say whether this is or any other old wives' tale is true. These are just some fun ways to try to figure out if you're having a boy or girl.
In the end, we all know the only foolproof way to find out your baby's sex is at birth. But, if you just can't wait and feel like you need to know, you can ask your OB-GYN to do a blood test or an ultrasound scan. These are the most accurate ways to determine the sex of a baby.
While at-home tests can be fun, they may not be the most accurate. Your healthcare provider will let you know what tests are safe for you and at what point of your pregnancy.
Once your doctor tells you if you're expecting a boy or girl, you can start planning and shopping for your little one's arrival. It may seem like a long time until you meet, but it will be here before you know it.