Am I having a boy or girl?
A quick scan and bob's your uncle - you can know your baby's sex. So will you find out, or not?
Technology allows you to uncover the sex of your baby before the little bundle arrives in the world, but do you really want to know or would you prefer to keep the baby's sex a mystery?
Jessica Rowe made the news in July this year when she revealed that despite the usual opportunities to find out the sex of her unborn baby, due in mid-January 2007, the little one's sex would remain a mystery. Shortly after the announcement Jessica's husband and Channel Nine 60 Minutes reporter Peter Overton said, "It's one of nature's last great secrets so we won't find out the sex of the child till that wonderful day, whenever that comes".
Jennifer Garner famously blurted out the sex of her baby on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She was describing being on a telethon and seeing her "huge" pregnant self on a monitor: "I sat there ... I just felt bigger and bigger like she ..." Then the star put her hands over her mouth as the audience let out big "oo-oooh". It was clear Ben and Jen were having a little girl.
So, we know some celebs do and some don't, but what do you plan to do?
Parents-to-be cite many reasons for 'finding the sex' or not - some want to know because they can plan the practicalities of their baby's arrival from deciding on the colour to paint the nursery to co-ordinating clothes and putting the child's name down at that exclusive same-sex school. Other mums want to leave their baby's sex shrouded in obscurity leaving that wonderful gift of discovery to the moment of the birth.
In Australia there are no ethical impediments to finding out the sex of your baby. In the UK it's a different matter - litigious parents-to-be who may sue if the sex is wrong and folk finding out the sex of their baby for religious reasons have led medical staff to exercise caution when asked about revealing the sex of an unborn child at a scan appointment. The theory goes that boys are preferred in some cultures and an early 'diagnosis' has been known to allow some women to terminate their pregnancies on the grounds of sex.
Dr Christine Tippett, Vice President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says there are no reasons to stay mum about the sex of an unborn babe in this country. "It's a completely personal thing, whether you find out or not and is down the individual choice of the parents", she says.
How do you find the sex?
So is it a simple matter of asking the sonographer at your appointment to divulge the sex? Many ultrasound operators say they might not be able to give you a definite answer. Babies move around in the womb and sometimes are uncooperative with a sex 'diagnosis' as they have their legs crossed or are turned the wrong to way to get an accurate picture. If the sonographer is happy to have a stab at investigating the sex, they will often give you an idea of how certain they are. P&B reader and mum of two Natasha Cornell says, "We were told at our second ultrasound that we were having a girl. When asked how accurate it was and the sonographer said, 'I'm 100% sure'. We told all our family and at the baby shower we were given everything for a little girl. The nursery was all set up in pinks and purples. However, we got a rather large surprise when our dear son was born!"
Other methods to find the sex of your baby often come as the upside of other, sometimes scary, tests you may have to undertake during pregnancy. Amniocentesis, where fluid is taken from the womb by a needle between 18 to 20 weeks, then analysed, gives an accurate reading of the baby's sex although health professionals will usually only do this test to discern the sex of a child unless there is a serious risk of the baby having a genetic disorder that's passed on to either male or female children.
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is another test that finds your baby's sex and it involves taking cells from the placenta usually to unearth genetic abnormalities. It's performed earlier than the amniocentesis at around 10 to 12 weeks - both tests carry risks that need to be discussed with your doctor, midwife or health care professionals.
Low-tech ways to find the sex
The needle or wedding ring test is popular - put the ring or needle on a loop of thread and hang it over your bump - if it swings in a line, it's a boy, if it swings in a circle, it's a girl. Here are some other fun predictors (but we warn you, they may not be particularly accurate):
You will have a boy if:
- Baby's heart rate is under 140 beats per minute
- You are carrying low and in front
- Your urine is bright yellow
- Your right breast is bigger than your left
- You don't experience any morning sickness in the first trimester
- You eat much more than usual
You will have a girl if:
- Baby's heart rate is faster than 140 beats per minute
- You are carrying high and all over
- Your urine is clear
- Your left breast is bigger than your right
- You sleep on your right side