Pregnancy is an exciting time. And for many couples expecting one of the most exciting unknowns’ of pregnancy is the impending curiosity that comes with the anticipation of the baby’s sex. In the first few weeks and months expectant parents and families begin dreaming of their child, and start wondering whether they will be bringing home a little boy or girl. Should they paint the baby’s room pink or blue? What will they name the child? Is the adorable ruffled floral infant outfit at the mall worth the buy, or should they be looking for sports themed onesies in blue and green?
Thanks to technology that developed only as far back as the 1980’s today’s parents don’t have to wait. Most OBGYN’s schedule a routine ultrasound around the 17th to 20th week of pregnancy to check fetal development as part of the routine prenatal care. And this ultrasound, in around 98% of pregnancies can also tell the mother whether she will be having a boy or a girl.
Still, many parents wonder if they should find out the sex of their baby. After all, years ago, there was little to no technology definitive enough to predict gender and women were left to implementing methods that today are considered old wives tales. (Holding needles over the belly, deciphering how the baby was carried, looking under the tongue, visiting mid-wives) Additionally, there are many expectant parents who believe that keeping the sex a surprise until the end is part of the sheer exhilaration of pregnancy.
While others, are more worried about planning and having everything ready for their baby’s arrival, and cannot wait to find out the gender on delivery day. Knowing whether they are having a boy or a girl helps them figure out how to decorate the nursery, what kind of clothes to buy, what specific items to put on their baby registry, what to name the baby, as well as how to help other siblings and family members prepare for the newest member of the family. For people who cannot wait, knowing the sex of their child helps them feel like they have some sort of control over the future and makes them feel secure that they will be 100% prepared the day baby comes from the hospital.
According to a Gallup survey, around 60% of all expectant parents WANT to find out the sex of their unborn baby as soon as possible. For couples that already have at least one child, the numbers of those that want to know the sex jump up another 8%, probably because there is more planning involved. Plus, for parents who already have children, knowing whether to ditch the pink and frilly clothes or keep them for a younger sibling can have a direct financial affect on the family as well. After all, why buy new things when you can simply recycle things that were barely used by your last child?
For those that don’t want to find out the sex of the baby, the reasons seem to differ. Many just want to keep the excitement and mystery of pregnancy alive until the end. Some people quoted that they feel not knowing the sex until a child is born is the way that nature intended it to be. Other parents believe that keeping the sex a secret is an easy way to keep people from pushing preconceived gender roles down their throats during the pregnancy. For instance, if you don’t know what you are having no one will say, ‘This boy will take after his dad and be an All-American football player!’
There are also a small percentage of people who feel that ultrasound and amniocentesis are unnecessary procedures in a natural pregnancy, and therefore do not want to expose their unborn baby to what some see as invasive or dangerous testing. And of course, the vast majority of folks who don’t want to know simply want to be surprised on that one special day that will change their lives forever.
The good news is there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to finding out the sex of your baby before he or she is born. It is a strictly personal decision. While there may be some benefits in accord to the planning phase of preparing for baby the bottom line is that most parents just want a healthy baby; whether it is a male or female. In some cases, one parent may want to know while the other does not and ultrasound techs have become adept at keeping these intricacies a secret. And many couples, although they may find out themselves choose to keep the sex of the baby a secret from other family members.
When it comes to pros and cons the following applies. If you don’t know, you are assured a huge surprise in the delivery room. You will also not be allowed in the long term to develop too many preconceptions about your child and your role in their life (nor will others). And, not knowing is better than finding out and being one of the few who realize that their ultrasound tech was having a bad day the day she revealed the sex of your baby. Knowing the sex, well it helps you get prepared in many ways for the birth and delivery and the immediate after care of your baby. It also gives you a few more choices (and more time) when it comes to decorating the baby’s room, choosing names etc.
What about you? Did you find out the sex of your baby before delivery or did you wait for one, huge big reveal? Any tips for those contemplating the decision.