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Pregnancy health centre

Is it a boy or a girl?

Finding out the gender of your baby by birth, scan or cake!
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

When you're pregnant, the first question people may ask is: boy or girl? Finding out the gender of your child is a personal decision. Can you wait until the baby's born or will curiosity get the better of you?

The fact the technology is available means many people can't resist and do find out the sex of their child before it's born. It's estimated about 60% of people find out beforehand.

Royal College of Midwives spokesperson Pat Gould says: "Anecdotally, in my experience, the vast majority of people want to know the gender, but they don't always want to tell anyone else."

Others like the element of surprise and prefer to wait until the delivery room.

When you find out?

Most parents-to-be can find out if they are having a boy or a girl at the second scan which is around 20 weeks. If you want to know, ask the sonographer who carries out the scan so he or she is aware of the need to check.

The scan can't give you a 100% correct answer. The baby might be lying in such a way that finding out whether it's a boy or a girl is impossible to tell.

Choosing to find out

Finding out if it's a boy or a girl makes the baby seems more real to many parents-to-be.

You don't have to spend hours deciding on a boy's name if you know you're having a girl! You can decorate a room and pick more suitable clothes.

Antenatal teacher Kelly Mitchell says: "This if often the first topic of conversation at my classes!

"Parents who choose to find out the gender of their unborn baby often state that it's for preparation purposes, like buying clothes and nursery furnishings.

"Another key reason given is an emotional reason. Parents may feel more able to bond with this little person if they can know their gender and maybe even choose a name ahead of their birth."

Michelle from Buckinghamshire says: "We found out both times because we wanted to bond, to think of the baby as a him or a her, to decide on a very short list of names and to decorate the nursery accordingly. Although WE found out we didn't tell share the information with anyone!"

Jonty from London says: "We both wanted to know. There was no question of not finding out. We were convinced it was a girl and had a name and everything. When the lady doing the scan told us it was a boy, neither of us believed her. Jacob is now three-and-a-half!"

Victoria from Cheshire says: "I was determined not to find out the sex of our baby. However, midway though the 20 week scan, I looked into the eyes of the scanning technician and just knew that she knew. That I couldn't cope with and immediately asked (following a swift consultation with my bemused but supportive husband!) what the sex was.

"I will always remember my husband's look of joy when told it was a boy. Had he been told it was a girl, I know it would have been the same reaction, but just being told this key detail about your child is quite breathtaking."

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