How to determine the sex of a baby during pregnancy

By Contributor

Some people want to be surprised by their new baby's gender. They wait until the baby is born to learn of its sex. Others prefer to know ahead of time in order to better plan for the baby's arrival. If you wish to know the gender of your unborn baby, you can find out while you are pregnant. While some medical procedures that determine a baby's gender can be performed as early as the ninth week of pregnancy, ultrasounds during the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy are most commonly used to determine a baby's sex.

Be aware that no test for determining a baby's gender during pregnancy is 100 per cent accurate. While medical tests are up to 99 per cent accurate, there is always the possibility for error.

Get an ultrasound at your OBGYN's office. Ultrasounds are the most common procedure used to determine an unborn baby's gender. A small device is passed over your abdomen during the procedure. Sound waves pass through your uterus, allowing you to see a picture of the foetus. The technician then analyses the picture to determine if a penis or vagina is present. While you'll likely have several ultrasounds throughout your pregnancy, the one that determines the baby's gender is generally done between the 18th and 24th week of pregnancy.

Be aware that an amniocentesis can determine the sex of your baby. Amniocenteses are generally performed between the 9th and 18th week of pregnancy on women who are over age 35. While it can determine the baby's gender, an amniocentesis is a genetic test that is generally used to detect birth defects or hereditary diseases. If you must have an amniocentesis as part of genetic testing, you can ask that the baby's sex be analysed as well.

Talk to your doctor about chorionic villus sampling, more commonly known as CVS. While the test can be used between the 8th and 11th week of pregnancy to determine a baby's gender, it is generally only used on pregnant women who have high risks of chromosomal abnormalities. During the test, sample cell projections are taken from the placenta to be analysed. CVS carries greater risks than amniocentesis so talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of both procedures.

Observe how you are carrying the pregnancy. Though it has no medical basis, it's commonly believed that pregnant women who carry high are having girls. Likewise, it's believed that pregnant women who carry low are having boys.


Some women experience discomfort during ultrasounds due to the pressure applied by the hand-held ultrasound device.