Determinining the Sex of a Child During Pregnancy

How Far Into Pregnancy Can You Tell the Gender?

Chorionic Villus Sampling

One of the earliest ways to determine the gender of the baby is through chorionic villus sampling. This is done between the 10th and 13th weeks of pregnancy, or near the end of the third month. Because of the risks involved -- the procedure can trigger miscarriage or cause minor birth defects -- this method is not solely used to determine gender but rather to identify potential chromosomal problems. During the procedure, a tiny sample of the the chorionic villi is taken from the placenta. The sample is analyzed for genetic information, including the baby's gender.

Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is performed between weeks 15 and 20. In this procedure, a sample of the amniotic fluid, which contains fetal cells, is taken and analyzed. Amniocentesis is considered safer than chorionic villus sampling, but it does pose a small risk to the baby, so the procedure is usually only performed for purposes of genetic evaluation and chromosome analysis. In most cases, only women who have a high risk of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality undergo the procedure.

Ultrasound

Prenatal ultrasounds use sound waves to create an image of the baby. They are considered safe and are usually done around the 20th week of pregnancy. Birth defects and abnormalities can easily be seen on ultrasounds, as well as organs that identify the baby's gender. Usually, the gender can be seen by the 20th week. In general, the earlier the ultrasound is performed, the harder it is to accurately determine the baby's gender.

Blood Test

The MaterniT21 PLUS test was developed as a way to check for chromosomal abnormalities without using invasive measures. At the time of publication, it is only offered to expectant women in high-risk categories, including women over the age of 35, women who have a history of chromosomal abnormalities and those who have had abnormal ultrasounds or other screenings. The simple blood test can be performed as early as the 10th week of pregnancy. Along with information about Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities, the test call also tell with great accuracy whether the baby is a girl or a boy.

How to determine the sex of a baby during pregnancy

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.

Tip

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