When Can You Find Out the Sex of the Baby?

Mama's Boy or Daddy's Girl?: Learning Your Baby's Gender

Wondering whether you’re having an Alex or an Alexa? Sure, you could tie your wedding ring onto a piece of string, swing it back and forth over your belly, and guess the gender based on the way the ring moves ... or you could just ask your doctor to tell you. While old wives’ tales are a fun way to guess whether you’re having a boy or a girl, they’re not scientifically accurate. Only your doctor or an ultrasound professional can tell you which gender to expect on delivery day.

How Can I Find Out the Sex?

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How Early Can You Tell the Gender of a Baby?

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It’s possible to learn your baby’s gender through either blood testing or ultrasound.

Your doctor may recommend you undergo noninvasive prenatal screening to test your blood for a number of genetic abnormalities in your growing baby. This testing is generally recommended for women who are older or who have an Rh negative blood type or other risk factors. It can determine whether your baby has Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders. The test can also reveal your baby’s sex, but the test generally isn’t recommended just for this purpose.

Another way to determine gender is through ultrasound. The technician who scans your belly should be able to see if your baby has a penis and make the determination whether it’s a boy or girl.

When Can I Find Out the Sex?

If your doctor recommends you undergo blood testing, he’ll probably wait until you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant to do so. That’s the earliest point at which this test is useful.

Because most women don’t need this type of blood testing, it’s probably more likely that you’ll learn your baby’s gender from an ultrasound. Because the technician has to make a visual ID of your baby’s sex, you can’t find out gender until your baby’s external sex organs start developing. Your 14th week is the earliest point at which an ultrasound can reveal gender. However, it’s hard to make an accurate determination at that point. Your doctor will probably order an ultrasound when you’re around 18 to 20 weeks pregnant. Whether it’s a 2D, 3D or 4D ultrasound, that 18- or 20-week scan is when you’ll likely be able to find out the gender.

You don’t need your doctor’s order to get an ultrasound, though. Many privately owned businesses offer ultrasound services for parents who want to see high-quality images of their babies. You’ll probably have to pay out of pocket, but these businesses usually provide a cozier and more welcoming atmosphere than you might find in a doctor’s office. They can’t provide a medical diagnosis, but they should be able to tell you the sex.

There are two major caveats for using ultrasound to learn your baby’s sex. One, it’s only possible if your baby is positioned in such a way that the technician can see his or her external sex organs. If your baby is feeling shy or uncooperative, you’ll have to try again another day. Two, this method isn’t foolproof, especially with 2D ultrasound. It’s possible that the girl you were told you were having will turn out to be a boy, or vice versa. Blurry images are hard to read accurately. It’s rare, but surprises do happen.

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