As soon as the second line materialises on a home pregnancy test, expectant parents start wondering what gender their unborn child will be. Many would like to know the answer sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, parents often have to wait until their Level II ultrasound, which provides a detailed scan of a baby's anatomy and is scheduled between 18 and 22 weeks. However, if you want to find out your unborn baby's gender even earlier, a few different tests may reveal your baby's gender in advance of the anatomy scan.
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Request chorionic villus sampling, a prenatal test used to identify genetic and chromosomal defects in a baby. Doctors usually perform this test between 10 and 12 weeks. Because the procedure removes tissue from the placenta, it reveals your baby's genetic make-up--including the baby's gender. According to Dr. Joseph Woo, CVS is 99 per cent effective at determining a baby's gender.
Schedule your nuchal translucency scan, an ultrasound that allows your doctor to assess your baby's risk of chromosomal and congenital problems between 12 and 14 weeks. During this scan, the ultrasound technician can check the angle of your baby's genital "nub." If the angle of the baby's nub is greater than 30 degrees, it indicates the baby is a boy, and if the angle is less than 30 degrees, it indicates a girl. A 1999 study in "Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology" found that the nub theory had an accuracy of 98.7 per cent at 12 weeks and 100 per cent at 13 weeks.
Have an elective ultrasound for gender determination as early as 16 weeks. By this stage, if an ultrasound tech can visualise either the penis and scrotum of a boy or three lines, which indicate the labia in a girl, the scan may be as high as 95 to 100 per cent accurate according to Dr. Joseph Woo. To find out how accurate your particular scan is, ask your technician, since only he knows how good a view he has of your baby's private parts.
Tips and warnings
- Doctors may schedule NT scans as early as 11 weeks. However, if you want an accurate gender guess, it is better to wait until you reach 12 or 13 weeks. The 1999 "Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology" study found that gender determination at 11 weeks was only 70.3 per cent effective, with 56 per cent of boy babies incorrectly identified as girls.
- CVS is an invasive form of prenatal testing that may cause complications, such as cramping or spotting, and carries a slight risk of miscarriage--1 out of every 200 procedures according to the March of Dimes. For this reason, it is best not to undergo CVS solely for the sake of determining your baby's gender.
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- What to Expect; Level 2 Ultrasound; Heidi Murkoff
- March of Dimes; Chorionic Villus Sampling; April 2007
- Obstetric Ultrasound; Special FAQ on the Gender of the Fetus; Joseph Woo
- "Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology"; First-Trimester Determination of Fetal Gender By Ultrasound; Z. Efrat, et al.; May 1999
- Baby2see: Fetal Development -- External and Internal Genital Organs
- BabyCenter; Nuchal Translucency Screening; April 2007