The question over whether to find out your baby’s sex can be a divisive one. If one of you wants to find out and the other does not, it can be hard to find common ground because, let’s face it, who could keep a secret like that from their partner for months and months?
There are so many opportunities to accidentally spill the beans most people would struggle not to let something slip. From shopping for baby clothes and a buggy, to choosing how to decorate the nursery – plus pretty much every conversation you have about what’s to come – just saying ‘he’ or ‘she’ once without thinking could give the whole game away!
If you’re wondering whether to find out your baby’s sex you are going to need to reach an agreement with your other half. Thankfully, if you haven’t yet had your 20-week anomaly scan – which is when most people find out – the chances are you’ve got some time to think about it.
So if one of you needs convincing that it’s good to know in advance read on to see why finding out the baby’s sex was right for these mums…
1. It helps you prepare for what’s to come
‘I always thought I wouldn’t want to know,’ says mum-of-two Ilona O’Donnell, who gave birth at Kingston Hospital. ‘But the reality after I fell pregnant was that I NEEDED to. I suffered from anxiety in pregnancy and struggled to imagine what life would be like with a baby. I needed to visualise a little boy or girl because I couldn’t imagine having an actual baby at the end of the pregnancy.
‘Knowing the sex helped it all feel more real.’
‘I found out as soon as I could with my first two children because I needed to be able to picture something,’ adds mum-of-three Isolde O’Kane. ‘I couldn’t have imagined not knowing the sex.’
And if you’re utterly convinced you’re having a boy (whether due to instinct, the shape of your bump or a family history of boys), having that ruled out at the scan can help you get your head round the idea of having a girl (or vice versa) and what to expect.
2. You’re totally impatient!
Being pregnant is definitely a good excuse to get whatever you want, so if you want to find out your baby’s sex, now is the time to put your foot down if one of you simply cannot bear to wait.
‘My husband and I had the opposite view on finding out the baby’s sex,’ says mum-of-one Andisheh Thomson, from Twickenham. ‘He didn’t want to, but I’m the type that skips to the end of novels as I’m too impatient to wait.
‘There was no chance of me not finding what my baby’s sex was, so I overruled my husband!’
And mum-of-two Denny Thomas, from Isleworth, adds: ‘You can find out, so why wouldn’t you? I’m a control freak and was desperate to know, because I needed to plan!’
Most people find out the sex at the 20-week anomaly scan, unless they opt to have a private scan at around 16 weeks. But if even that sounds too far away, it’s possible to pay for a simple blood test that looks for the presence of male DNA in the mother’s blood. The test is found to be 98% accurate and can be carried out as early as 10 weeks!
3. You can pick out your baby’s name in advance
When I was pregnant I wanted to meet my baby before committing to a name, but are plenty of people who prefer to have everything planned out. Choosing a name can really help you to bond with your unborn baby and knowing the sex makes this possible.
‘As soon as we were told our baby was going to be a boy, we started calling him by the name we’d chosen,’ says mum-of-one Viola Bogdal. ‘When he was born it was still a great surprise to meet our little boy. We’d been talking to him in my belly and using his name for so long, but it wasn’t until that amazing moment that we finally saw him!’
Mum-of-one Melissa Adu, from Feltham, adds: ‘I had been making a list of baby names early in the pregnancy so I was eager to get picking. I chose her name before she was due, so I was also given lots of personalised gifts with her name on at the baby shower.’
4. You can go shopping for lovely things
If you’re someone who wants your baby to be dressed in pink or blue, or have a gender specific décor in mind for the nursery, finding out in advance gives you an opportunity to get organised.
‘I was delighted when I found out I was having a girl,’ says Melissa. ‘Being a first-time mum everything was so exciting and I wanted to be able to pick out pretty outfits and choose a pushchair for my baby.’
And Denny adds: ‘Once I knew I was having a girl I wanted to buy some things. Not because I wanted to identify her as a girl, but because I like things that are pink, sparkly and cute.
‘Boys’ things are cute too, but it’s more about teddy bears, while with girls it’s all butterflies and fairies.’
It’s also handy for friends and family when picking out gifts. ‘If someone has never had kids, they don’t always know what to buy,’ explains Denny. ‘If they know it’s a boy or a girl it steers them in the right direction on what clothes to choose.’
5. If you find out your baby’s sex it can help an older sibling understand what’s coming
Even if you were one of the minority who decide not to find out your baby’s sex first time round, it can be hard helping your toddler or pre-schooler to understand they are going to have a sibling when you get pregnant again.
Explaining that a little brother or sister is on the way can really help them grasp the concept when they look at mummy’s growing belly!
‘I flat out refused to find out with my first pregnancy,’ says mum-of-two Lucinda Christian-Lim, from Twickenham. ‘I enjoyed the speculation and didn’t mind either way, but we decided to find out with my second to make it easier on my son.
‘I can honestly say it was still a wonderful surprise at 20 weeks and I thoroughly enjoyed knowing second time round.’
A word for warning when finding out your baby’s sex
If you’ve made your decision and are planning to find out your baby’s sex, please be warned – there is always a chance that the sonographer gets it wrong!
There are no guarantees until your baby is born, as it’s always possible that your baby is feeling shy when you go for your scan. A wrong angle, a slight turn of the hips, and what’s hiding between their legs can easily get missed. Of course, when the sonographer announces the sex it’s usually with a caveat – that it’s not 100% accurate – but in the excitement of being told it’s a boy or a girl, not all parents pay attention to that crucial disclaimer.
Of course, if that beautiful girl you’re expecting does turn out to be a boy on delivery day you’re going to be so blown away by love for that gorgeous bundle of cuteness, all you’ll care about if that your baby is happy and healthy!
On the other hand, even if you aren’t planning on finding out, don’t forget that your baby might have other ideas!
‘When we went for the scan with baby number two the very first image was butt first, legs akimbo,’ laughs Ilona. ‘There was no doubt we were having a boy.’
And having extra scans means more opportunities to accidentally find out.
‘We hadn’t planned to find out with our second child,’ says mum-of-two Hannah MacGregor. ‘But as I was poorly I had lots of measuring scans and at 29 weeks I could tell straight away it was going to be a boy! I was on my own for that scan, but knew I couldn’t keep it a surprise from my hubby!’
Now it’s over to you– will you be choosing to find out your baby’s sex or not?
There are so many decisions to make during pregnancy, including what to buy for your baby, where to give birth, making a birth plan and which pushchair is right for you, but choosing whether to find out your baby’s sex is one of the fun ones.
I’d love to hear what you decide to do, so please comment below and tell us what influenced your decision.
And if you’re still wondering whether you should wait until the birth, you can read the top 5 reasons NOT to find out the sex of your baby here.