It’s called Team Green when parents decide to keep the sex of their baby a secret. There are so many Team Blue and Team Pinks (total stereotypes, I know) around but you don’t hear about as many Team Greens. So many parents now decide to find out the sex of their baby before it’s born – it’s way more common than not – but, just because many do, doesn’t mean that you should. As with everything, there are pros and cons. Let’s chat about some of these pros and cons, talk about how you can find out the gender (old wives’ tales, gender predictor tests and scientific methods), and I’ll tell you my story (what I did and why).
Yay, You’re Pregnant – Pros and Cons to Finding Out Your Baby’s Sex
Your baby’s gender is like an unopened gift… just sitting there… taunting you. You could open it. You could wait. But waiting is so very, very, very, VERY hard.
But maybe you’ve been envisioning that moment, the birth, after you’ve been pushing, pushing, and you give one final grunt (or scream), push the baby out, and the medical professional holds your baby up and announces, “It’s a _____ (insert boy or girl)!!!” That’s a pretty special moment to wait for.
Some of the pros of finding out your baby’s sex are obvious, some less so. Obviously, if you find out that you’re having a baby girl, you can paint her nursery pink and buy everything baby in pink, sparkles, rainbows and unicorns. If you are having a baby shower, it makes it a lot easier for your friends to purchase items if they know the baby’s sex. (Sadly there are not a lot of neutral, Team Green, options in newborn clothing and newborn supplies.)
If you know your baby’s gender before it’s born, you can already have its name chosen. Or, if you don’t have a name picked out, you can at least only be arguing with your partner over names for one gender!
A less obvious, pro, is that you can reconcile with the baby’s gender (if needed) before the birth. While gender disappointment is a taboo topic, it’s a very important one. Your baby is, obviously, already developing male or female parts. If you have strong hopes for one gender over the other (and it’s perfectly alright if you do – I’m very passionate about this and will be writing another post that’s solely about gender disappointment), you might want – you might NEED – the time to process, grieve the baby you won’t be having and become excited about the baby you will be having.
Unfortunately, though, that last pro can also be a con. While some mothers need time to process the reality of the sex of the newborn they are having, others will spend the time from after they find out their baby’s gender until the birth of the baby dwelling on the loss and sadness. For some mothers, even if they are strongly hoping for a specific gender of the baby, finding out after the birth, when the new mother hormones are raging powerfully and she sees her beautiful newborn baby, she instantly falls in love. The sadness, if it even still exists, is overshadowed by the adoration she has for her newborn baby.
Another con can be if the very worst thing happens and something happens to the pregnancy. Knowing the sex of the baby can mean that you are even more connected. You’ve thought more specifically about what the baby will look like, named the baby. This is extremely sad, heartbreakingly horrible, and unlikely to happen. We won’t dwell on the topic but I wanted to mention it as a con.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way. You’ll choose which way is best for you. Regardless of whether you choose to find out at 9 weeks pregnant, 20 weeks pregnant or another random time during your pregnancy, you will be finding out at 40 weeks… give or take.
Gender Predictor Tests
Whether or not you plan to find out your baby’s sex scientifically, it’s always fun to play around with old wives’ tales and gender predictor tests.
Here are some hilarious old wives’ tales:
- Craving sweets – it’s a girl! Craving salty – it’s a boy!
- If you can eat a lot of garlic but not smell like garlic afterwards – it’s a girl!
- If your nose swells during pregnancy – it’s a girl!
- If baby has a heart rate over 140 bpm – it’s a girl!
- If you have morning sickness during your first trimester – it’s a girl!
- If you have a beautiful pregnant glow – it’s a boy!
- Breaking out? – it’s a girl! (she’s stealing your looks)
- Boobs are huge – it’s a boy!
- High blood pressure before you conceived – it’s a boy!
- If your partner is gaining sympathy weight – it’s a girl!
- If you’re super b*tchy – it’s a girl!
- If you’re carrying low – it’s a boy!
The ring test is a fun one. Tie your wedding ring (or a ring you wear) on a string and dangle it over your pregnant belly. If it swings in a circular motion – it’s a girl! If it swings side to side – it’s a boy!
Chinese gender predictor charts are also fun to look up. A calculator pregnancy week app will help give you the (approximate) day of conception. For the baby gender predictor you’ll need to input the mother’s date of birth and the month of the baby’s conception. Then it will convert your info to your lunar age and lunar month of conception and tell you what sex you’re having! Easy peasy!
Scientific Methods to Finding Out Baby’s Sex
Congrats, you have no morning sickness, your boobs are huge, you stink like garlic so badly no vampire on this earth will seek you out, and you’re loving on Lays Salt and Vinegar chips, you’re having a boy! But before you go and blow your budget on blue Handsome Like Daddy onesies. You might want more scientific confirmation.
In Canada, gender selection is not legal so you have to wait until you either get bloodwork or an ultrasound to determine the baby’s sex.
At the time of writing this post, parents can pay for bloodwork that will give them chromosomal and genetic information as well as reveal the sex of the baby. The Harmony prenatal screen test (noninvasive prenatal testing, NIPT) has been proven to be safe and accurate. It is a bloodtest done on the mother (not the baby) and it can be performed around 10 weeks into the pregnancy. Results come back between 7-10 business days. The Harmony test is approximate $500 and is not covered by health care.
Again, in Canada, you can also find out the gender (if you wish) during your anatomy ultrasound which takes place when you are around 20 weeks pregnant. If you don’t wish to find out your baby’s sex during this ultrasound, make sure that you are clear with the technician from the beginning of the ultrasound. You also might want to double check that nothing will be given away in your ultrasound photo. I had an ultrasound at 37 weeks for my first boy. We were not finding out the gender. I asked the technician during the ultrasound if they could make sure the photo didn’t give anything away. Their comment was “oh well we won’t give you this one – the gender is obvious”. I assumed that could only mean that there was an obvious penis in the picture. I think girls are a little harder to recognize.
An amniocentesis can also give you the information to determine the sex of the baby. This amniotic fluid test (AFT) is where amniotic fluid is drawn directly from the amniotic sac. This test is often used to confirm diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities. It is not without risk and wouldn’t be used to test gender – it would only be if you were having the test for other reasons.
My Comment on Finding Out the Gender of Your Baby During Pregnancy
I have 3 kids. And, if you know my story, you’ll know that (spoiler alert) they are all boys.
Here is what we chose to do regarding finding out the baby’s sex…
I peed on the stick and it was positive – yay!! The first thing I did was head to the due date calculator to find out when this little peanut was due. The second thing was to start analyzing to see whether the baby was going to be a boy or a girl. To be honest, I was hoping for a little girl. But I also knew that we were hoping to have 2 kids and I thought it would be cool for my daughter if she had a protective, cool big brother. So, while I wanted a girl, it wasn’t the be all end all for me.
We decided that we’d stay Team Green and keep the gender a secret. I’d seen enough birth in movies and on TV that I was picturing the moment where the midwife (I had a midwife), lifts up the baby like Rafiki holding up Simba over Pride Rock, and announces “it’s a _____!!” Then I would take my precious newborn to my chest and snuggle.
How naive I was… so birth has a way of laughing in your face. Birth plans can (and often do) go awry. My labour stalled, my baby went into distress, and I was rushed to an emergency c-section. When they took my baby out, one of his lungs didn’t fully inflate so he was rushed to the NICU. Laying open (literally) on the table, blocked from the scene behind a curtain, I had no idea what was going on. There was scurrying and urgency in the room. No one was communicating with me – I didn’t know what was happening. I had been in active labour all night so was running on pure adrenaline. I knew that baby was okay but gone to the NICU and I asked aloud to no one in particular “what was it?”. In passing, someone, I don’t know who, heard me and said “oh, it’s a boy” and dashed off. Not quite the Hollywood moment.
As I mentioned earlier, I had a small inkling that my baby would be a boy from the hint that I was given at my 37 weeks ultrasound. But, as my family was telling me, they could have meant that the lack of a penis in the image was a dead giveaway. Regardless, we were ready for either gender. We had a gray and orange nursery with green, yellow and cream sleepers, onesies, blankets, towels and all other things baby.
Names were tough. We quickly agreed on our baby girl’s name but we were NOT on the same page for our boy name.
To change things up we decided to find out kid 2’s gender. We decided to find out for a couple of reasons: 1) I was hoping to have a baby girl, if this baby wasn’t a girl, I wanted some time to process; and 2) my husband and I had such a hard time with baby boy names that, if it wasn’t going to be necessary to decide on one, I didn’t want the hundreds of hours of “discussions”.
This time we found out at our 20 weeks ultrasound. I’m not going to lie, I cried a bit at the ultrasound clinic. I was, obviously, happy that he was 100% healthy.
He was happily kicking away in my belly, my husband and I actually did find a name fairly easily this time, and we’d refer to him by his name while he was in my belly.
It was a very different experience “knowing” the baby at the birth versus being surprised. In my opinion, neither was better than the other, just different.
For kid 3 we decided to do a NIPT test. It took longer for me to get pregnant and I had stopped taking prenatals and folic acid; I also wasn’t eating the healthiest. And, of course, I was a few years older than the last time.
I had my NIPT bloodwork taken around 9 weeks and my midwives had the results around 10 business days later. Baby was 100% healthy – yay!
I actually wasn’t sure that I wanted to find out the gender of this baby. We had already produced 2 boys, it seemed likely to me that we were going to have a 3rd. I mean, that’s what we make, right? I think I was telling myself that to convince myself it would be okay if it was another boy.
My husband wanted to know the gender, though, and we still had the naming issue if we were to have another baby boy. So, we found out. I was heartbroken over the loss of the baby girl that I knew now that I would never have. The entire time I was heartbroken I knew that this little boy would be just as cool and amazing as his big brothers. That helped me get to the other side and become excited.
I’m really glad that we did find out the gender this time around. I know that I needed the time to process and, while I didn’t get my movie/tv birth moment, I got to be amazed at my little newborn bundle and enjoy the snuggles… and, of course, I had been able to plan out his newborn photography session so I was ready to go when we got home!
Plus naming a third boy was AWFUL and almost IMPOSSIBLE. We are done having kids – we can’t choose yet another boy name.
Essentially, whether you are Team Finding Out or Team Green, having a baby is pretty incredible. There are so many exciting and unpredictable moments that, if you find out the sex, you will still be surprised by so many parts of the experience.
One aspect about finding out the gender that I really enjoyed was planning our gender reveals. We never did a party/group reveal, but we did (of course) take some pictures and announce that way! How apropos!