Accuracy and How Early You Can Find Out
In a world where pretty much everything we want can be same-day delivered to us — movies and music, our favorite restaurant foods, prescription medications, and even toilet paper — having to wait until your 20-week ultrasound to find out your baby’s gender feels downright prehistoric.
Well, you’re in luck: Some pretty big strides have been made in the last few years involving the timing and ease with which you can find out your baby’s sex.
We’re not quite at the “submit your order online and receive it within 30 minutes” point. But developments in noninvasive prenatal tests (NIPTs) mean you can be let in on this little secret with a simple blood test — even if gender determination isn’t their main purpose — as early as 10 weeks into your pregnancy.
Interested? Here’s what you need to know.
In the past, the standard of care for those at risk for having a baby with certain genetic conditions or other complications was one of two genetic screenings performed in the first trimester: chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or an amniocentesis.
These provide a pretty accurate picture of your baby’s genetic health, but they’re also invasive and carry a risk of miscarriage.
So, not ideal or worth the risk without other medical reasons… though they do also allow you to find out your baby’s sex before the 20-week ultrasound.
Now expectant parents have another option.
About 10 years ago, researchers developed a much less invasive test called cell-free DNA screening. Because your baby’s DNA actually shows up in your blood, it can be used to screen for things like:
- Down syndrome
- Edwards syndrome
- Patau syndrome
These are three of the most common genetic fetal conditions.
Cell-free DNA screenings, which reveal the likelihood of your baby having one of these genetic conditions, used to be recommended only to those with high-risk pregnancies. But now they’re now being offered more widely.
How does this type of screening work?
Basically, you go to your doctor’s office or local lab and give a sample of your blood. In theory, any genetic abnormalities related to those three chromosomal defects will appear in your baby’s DNA — and, therefore, in your sample.
You only need to be 9 or 10 weeks pregnant, depending on the specific test used. Several companies provide these NIPTs to practitioners.
Some offer slightly more advanced screening, and some differentiate between abnormalities found in baby’s DNA versus your DNA while others don’t. Your doctor can tell you which NIPT is available to you.
Despite what you might think based on how easy-peasy this all is, most NIPTs are actually quite accurate.
You’ll receive results only for a limited number of abnormalities — making it a not-great choice for people with concerns about other rarer conditions.
But the accuracy for these tests is about 90 percent for Down and Edward syndrome, per a 2015 study. They also have a low rate of false positivity.
The only caveat? You can’t take one of these blood tests just to find out your baby’s sex. Although people casually call them gender blood tests, that’s not their primary purpose.
They identify your baby’s gender because some genetic conditions are sex-based. But they’re genetic screening tools first and foremost.
If you do just want an early read on (or, perhaps more accurately, prediction of) your baby’s sex and not a full genetic workup, you might be better off using an at-home gender DNA kit.
These tests work basically the same way as the lab tests do, but they don’t screen your blood for any genetic abnormalities in your baby’s DNA. Instead, they look only for male chromosomes.
For those who aren’t science whizzes, this means that if a Y chromosome is detected, you’ll be told you’re having a boy; if not, a girl. Basic biology for the win!
Currently, only a couple of companies have these gender DNA kits. They all offer a similar service: They mail you a kit with instructions on how to collect a small blood sample and send it back to their lab for analysis.
It’s recommended that you be at least 7 to 8 weeks pregnant for these tests.
Here’s a breakdown of the three major companies offering this service:
- SneakPeek. The standard package, with results in 5 to 7 days, costs $79. For results in 72 hours, you’ll have to pay $149. Accuracy is said to be 99.9 percent at 8 weeks pregnant.
- Peekaboo. For $65, you can receive and send back this kit, expecting results in 72 hours after they receive your sample. They state their accuracy rate is 99.5 percent.
- eGenderTest. If you’re at least 9 weeks pregnant, you can take this test for $169. The accuracy rate is alleged to be 98 percent; results take 3 business days to turn around once they receive your sample.
For the most part, these companies claim their tests are just as effective in correctly identifying gender as the NIPT tests performed at a doctor’s office.
However, there aren’t any independently published studies confirming this claim.
Plus, there’s more room for error here than with a laboratory test: The sample could be contaminated at your house or during the mailing process, and you can’t know for sure what the lab conditions are at each individual company offering the service.
For example, in theory, if your husband, son, or other male relative handles your sample, the test could pick up a Y chromosome even if you’re pregnant with a girl.
Assuming you didn’t do any kind of sex selection via in vitro fertilization (IVF) — and you’re not relying on old wives’ tales, which we don’t recommend! — there’s really only one non-blood test to know your baby’s gender: an abdominal ultrasound.
Somewhere around 14 weeks’ gestation, your baby’s genitals are developed enough to be spotted on an ultrasound.
But unless you have another reason (like a potential complication) for having an ultrasound at this point in your pregnancy, you’ll have to wait until your anatomy scan is scheduled. This usually happens around the 20th week of pregnancy.
It’s probably better this way, anyway. In the first trimester, the accuracy of gender predictions with ultrasound is only about 75 percent, according to a 2015 study, compared with nearly 100 percent accuracy in the second and third trimesters.
And still, even though you’re getting a made-for-TV movie of your baby’s actual body growing inside your belly during the anatomy scan, the gender results of a second trimester ultrasound should always be taken with a grain of salt
Sometimes babies don’t cooperate with the timing of your appointment, and sometimes the ultrasounds are just plain misinterpreted.
NIPTs are a safe way to detect chromosomal abnormalities earlier in pregnancy than more invasive kinds of genetic screenings. They’re generally very accurate (though not 100 percent).
As a nice bonus, they can tell you whether you’re having a boy or a girl.
There are tests you can try yourself at home as well. But personally, we recommend going through your doctor so you can be sure your sample is processed professionally.
You’ll be able to access genetic counseling services, too, that way.
That said, if you just can’t wait to find out your baby’s gender and don’t need their genetic info yet, you can opt to take an at-home DNA test for fun.
How Early Can You Find Out the Gender of Your Baby?
“What am I going to have and how soon can I find out?” This is a question many mothers begin to wonder about as soon as they see their positive at-home pregnancy test. Numerous old wives tales’ exist to help predict a baby’s gender and while these tales’ are fun to play into, advances in medicine have made finding out the sex of your baby a much more accurate and reliable process. Most parents-to-be find out the sex of their baby through a gender reveal ultrasound around 19-20 weeks—but there are several other methods doctors might use to determine it.
First and Foremost: Schedule an Appointment to See Your Doctor
Before discussing the different ways you can find out the sex of your baby, it’s important to remind you when to see your doctor if you think you are pregnant. Upon seeing a positive result on a home pregnancy test, call your OB-GYN soon after to schedule an appointment to confirm your pregnancy. Kick off the miraculous journey toward parenthood with advice and support from your Woman’s Clinic doctor for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Prenatal appointments provide both you and your baby complete support throughout your pregnancy. It is recommended they are done once a month until reaching the 28th week of pregnancy. At this point, the frequency of visits changes to twice a month until the 36th week of pregnancy. After this, weekly visits should be scheduled until your baby arrives. At each of these visits, your doctor will conduct procedural checkups and fetal testing to check your and your baby’s progress, in addition to identifying any issues that require immediate attention. At your first visit, you will receive guidance on prenatal vitamins, a healthy diet, and pregnancy exercise recommendations. Your doctor will be happy to answer any questions you have during your visits.
Methods for Determining Your Baby’s Gender
Around week seven of your pregnancy, your baby’s genitalia will start to become distinct. By week 14, a baby’s gender may be revealed via ultrasound. However, an ultrasound technician might have difficulty distinguishing between a boy or a girl at this point. Doctors generally recommend waiting until weeks 19-20 to have your anatomy scan ultrasound in order to show the correct gender. When you are at your ultrasound, make sure to let your ultrasound technician know that you want your baby’s gender revealed so they can look for certain definite ultrasound signs, such as the presence or absence of a penis.
Be mindful that even at this point in your baby’s development, an ultrasound may not show your baby’s gender with absolute certainty—especially if your baby is in a stance which hides their genitalia or if you are pregnant with twins. In these instances, it may be necessary to have a second ultrasound performed.
Noninvasive Prenatal Testing
Starting at the 9th week of pregnancy, your doctor can order a blood test for noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT). NIPT checks for chromosomal abnormalities, such as Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18, and Down syndrome. During this test, the doctor looks at the placental DNA in your blood to indicate whether there is an increased risk of your child having a genetic disorder. More testing will be required if your NIPT comes up with positive results.
As your baby’s chromosomes are included in the DNA examined by the doctor, the fetal sex can be determined by looking for the male Y chromosome. If absent, your baby will be a girl.
If you decide to do NIPT and end up with a positive result, an amniocentesis (or “amnio”) test will likely be ordered by your doctor to follow up on these results. In this test, amniotic fluid is extracted to check for fetal abnormalities (such as cystic fibrosis or spina bifida). Amnios are generally done between 15-20 weeks of pregnancy, and can determine the sex of your baby with 99% accuracy. That being said, these tests come with potential risks and should not be done for the sole purpose of determining your baby’s gender.
Chorionic Villus Sampling
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is an invasive prenatal test in which your doctor pulls a sample of chorionic villi from the placenta and examines them for chromosomal disorders, such as sickle cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease. Doctors can perform CVS as early as week ten of your pregnancy.
Like amniocentesis, CVS is only done if your prenatal screenings come back positive. This test can determine your baby’s sex, but it also has harmful side effects. Therefore, it should not be done for gender determination alone.
In Vitro Fertilization
If you decide to go through in vitro fertilization (IVF), you can find out the gender of your baby at the beginning of your IVF procedure(s). Additional costs are involved with this screen, but results are produced with absolute certainty.
Gender Prediction Tests
Although you are merely playing a guessing game, you can still have some fun by trying out numerous gender prediction tests. For example, some claim a mother’s cravings during pregnancy can point to the sex with sweets meaning a girl is on the way. Unfortunately, there is no scientific basis behind these claims. If desired, you may purchase a gender prediction blood kit and use it to play the guessing game of your baby’s sex as you await the final reveal through the above-mentioned methods, or if you are old-fashioned at the birth itself.
love at first sight Pearhead sonogram frame
The sonogram waiting parents receive is one of the most treasured parts of pregnancy. That first glimpse of your new baby is absolutely incredible. But then what do you do with them? This sonogram picture frame is a classy way to display those beautiful little black-and-white images. You can choose from a variety of colors and designs. For more design options, check out the options by clicking the links below!
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Pregnancy is such a special time in your life, and finding out the gender of your baby can be one of the most exciting parts of the process. Contact The Woman’s Clinic today at (501) 261-0131 to schedule an appointment to see your doctor and learn more about revealing the gender of your baby.
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Boy or girl: is it possible to independently determine the sex of a child?
25 January 2021
Is it really possible to find out who you are waiting for without the help of doctors
When people share the news about pregnancy, questions about the sex of the baby pour in from all sides. And people have been trying to predict the sex of babies themselves for centuries, which is why this topic has become overgrown with myths. Is it really possible to find out who you are waiting for without the help of doctors?
One of the most popular myths is related to the baby’s heart rate in the womb. Allegedly, a pulse of more than 140 beats per minute is typical for girls, lower for boys. But, as a 2006 study showed, this indicator does not determine the sex of the baby. From 966 infants for a period of 9 weeks, the average pulse was 154.9 in boys, 151.7 in girls.
The size and shape of the belly
They say that girls fit almost at the mother’s ribs, and you can talk about a boy if the belly sticks out from below. In fact, localization is affected by what kind of pregnancy it is, the height, weight and age of the mother, and muscle tone.
Change in food preferences
According to one myth, when a mother is carrying a girl, she wants sweets, and if she eats a lot of salty, she wears a boy. But cravings for certain foods arise from hormonal changes, place of residence, or as an attempt by the body to make up for a nutrient deficiency.
Severity of morning sickness
Some argue that severe morning sickness indicates a girl. An international online survey showed that women who gave birth to girls were indeed more likely to feel unwell in the morning. However, no firm conclusions can be drawn and further studies are needed.
It is said that a mother suffers from heartburn if she carries a girl. There is evidence that mothers of children with lush hair often suffer from severe heartburn, but there is no information about the relationship between heartburn and the sex of the baby.
There is a belief that girls «steal the beauty» of their mother, and when carrying a boy, the skin becomes smooth and shiny. There is no confirmation of this. It is also impossible to prove whether girls really «take away» the power of mom’s hair and nails. Hormone levels in mothers of boys and girls are not so different as to draw such conclusions.
A 2011 Polish study confirmed the claim that mothers of boys have more breast enlargement during pregnancy.
But the information that when carrying a boy, the nipples and areolas darken more pronouncedly, is a myth. Melanin is responsible for pigmentation, and it has nothing to do with the sex of the baby. Does not correlate with the sex of the child and the color of the line connecting the pubis and navel.
Some «check» the sex of the baby by rocking the wedding ring, transfusing urine with baking soda, and changing the husband’s weight (allegedly if he has a «phantom pregnancy» then you are expecting a girl). However, these data have nothing to do with the sex of the baby.
The only way to know for sure whether you are going to have a son or a daughter is to see a doctor at 10 weeks with a blood test or at 20 weeks with an ultrasound.
13 folk tricks on how to determine the sex of a child
Why do we need an ultrasound examination, if there are a huge number of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers tested by personal experience and fortune-telling about what gender the baby will be born? Many still trust them more than science. And by the way, they really work. We have collected interesting ways for you to find out the gender of a new family member without seeking help from doctors.
How to determine the sex of an unborn child: signs
What signs can be used to determine the sex of an unborn child? Photo © Freepik / cookie_studio
Omen 1 . Probably the most famous of all the signs is a change in the appearance of the expectant mother. Even doctors agree with this. If a woman is expecting a boy, then she becomes very beautiful, literally blossoms. But if a girl, then vice versa. They say that a daughter takes away her mother’s beauty. To some extent, it is. It is known that the parent shares hormones with the child. And the little princess, of course, first of all tries to take the so-called beauty hormone. Why a woman begins to split and fall out her hair, her skin grows dull, age spots, rashes, acne, and the like may appear.
Omen 2 . In addition to appearance, the gait of pregnant also changes. Light and graceful says that the future ballerina is inside. But clumsy and clumsy — clear evidence that the son will not be a dancer.
Sign 3. You can also determine the sex of the child by the shape of the abdomen . If it is round and wide, bulging to the left, wait for the girl. But it is sharp and sticks out forward or protrudes to the right — that means a boy.
Omen 4 . Grandmothers were advised to pay attention to the first movements of the baby in the womb . If you feel a baby in the right side of the abdomen, then a son will definitely be born, but in the left — a daughter. For some reason, princesses like to beat their mother in the liver, while the heroes — in the bladder.
Sign 5 . It is known that eating habits in men and women are also different. With a boy, the expectant mother leans on meat, pastries, fried potatoes, pickles and stuff like that. He often wants to eat and begins to love even those foods that he couldn’t stand. But girls are much more selective. They prefer sweet or sour.
Sign 6 . You can also determine the sex of the baby by heartbeat . It is believed that in the representatives of the weaker sex it beats more often than in the strong half of humanity.
Sign 7 . According to folk signs, when a woman is waiting for a brave defender, then in the last months of pregnancy, her legs may swell strongly. Little hostesses are much more loyal to their mother.
How to determine the sex of the unborn child yourself? Photo © Freepik / grointstudio
Sign 8 . Despite the fact that a woman who is expecting a baby in general begins to look worse, the skin on her hands improves, becomes soft and tender. But for some reason, the baby, on the contrary, contributes to the dryness of the palms up to cracks.
Sign 9 . Children are also able to influence the body temperature of the expectant mother. If she is constantly hot and lacks air, then a boy will definitely be born. Conversely, if she feels a sudden chill and cold, these are signs of the birth of a beauty.
Omen 10 . You can find out who will be born in one very non-standard way. If on the playground boys of preschool age show interest in the stomach, then there will definitely be a girl. It is believed that they are attracted to the future bride. Unfortunately, the sign does not work in the opposite direction.
Sign 11 . mood of also changes very often in the expectant mother. You need to look at the one in which she stays longer. It is believed that in anticipation of the baby, a woman becomes quite calm, but if the baby, then just a hurricane of emotions. Well, that’s right, two women together, what peace is there.
How to find out the sex of a child by folk divination
Folk divination on the gender of the unborn baby. Photo © Freepik / jcomp
Fortune telling 1. If all the signs described above did not clarify anything (and this may be), then you can conduct a special «fortune telling». You need to ask the pregnant woman to show her hands. If she turns them palms up, then a daughter will be born, but if she turns them down, a son.
Divination 2. You can try another non-standard way to determine the sex of the baby. To do this, you need a large metal key, which the woman must be asked to pick up. If she does this while holding the round side, a girl will be born. If for a long narrow, then a boy. But if you grabbed the middle, you can expect twins.
Folk advice on how to conceive a boy (or girl)
Previously, and even now, when a married couple wants to have a child of a certain gender, they often turn to folk signs even before conception. For example, it is believed that the boy will appear if the fateful night was clear and calm, and the moon is incomplete. But girls prefer the full moon, snowy or rainy weather. The day also plays a special role. According to folk signs, if conception occurred in an even month of an odd year or an odd month of an even year, then a brave warrior will be born. With ladies, the opposite is true: in an even month of an even year or an odd month of an odd year.