Inside you’ll find pros and cons to finding out the gender of your baby. I’ve done it both ways and this is where I’ve landed. Post contains affiliate links.
“If we have a girl… I have no idea what we’ll name her,” I said in between contractions.
The nurses in the delivery room began telling me their own children’s names for inspiration and there were a few I liked but nothing really stood out. It didn’t end up mattering…
A few minutes later, after one big push, I delivered my baby.
Immediately, without saying a word, she flipped the baby upside down so I could see the bottom…
“It’s a boy!”
Our fourth baby, our first gender surprise.
And now that I’m pregnant again (and we know exactly how pregnancy feels) we are going to be surprised again.
Because I love it.
Because it’s fun.
At this point, with 5 kids in 5 years – we don’t need any baby gear and we have clothes of both genders.
Should You Find Out Your Baby’s Gender?
If you’re asking yourself, “Should I find out the gender of my baby?” then it sounds like you’re questioning your gut. Sit with it for a while, you’ll know the answer.
There’s no right or wrong answer, as they say…
When can I find out?
You can usually find out your baby’s gender by about 20 weeks, give or take, depending on when they schedule your scan.
The earliest time to find out the gender of your baby is a blood test and it can be given around 8 weeks.
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What are the Pros to finding out baby gender?
Many people want to find out because otherwise they’ll miss out on having a gender reveal party. You can still find creative ways to throw parties during this season, however.
With our first three children, we found out the baby’s sex.
We were “surprised at the ultrasound” as my friend says.
Here are pros we discovered when we found out- with our first:
- You can prepare down to minute detail | I’m not really one to go overboard with these types of details, but it’s nice to be able to buy headbands, clothes, shoes, gender appropriate blankets, and all that kinda jazz. Blue car seats. A pink Bumbo. You get the idea. As long as they don’t end up being wrong about the gender (which does happen)
- You just know already | With our first we were applying for visas, moving overseas, and in a state of upheaval. In that moment, I couldn’t stand the thought that one more thing in our life was unknown. I wasn’t sure where we’d deliver the baby and, when she was 3 months we didn’t even know where we’d be living. If I could know, I just wanted to.
- You can prepare your nursery | If this baby is your first or second, this is a common reason people find out. They want to deck out their nursery in a theme or style that matches the baby’s gender. It’s definitely a stressful thing to be trying to put together a coordinating and sophisticated nursery when you, ahem, have the newborn. You may be barely mentally surviving the newborn stage, so that might not be an option for you.
More pros to finding out baby gender…
- You can get things monogrammed | Oh, come on. I had to say it. I’m from the South and we love personalization. Whether it’s crib sheets, swaddles, diaper bags, or nursery room decoration, people like to know a name and put it on things. This would backfire, however, if you saw the baby and felt the name didn’t really go. This also happens.
- You can pick a name | You know the gender, you aren’t splitting your focus between boy and girl names. I mean unless you want a name that could go with either gender in which case it’s probably still the same amount of work. This book is the most comprehensive baby name book ever.
- You aren’t “disappointed” | This is a reason many people give. That they don’t want to hope for one gender for 10 months then be disappointed at delivery. They hope finding out the gender at the ultrasound will help give them time to come to terms with the gender before the baby is born. I’ve never been one to care about the gender and currently have 1 girl and 4 boys.
- You can feel more connected to baby | By being able to speak to, pray for, and think about your baby specifically as a boy or girl it can help foster a connection or sense you already “know” your child a bit.
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What are the Pros to NOT Finding Out Your Baby’s Gender?
Finding out the sex of the baby cannot be undone, so if you are on the fence… just tell them you don’t want to know.
If at any point you decide you do want to know, they’ll tell you.
Here are pros we love about NOT finding out the baby gender:
- It’s fun | It is exciting to look forward to delivery. There are so many things about delivery that cause fear about labor so this is one thing that you can look forward to. Not just holding your baby, but finding out what God has gifted you with. After having been surprised at delivery once, I think it’s an absolutely amazing experience you’ll never forget.
- It’s back to the basics | For those who embrace natural, this is another way to get back to how things were done a long time ago without technological intervention. You were pregnant, prayed the baby was developing normally, had it, then knew what you were working with. Culturally speaking, some countries find out the gender far less than others. In both Australia and Scotland where I’ve given birth, I’d estimate over half did not find out the gender.
- You can make a poll | Instead of having a gender reveal party while you’re still pregnant, you can have fun with people trying to guess the gender. Family members can have a good time guessing and making bets.
- You don’t get misinformation | My Scottish midwife told me that by policy the NHS (National Health Service) does not tell parents the gender. One too many people got misinformed, made major life changes (like buying a new house so a boy and girl didn’t have to share), then sued. If you don’t know you can’t get told wrongly.
- You get to partake in the mystery of life | How many things in life that are precious are truly a mystery? It almost has a sacred feeling, that something so important is having in secret. And truthfully, it’s worth the wait.
If you don’t find out the gender, you’ll need to be prepared!
There’s still a lot that can when it comes to preparing for a “surprise” baby!
As I’m sure you’re aware of, a new baby requires lots of fun planning and preparations.
- Get neutral newborn onesies and swaddles | Get light green, white, orange, or yellow onesises and swaddles. Get enough to last you a week or two and then you can buy more later in more gender appropriate colors if you need. It is hard to find neutral type clothes, but it’s not impossible. I’ve bought a pack of these to get me started.
- Forget about everything needing to be gender appropriate | If my boys blue crib sheets are dirty they sleep on pink ones. Do the blue bibs are in the wash they use their sisters old one? I don’t care one tiny bitty bit. They will survive and what we already own is already paid for.
- Create a neutral palette that can go either way | If you have a room and really want to be surprised, you can decorate in neutral greys or beiges until the baby comes. Have your decor chosen for both genders (save it on wishlists) then click ‘order’ when you are enjoying some peace and quiet in the hospital recovering away from your other, louder, children. Ahem.
- Have a party or shower afterwards | Instead of having a shower before the baby is born, have a party afterwards. Just because it’s not the most common thing, doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. You can do whatever you want. You can even have a blessing shower and bring the baby so people can meet the little tyke.
Sweet baby on the way!
Just the other day (around 35 weeks pregnant) when I was getting a soda and some M & M’s (yes, healthy baby food) from the gas station, a man who looked both high, homeless, and not quite normal came up to me while
I was in line. He smiled at me, I smiled back, and he asked…
“What are you going to name your baby girl?”
“I am horrible with girl names!” I said, “But I think you’re probably right about the gender...”
Only time will tell…
- pinpoint an issue
- draw out how it’s affecting you
- label what you don’t like about it
- determine areas of responsibility
- figure out how it’s showing up
- say what you’d rather happen
- brainstorm solutions
Related Reads For Your Near Future:
- Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week
- Sample Newborn Routine
- Printable Newborn Feeding Chart
- Newborn Feeding Schedule That Works
FAQs about finding out (or not) baby’s gender
Typically, your ultrasound between 18 to 21 weeks will be able to tell you the gender of your baby. However, there are tests your doctor may possibly do as early as ten weeks to determine the gender. It’s not typical, though, and certainly not a necessity.
If you’re at your 18 week scan, the ultrasound should be able to tell pretty easily depending on the angle of baby, how full your bladder is, and if baby moves. The nurses will often tell you to look away if you want to be surprised, so you don’t see.
Cry, journal, mourn your dreams for having that particular gender, and then turn around your perspective to being grateful for having a healthy baby.
Yes! At my last birth (5th baby), we were surprised and my techs and doctors said it’s getting more and more common. So much in life right now is obvious and lacking mystery so this is one way to tune in to the mysteries and joys of life.