Perhaps the most exciting part of pregnancy is learning the gender of your bundle of joy. Many parents are eager to learn this information as quickly as possible in order to prepare a nursery or purchase gender-specific items such as clothing or toys. Others have hoped for a certain gender for years or are on their last-ditch effort to try for a boy or girl. Whatever the reason, there are several ways to go about finding out the gender of your baby.
Noninvasive Prenatal Screening Test (NIPT)
A NIPT test is one method of finding out the gender of your baby early. The test requires a simple blood draw and screens DNA to assess genetic risk factors, in addition to clueing you in on the gender of your baby. This is most often done for women with a higher risk of genetic abnormality, so it may not be available for low-risk pregnancies. This method is also currently not FDA approved, so the accuracy of a NIPT test is questionable.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
Another first-trimester test that determines gender is Chorionic Villus sampling. Though more invasive than NIPT, this test is considered safe with less than half a percent of these tests resulting in miscarriage. Cells are collected from the placenta either through the vagina and cervix or with a needle inserted in the abdomen. This test may be performed between 10 to 13 weeks of pregnancy and is highly accurate in determining both chromosomal abnormalities and gender. Like the NIPT, this test is more often recommended for women with health risk factors like genetic disorders.
An amnio test is another procedure used to rule out genetic conditions. However, this test occurs between 16 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Since the test collects DNA, it will also identify the gender of your child. The test is performed by inserting a needle into the abdomen to collect a small amount of amniotic fluid for testing. Though very rare, this test does pose some risk for miscarriage or other pregnancy complications and, like the above-mentioned tests, is usually only recommended for higher risk pregnancies.
Second Trimester Ultrasound
Perhaps the most common way to find out the gender is through a routine ultrasound performed between 18 to 20 weeks. This noninvasive test is typically very reliable as a sonographer measures and checks your baby’s organs — including its sex organs! The catch here is that babies are sometimes uncooperative and may be in a position that makes it difficult to identify the gender. However, this is often the most anticipated and exciting scan for a pregnant woman!
Finally, the only 100% accurate way to find out the gender is upon delivery! If you love a surprise and have 9 months worth of patience, this is the path for you! Should you decide to go this route, make sure you make that decision clear to your doctor the entire pregnancy to avoid any potential slip-ups.
Boy or Girl?
Regardless of the route you choose in determining your child’s gender, knowing the risks and time frames of each option may be vital to your decision. Boy or girl, it will be the adventure of a lifetime!