Sometimes knowing the gender can help parents make informed decisions about the pregnancy itself, such as in the case of sex-specific diseases, Carr told Live Science. They do so for several reasons: Amniocentesis Any test that involves taking a genetic sample from the baby, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling CVS , can also determine gender with near-perfect accuracy. It may be used in women when there is an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities, such as in older mothers, he said. This is because some parents-to-be want to host a gender-reveal party for family and friends to share the news. It uses sound energy and not radiation, such as X-rays, to generate images of the fetus. But by the third trimester, a girl's heartbeat tends to be a little faster and a boy's a little slower, he said.
The scans are typically done twice during pregnancy, but the one done between 18 and 22 weeks is when the sonographer ultrasound technician might identify the gender of the baby, if parents want to know. If the sperm is carrying a Y chromosome, the baby will be a boy. Increasingly, Carr said, couples have asked him to write down the baby's sex and place the answer in a sealed envelope. But if you're having one of these tests for another reason, and still want to know the gender of your baby, it's a good time to ask. And then there's the other option: It's one of the first things that everyone asks a pregnant woman: That's generally not the case for commercial places doing keepsake images: Beyond ending the guessing game, there are medical reasons why mothers and fathers may want to learn the sex of their baby from an ultrasound. Although the test can be done at any point during pregnancy, women typically get one during the first trimester. Until the 14th week of pregnancy, baby boys and girls look exactly the same on ultrasound, Carr said. If the sperm is carrying an X chromosome, the baby will be a girl. Ultrasound scanning in pregnancy. If the color turns green, the baby is said to be a girl; if it's blue, a boy may be on the way. Boy or girl, it will be yours. For this urban legend, a woman combines some of her first morning urine with the liquid drain cleaner. They'd wave crystals over the mother or consult the stars. Next, a probe called a transducer is moved over the woman's abdomen, which transmits sound waves that can produce images of the fetus as it develops inside the mother's womb. And the only risks to the mother may come from lying flat on her back, which might make her feel dizzy, along with the discomfort of having a full bladder, he said. Beyond this point, noticeable anatomical differences in the genitals can show up on the scan. Ultrasounds were not designed for sex prediction. Early in pregnancy, there is no difference in heart rate between the sexes, Carr said. By the 12th week, accuracy jumps to nearly 99 percent. To fill the void, people may turn to some of the following six old wives' tales to predict whether the fetus is a boy or girl. Another theory holds that a mother's food cravings during pregnancy may reveal the baby's sex, with sweet cravings signifying a girl and cravings for salty, sour or odd foods linked with a boy. Women may be asked to drink several glasses of water before an ultrasound because a filled bladder helps give clearer images. Amniocentesis, April http: Additional resources Johns Hopkins Medicine explains:
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