For most women, finding out the gender of their baby is one of the most exciting milestones of their pregnancy. In fact, one of the most common questions we are asked from many prospective parents is “how early can gender be determined by ultrasound?” We’re outlining some of the different methods used to discover your baby’s gender, and how early they can be used.
How Early Can Gender Be Determined By Ultrasound?
A traditional ultrasound is one of the most common methods for detecting gender. Approximately 18-20 weeks is the earliest they can tell baby gender using this method. Traditional ultrasounds work by sending high frequency sound waves into the uterus using a special handheld wand. As these sound waves are released, they bounce off of internal surfaces and an image is generated on a computer monitor. From this, a technician can determine a baby’s gender. It’s important to note that the skill of the technician and the position of the baby are both determining factors for the outcome of an ultrasound, however gender detection with this method is usually 95-100 percent accurate.
What is the Earliest They Can Tell Baby Gender Using Other Methods?
Traditional ultrasounds aren’t the only method for determining the sex of the baby. Other effective methods are often used to not only determine the gender of a growing baby, but also detect any genetic or chromosomal abnormalities. Particularly in high-risk pregnancies, your physician may recommend tests aside from the traditional ultrasound to more accurately monitor the health of your baby. Some of these additional options are:
• 3D Ultrasound
With this method, specially designed probes and software are used to generate a 3D image of a developing baby. 3D ultrasounds can detect the sex of a baby at 11 to 14 weeks, which is earlier than traditional ultrasounds.
Amniocentesis is primarily used if there is a medical need, such as an increased risk of birth defects or a high-risk pregnancy. Performed between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, this test works by drawing a sample of amniotic fluid from the mother and testing the cells for defects and abnormalities (the sex of the baby can be determined as well). It’s important to note that because the procedure is invasive, there is a risk of miscarriage.
• Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)
This test uses a blood sample to identify the likelihood of a chromosomal disorder. Like amniocentesis it is primarily used for medical reasons, but can also determine the sex of the baby. Unlike amniocentesis, this test is non-invasive (only requiring a sample of blood to be drawn from the arm) and carries no risk to the developing baby. NIPT can be performed anytime after 9 weeks of pregnancy and boasts 97-99 percent accuracy.
• Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
With this test, a small area of placental tissue is removed and examined to determine any chromosomal defects or abnormalities (chromosomes are also used to determine the sex of the developing baby). CVS is typically performed between 10-12 weeks, but is only used in high-risk pregnancies because of the risk of miscarriage associated with the procedure.
North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach
Learning the gender of your baby can be one of the most exciting moments in pregnancy! Thanks to modern advances in medicine, many options exist for monitoring the health and determining the sex of your baby. Whether you are a high-risk pregnancy or not, your physician will help you determine what tests are best for you as you journey towards discovering the gender of your baby.
At North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach, our focus is to provide all patients with comprehensive, state-of-the-art gynecologic and obstetrical care throughout the different phases of their life. Delivering quality healthcare in a warm and individualized environment is a cornerstone of our practice. If you are interested in receiving prenatal care and would like to learn more about the options for detecting the sex of your baby, contact us today to make an appointment!