The pros and cons of finding out the sex of your unborn baby

Will you choose to get the news at a scan or the birth?
Will you choose to get the news at a scan or the birth?  Photo: Getty Images

It's often one of the biggest choices parents make during the course of their pregnancy; to find out, or not to find out, the sex of their baby before it's born. And while it's a deeply personal decision, having had the benefit of experiencing both sides of the argument (for my first child the sex remained unknown; for my second we opted to find out) I've compiled my top four reasons why each decision might work best for you.

PROS

Organisation: Everything from the nursery colour to the baby's name can be decided on well in advance of the baby being born. So if you have your heart set on a bright fuchsia colour scheme instead of a neutral lemon, and want to be able to stock up on coloured supplies of clothes and nappies for the sex of the baby, this is something that might just sway you into finding out in advance.

Bonding: For many, the simple act of knowing what gender baby is growing inside them can help with the bonding process. It allows you the opportunity to more fully identify with the baby, especially if you select a name soon after you find out its sex. It can also help any older siblings bond and make imagining life with the new baby easier.

Economical: If your neighbour or sister is clearing her cupboards of baby paraphernalia and you've discovered you're having a child of the same sex, then you, my friend, have just encountered an economical windfall! Or if it is sale time at the shops, you can stock up in bigger sizes and store them away until the baby grows.

Emotional: Yes, we all do just want out baby to be born healthy, but there is every chance you may have your heart set on having a particular sex when you discover you are expecting. By finding out before he or she is born, you are able to work through the emotions you might experience if it isn't what your heart had desired. This means that when it's time to meet your child all those feelings will be dealt with and replaced with excitement instead.

CONS

Untraditional: It's only since technology evolved that parents have even had the option of being able to find out their baby's sex in advance of it being born. Many may well believe the act of discovering this before the baby's birth is messing with what Mother Nature intended. So, as was the tradition of our parents and grandparents before us, why not wait until that glorious first moment you meet to discover if you will have a son or daughter?

Motivation: Everyone likes an incentive - me most of all, apparently! One of the main reasons I chose not to know what I was having with my firstborn was that I felt I might need an extra enticement to help me during the toughest stages of labour. I figured the thought of being about to meet my little baby and finally find out whether it was a boy or girl might be the best motivation for enduring childbirth.

Flawed: There's always the chance that the sonographer might make a mistake; it's happened before and will no doubt happen again. You might buy a barrage of blue baby paraphernalia only to be greeted with a baby girl at birth. And besides the unexpected financial burden you would now face replacing everything (as well as such logistics as having to come up with a new name), there may be an emotional price to pay if you had spent four months waiting to meet your daughter but now have a son instead.

Unsurprising: Mystery has become a casualty of the modern age in which we live. If you already know what you are having you lose the chance to create a very precious memory in the moments after birth when you simultaneously meet your child for the first time and finally find out the sex. Most of all, you risk robbing yourself of one of the greatest surprises you can get in life.

Did you find out the sex of your baby before they were born? Why or why not? We'd love to know!

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