The pros and cons of finding out your unborn baby’s sex

I’ve mentioned that I felt borderline bullied into keeping the sex of my baby a surprise when I was pregnant, but my husband and I decided to find out and were thrilled that we did. As soon as I discovered there was a little girl in my belly, I felt our bond begin to grow.

But what was right for us isn’t necessarily right for everyone, and I firmly believe parents-to-be should ignore everyone’s two cents and follow their gut instinct. If all you can feel in your gut is last night’s burrito, perhaps these arguments and testimonials will help you decide.

The pros of finding out baby’s sex

Other than sheer curiosity, here are some of the reasons parents cite for wanting to find out what’s between their baby’s legs:

Why I want to find out my baby’s sex:

Rosy, 39, mum of three, says:

“We wanted to know. First off, we wanted to have the time to wrap our brains around the little being and imagine all the wonderful things that come with being a girl or boy. And second, I like to know everything – I’m not a big fan of the mystery. I recommend that everyone find out and confirm it a second time because we were told our last child was a girl at first only to discover that it was, in fact, a boy. So we thought we had it good with the hand-me-downs from our girls, but it turns out he doesn’t look good in a skirt.”

Annorah, 36, mum of one, says:

“I had the gender scan with my daughter, Matilda. I knew I would have it even before we fell pregnant. I didn’t want to mess around with what type of what to buy and it made names a whole lot simpler. We really struggled to agree on names as a couple and it was tense enough just having to pick a feminine name let alone a masculine one for no reason. I suppose this supports my control-freakish tendencies as well. Dale, on the other hand, needed convincing. Whilst he saw the practicality of finding out at 20 weeks, he was sad to lose the element of surprise. We discussed it and found a compromise – the sonographer would write the gender down on paper and place it in an envelope. Then we would go out to dinner and open it together. This meant we got to capitalise on the practicality of finding out early, but we didn’t lose the special element of surprise which was important to Dale. On the day, however, we both got swept up in the excitement of the scan and all that went out the window – we just found out there and then. I’ve asked Dale if he regrets not going ahead with the compromise and he assures me he doesn’t. I know for our next, we will definitely find out, too.”

The cons of finding out baby’s sex

Some parents believe you should wait until the midwife or doctor yells out, “It’s a boy/girl!”. Here are a few reasons why:

Why I don’t want to find out my baby’s sex:

Yana, 37, mum of two, says:

“I didn’t find out the sex of either of my children. I figured that if I was going to suffer through labour, I might as well have a surprise to look forward to at the end. Both times, I suspected the sex and was right – mother’s intuition, perhaps. I would do it a third time around. I like not having expectations of the baby based on its sex, such as sports, hobbies and careers. But mainly I think of its health while it’s in the womb because in the end that’s all that’s important!”

Belinda, 33, mum of three, says:

“With our first, we were both adamant we weren’t going to find out, but then I was so sick every day and Roger felt helpless. At the last moment at the 18-week scan, we decided to find out. Best thing ever! Roger said it really helped him to connect with the pregnancy knowing that it wasn’t just an ‘it’ but his son. With the second, we didn’t find out and they held Marlie up from behind. The anaesthetist leant down and whispered, “It’s a girl!”. With number three, we found out purely because we needed something positive. We were having twins and lost one at eight weeks. It was such a horrible, fraught pregnancy – we just needed something to keep us going. Also, we only had two bedrooms and no space, and we needed to know whether we could get rid of boy or girl clothes. Overall, I think a surprise is really nice. It’s such a miracle that having the added bonus of a surprise is awesome.”