It’s become increasingly common to find out the gender of your baby before it’s born. It sure takes the guesswork out of knowing what you need before the baby arrives! But how does a gender scan actually work?
At a gender scan, an ultrasound machine (sonogram) transmits high-frequency sound waves through your uterus. The sound waves bounce off your baby and are translated by a computer into an image on a screen, showing your baby’s position and movements.
The first chance you have for a scan is at around 11-13 weeks. The main purpose of this scan is not to determine gender, but to check the likelihood of your baby having Down Syndrome.
This scan will give you the first glimpse of your baby and if the baby is lying on its back, in a profile position, surrounded by amniotic fluid and with its legs wide open it may be possible to get a result from the gender scan.
It is important to understand that the result of a gender scan at 11-13 weeks is usually no more than an “informed guess” by the sonographer (the person carrying out the scan) as at that age the penis and an enlarged clitoris can look the same. In many cases during this early gender scan the penis can be tucked in behind the bottom, which gives the appearance of a girl.
Most women wait for their second scan, an anomaly scan or baby health check scan as an opportunity for a gender scan. This scan is carried out at around 18-21 weeks.
If you want to know the sex of your baby, you should ask your sonographer during the scan to do a gender scan for you. It is best to ask them at the beginning of the scan so that they are aware that they need to check.
It is important to be aware that it is not possible for your sonographer to be 100% certain about your baby’s sex. For example, if your baby is lying in an awkward position, it may be difficult, or impossible, to tell whether your baby is male or female.
If you can’t wait until your 20 week scan, but are over 16 weeks, call us at Early Image where gender scans are our specialty. Our sonographers will take all the time they need to make sure that baby is in exactly the right position before making any determination.