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

Waiting in anticipation for the 20 week scan, the sonographer asks the all important question that the parents ‘to be’ have considered since the pregnancy test turned positive.

‘Would you like to know the sex of the baby?’ 

I personally knew since the pregnancy test turned positive that I would find out the sex of our baby boy Elijah, the idea of a surprise did appeal to me, but I chose to keep his name a secret instead. I felt knowing the sex of our baby would be more beneficial for us as a couple and the reasons were numerous;

Pros

  1. Mental preparation: The ability to mentally prepare for life after pregnancy and looking after your boy or girl. The circumstances around how the birth happens cannot be controlled but knowing the sex of the baby can provide an element of control. This means you can focus on the birth. Read about my birth experience here.
  2. Physical preparation, buying items that are tailored: Usually items that aren’t gender specific can be quite bland and neutral.
  3. Exploration of names and aid with bonding and connection during pregnancy: The name you choose is for lifetime, it’s a very big responsibility so it needs a lot of thought. Also, it can aid with bonding by naming your bump at a time when you may not feel connected with your baby yet.
  4. Training pets: If you have any pets, particularly dogs, it can really aid with their training by getting them used to your chosen name.
  5. Extended family circle preparation: The rest of the family can prepare, and may also buy gifts tailoring to gender.
  6. Imagining the future: When you are pregnant it can feel like a really long time, being able to imagine the future and what it will be like with your baby, daydreaming etc. can really help you through those tough pregnancy days.
  7. Preparing other siblings: If you have other children, it may be beneficial to find out the sex of the baby so they can prepare for their new life as an older brother or sister, this may also reduce any feelings of rivalry or jealousy.

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Cons

  1. Family traditions and wanting to be surprised: Inevitably traditions of family or the older generation may have preferences that they may like to be surprised about the new arrival, whilst we asked many people if they wanted to know the sex of the baby, when people said no, it was difficult to track and we often said by mistake using pronouns etc.
  2. If you want to know the sex but keep it a secret from everyone else, it can be tricky not to make references in conversation: If just the care givers know the sex of the baby, and don’t wish to tell anyone else, it can be difficult to remember not to make any references towards the sex of the baby in general conversation.
  3. Mistakes during scans when identifying sex: Even though scans are a lot more accurate, mistakes can be made. There have been instances where the all important body part looks like it isn’t there but really it’s just the positioning of the baby or vice versa. This would be particularly bad luck if you had numerous scans all indicating towards a particular sex.
  4. Emotional shock if a mistake was to occur: If a mistake is made, the emotional and mental preparation gearing towards one sex can be shocking after the birth.
  5. Cost of mistaken sex identity: The cost of tailoring towards a particular sex can be an expensive mistake however gender roles and associations are changing so this may not be as much of an issue.

I’d love to hear your perspective, do you want to know the sex of your baby? If yes/no then why? Get in touch!

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0 thoughts on “The pros and cons of finding out the sex of the baby

  1. We found out the sex of all five of our children, mainly because I am FAR too impatient but also with the youngest three on a more practical level and also to be able to tell my eldest what we were expecting. I don’t regret finding out the sex of them all, it helped me to bond with them before the birth and imagine them as a person, with a name, rather than just a baby? #stayclassy

    1. I am impatient too. I actually applaud the people out there who have the ability to say no! If you already have kids it also helps to prepare them and get them excited to avoid jealousy etc. I’m the same- as soon as I knew the sex, I was able to bond and use his name etc thanks for commenting!

      1. Completely agree. Plus I didn’t want my older kids to set their heart on a brother/sister and then get the opposite. I also had scans every two weeks with all of mine so it would have been very hard to resist finding out!! Xx

  2. I found out both times too. Like the other commenters I’m super impatient too, how could you not know for nine months!! Also,my first pregnancy was a ‘surprise’ so it helped me to connect and come to terms with the pregnancy.#stayclassy

    1. I’m with you there, I think knowing the sex definitely helps you to make that connection and bond early. Thanks for commenting today x

  3. I found the sex of my little one just because I am not very good a surprises. I did think it would save me money knowing what I was having but in fact I think I spent more !! #stayclassy

    1. I’m the same. The idea of a surprise of the sex on top of the surprise when you’ll start labour didn’t suit me! I probably spent more as well. Once you know what your having you start to picture your little boy or girl in items you buy. Thanks for commenting today

  4. We found out the sex of our little boy but then kept it a secret between the two of us which was hard but nice to have something just for us.
    I did this because like everyone else I’m impatient and would have spent all my time wondering, and I know people don’t like you to admit it but I always wanted a little girl so I wanted time to her used to the idea of him being a boy as he was! I wouldn’t change him for the world now and I actually love having a boy, but I think that mental prep helped me 😊
    #stayclassy

    1. We started out trying to do it that way but we let it slip by referring to bump as “he”. It’s so difficult! Well done you for keeping the secret! I agree mental prep can do wonders. Thanks for your comment!

  5. You’ve made some great points especially with regards to pets etc. I was adamant I wanted a surprise, luckily my partner agreed and I am so glad. there’s so few positive things in life that are a true surprise and it definitely helped me get through labour – the excitement of finding out whether it was a boy or girl! I actually wanted as much gender neutral stuff as possible too because I find it very frustrating how everything has to be pink or blue. I would definitely want a surprise again if/when I have another baby! Nearly everyone I know finds out the sex though I think we are in the minority. #StayClassy

    1. I would love to have the ability to be patient for a surprise but I’m just not good at it! I understand about the gender neutral aspect. I just wanted to decorate our boys room and loved the idea of a space/rocket theme. Sometimes being in the minority is refreshing! Great to hear from the other side thanks for your comment 🙂

  6. I love that you have a pros and con’s list. We won’t find out our baby’s sex until they arrive in a few weeks time. This was my choice, my partner did want to know, and I was fine with him finding out, but he chose not to in the end (something about being worried he would blab if he had a beer haha) and now that we are so close he’s really glad we didn’t find out. I have had mixed responses to our choice not to find out though, most people are excited or impressed, but some people take it as a personal insult that we don’t know. I even wrote a post about it after a particularly insulting comment from a workmate about not knowing: https://happyhealthykiwi.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/i-dont-know-my-babys-gender-so-what/ I think my main reason for not finding out is that I love surprises and neither myself nor my partner are worried about gender stereotypes. On the other hand though, I’m always excited to hear what other expectant mothers are having!

    1. I would love to have your ability to not find out. Admittedly I’m absolutely useless at surprises. In our case we had so many scans we would’ve been told no matter what but I do think what it could’ve been like if we hadn’t known. It adds a bit of mystique around the birth and excitement too. I don’t understand why anyone would insult you- anything with parenting is so judgemental. I’ll take a read 🙂 I was pregnant at the same time as my friend and she had a surprise and I loved it when I found out she went into labour and waiting to know who would be coming into the world- a little guy or girl. You must be excited to find out!

  7. We chose to find out and I’d definitely do it again – its like opening a Christmas present before Christmas I loved it! Most of my friends and family have chosen not to find out and had a surprise – which is lovely for everyone else as well. I liked knowing and having months to agonise over names I knew I could definitely use! #stayclassy

    1. I’m exactly the same as you. I just couldn’t wait to find out and I really tested out his name before the time came to make sure I loved it- we kept his name a secret instead which I think gave people a little surprise. Thanks for commenting!

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