Week 20: Boy or Girl

Finally, the pregnancy is half over. Amber is starting to get a bit bigger from her 100lb (46 kg) self. She needs new clothes but doesn’t like the maternity clothes available. I’ll leave it to her to write the details of her travails.

Now is the time to find out if we are having a boy or a girl. Amber has always wanted a boy. I have an adverserial side to my personality which means that I am hoping for a girl. It’s fun to argue about the sex of the fetus. One interesting aspect of our discussions is that Amber seems to want a most feminine boy while I am looking forward to a tomboyish girl. Perverse, isn’t it?

To answer the big question of what are we having, we turn to our friend, the Internet. It turns out there are many, many ways to predict the sex of your unborn child.

Let’s first use the Chinese Calendar method. Amber was 30 at the time of conception which was in November. Checking the table, we find out it’s going to be a boy.

People also say that girls have heartbeats faster than boys. Our fetus’s has consistently been greater than 140, so girl ties boy 1—1. But all my enthusiasm was dashed though by this guy who did some scientific study showing that fetal heart rate does not predict sex at all.

Instead of boring you with each of these old wives’ tales, let’s go directly to the results. Taking this quiz, we found out that there’s a 66% chance that we are going to have a girl. Yay, I win!

Enough of the old wives’ tales. Let’s find out how we can scientifically find out the gender of the fetus. There seem to be three main methods:

  1. Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is generally only performed if there is a high risk of genetic abnormalities as there is a 4% chance of miscariage as a result of this test.
  2. Amniocentisis is also similar and is generally not recommended unless the Alpha-fetoprotein test comes out positive.
  3. Since the other two options are out, the only one we are left with is the ultrasound. An ultrasound is not a very good way of finding the gender of the baby. We know several people who got it wrong. The most common mistake is “we can’t see a penis, so it’s a girl.” The accuracy depends on several factors like the position/pose of the fetus, gestational age, technician’s ability, etc.

We were hoping our doctor would make a recording of the ultrasound video at our next monthly appointment. May be if we played it like 100 times, we could figure out if it’s a girl or a boy. Plus I could use my mad image analysis skills to write a penis detection algorithm. Unfortunately, they don’t do video recordings.

UPDATE: Here is some info about the accuracy of ultrasound for determining the gender of a fetus.

Categorized as Pregnancy

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. No harm in guessing and wishing. No prediction is authentic. Some medical prediction tests, though not sure tests, are available but are dangerous. One should pray for health of mother and a healthy child. God is the best distributor. So, gender should be left to him.

  2. Al-Muhajabah: That could be fun. 😉

    No prediction is authentic.

    While no medical test is 100% accurate, they are reasonably accurate. The two tests I mentioned have only a small chance of error but since they have chances of birth defects or miscarriage they are not recommended unless testing for genetic abnormalities is indicated.

    Ultrasound is not as accurate as the other tests, but still fairly accurate.

    So, gender should be left to him.

    It’s not like gender can be changed at this stage of pregnancy. We can only try to find out the gender of the fetus now.

  3. Worst case scenario, you’ve got 50% accuracy anyway..

    My advice, don’t worry about it. Have fun, and let your dreams run wild!

  4. burhan: Thanks. We aren’t worrying much about it. It’s fun to find out the gender in advance, but no big deal if it turns out to be wrong.

  5. Well while i was rotating through my ObGyn here someone told me that the iold maids used to tell the gender by the look on the mother’s face. They believe that if its a male child the mother turns fair and if its a female child mother turns a darker complexion. Well i wouldn’t suggest this way of determining sex of the foetus to anyone!

  6. Moiz: Interesting. Another one of the old wives’ tales.

    May be I should compare the before and after photos of Amber in Photoshop for this purpose. 🙂

  7. hello, i know this is weird, cuz i dont know any of you, but… have any of you ever heard of “my gender workbook”? its by kate bornstein, its a pretty good book. some bits to work out, i think, but shes on the right track, i think. it seems to me that no matter what “gender” you assign your child before, during, or after the pregnancy, the kid will develop its own individual self, and will develop a gendered identity perhaps shaped by the gendered identity of others, but really of their own interpretation and design- every small detail of socialization hits each person slightly differently. i hope your baby is born healthy and that you have a really good/life (sorry, this is weird, i dont know you, so ill probably never talk to you again, so life seems appropriate. sort of) time with it, no matter what it is, or who it turns out to be.

  8. gender: While I agree that some aspects of gender are learned, there is a definite genetic basis of gender as well.

  9. I have heard that if you take the month of conception and the mothers age at conception and add them together if its an even number a girl odd a boy for example i was 19 when i got pregnant the first time and conceived in august so if you add them its 27 and it was right i had a boy good luck

  10. janille: That would have given us the wrong gender. We conceived our daughter in November and my wife was 30 at the time, which gives us 41, which should have meant a boy.

  11. Hi, I read your comment about gender where you add the mothers age at conception and the month conceived. This method doesn’t work. I know! If you havn’t heard of Oh boy or girl, they are doing free predictions for the month of july 2005 and i think they are doing free 2 month planning calendars too to plan the gender. they have a 93% accuracy and I am having my second child by using this method and I just found out it worked! also a few of my friends that were already pregnant tried it and they predicted their gender succesfully as well! Just send a request to ohboyorgirl@hotmail.com or you can visit their website maxpages.com/ohboyorgirl.

  12. The comments made that if the mother of the unborn child turns fair its a boy and if dark then its a girl, well this could be true because the girls steals the mothers looks whilst the boys steals the dad looks, on the other hand my sister had a boy first but she turned ugly after she gave birth she went radiant and looks like the boy had took all her looks! Anyway i personally believe that if the belly grows outwards then its a boy because boys are more independant, and boys mothers finds preganancy eaiser than the girls mothers(e.g not much sickness, more active etc), and girls are more inwards so they are more closer to thier mothers, more dependant.

  13. There is a more scientific way of determining the sex if you remember the details of conception. The male sperm swim faster but only live 48 hours. The female sperm are slower but last 72 hours. The egg lives for 24 hours. If you have intercourse before ovulation, you are more likely to have a girl. After, a boy. I happened to know the moment I conceived and remembered that I had intercourse about 3 days earlier. I knew I was having a girl long before the ultrasound.

    Best of luck to you regardless!!

  14. Jos: Most of these methods are just junk.

    Parvin: All old wives’ tales.

    Kat: I hadn’t heard that X and Y sperms had different characteristics. I’ll check it out.

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    One of the interesting pastimes during pregnancy is choosing a name for the baby. Since we can 19t be sure about the gender of the baby, we have to consider both boy and girl names. The question then comes down to…

  16. My husband and I went in for an ultrasound. The baby is laying in a transverse position (side to side), and with his/her back turned away from me. The technician took a shot of the baby with through the legs, and pointed at an appendage of some sort. She asked us to guess the sex of the baby in this way. Based on the appendage we said, “I guess it’s a boy”, and she said that she thinks it is a boy as well. As the process continued, she started referring to the baby as a “her”. My husband and I do not know what to think. As for the Shettles Method: timing before conception we could have conceived before or after ovulation: we are not sure which took. Does anyone have any opinions or advice to offer us?

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  18. hello, I took the chinese gender test 1st it said a BOY, then I took the old wise tales test it said 82% chance of having a boy, in 2 days I go for the ultrasound so I will know for sure!

    Any one have any ideas what it could be???
    I think (and this is a mothers interwishing) that I am having a boy. I already have 2 girls and this pregnancy is completely different then my other 2. I look like I have a ball under my shirt! Im carrying low, I crave alot of salty foods really dont want sweets at all. I was and still am sick almost all day long! With my other two I was never sick!!!

    So thats that~!

    will let you know in 2 days what they say!!

    Take care Alyssa

  19. Yeah its completely true that the male sperm swims faster than the female sperm.They have to carry slightly more information or something, and live a little longer.

  20. Six kids my parents had, and each time waited till the birth to find out the sex. End score, 3 girls 3 boys 🙂

  21. Hi, I read your comment about gender, it was quite interesting. I am also facing the same situation, but i don’t try any of these methods, for me both genders are acceptable, if they come as twins, i am very happy too. Don’t predict, respect the gender and accept the fact.

  22. Hi There.

    I had ultrasound at 20 weeks and doctor said its girl 95% even showed me three lines sign. I don’t know I have a feeling I have boy. Did any one wrong opposite sex after those comments by doctor.

    I am really confused. Plz guide

  23. If the doc found three white lines I can assure you its a girl. I have 9 children and despite what a lot of people tell you, the two genders look very different on ultrasound.

  24. well im preggy right now and know in my heart its a boy got an ultrasound but sex was not noticable i had a girl already and a son i think a mother knows in her heart what it is if she really wants to know and women know their bodies they know what their going to have and men know too they just got to think long enough

  25. I have two daughters and now I am due in 3 days. I have always wanted a boy and this time, I feel different with my two other daughters. I tried the chinese gender predictor and it says I am having a boy. I am 50/50 with ultrasound and the chinese gender predictor because when I used the gender predictor for my two daughters they were right. And my friends and family also was 100% correct so I really don’t know. As for the ultrasound the doctor said it was a girl, then the second time she said wait that looks like a penis, the third time she told me not to buy clothes for the baby and now yesterday I went there and she said it looks like a girl unless it’s a boy with very small testicles. I have no idea how to tell if it’s a boy or a girl. But, I didn’t know that I was pregnant until middle of January. Now it’s only a couple of days and I am due. My first two daughters I have always knew I was pregnant because I had morning sickness. With this I never had. My stomach looks different and I just have this feeling that it’s a boy. I even say it’s a he even if I am not sure myself. Well I am just crossing my fingers and praying that it’s a boy.

  26. i am a big believer in how you carry is a sign of what you’re having…my mother had 4 children..2 boys and 2 girls..she also goes by it. The needle test had been proven to be pretty accurate to me as well. i find out what i am having on the 15th. ive been told i am having a boy..but i feel otherwise..i have symptoms of having either a boy OR a girl…no morning sickness, a little acne, im not big enough to tell if im carrying high or low yet, but it seems to be growing higher so far. guess ill find out on the 15th, hopefully anyway.

  27. I’m am 3 months pregnant with my 4th child. It is completely different from my other 3. Which were all boys. I think it might be a girl but won’t get my hopes up. I’m more prepared 2 hear its a boy. If it is a girl ill be in complete shock!! This will be the 4th odd numbered year I’m having a baby so my mom thinks it’ll be another boy. Lol

  28. hi to all , i m also pregnant for the second time. I have a daughter and now wants a son, but very much confused abour the gender of the foetus.Everyone in my household is expecting a boy but that makes me all the more confusing. I’ll be starting my third month in next two days , can anyone tell me a fairly accurate method to predict the sex of the baby except ultrasound or chinese calender b’coz it proved wrong in my first case

  29. Hi all,

    I have a daughter of 3 yrs and planning to have 2nd baby. I’m sure i want a son this time. So i’m very carefull to conceive. Anyone pls suggest me the how to predict gender. I have a doubt in chinese calender also. In that the age must be completed age or running age? coz first time i was 25 completed and my LMP was aug 23rd.calender tells its boy but i had girl. If we claculate as per running age (i.e) 26, its seems true. any views or suggestions on this pls!

  30. my last LMP is 24/2/2009.now i am 9months.my date of birth is 21/12/1981.i want to know whether i am having a baby boy or girl?plz reply me?

  31. Hi,i want to know my baby is boy or girl to buy clothes or some other toys to buy from foreign by my husband who was working in foreign,my LMP date was 8.6.09 & my baby’s heart beat is 151bpm at 22 week my date of dob is 22.11.85.

  32. @janille
    Hey Janille, even I think what u said is right. But I have read it the other way around, if its even, then its a boy and odd then girl… but in my first delivery it was an Odd number, ie: 26 yrs old conceived in Nov, hence 37,and it was indeed a boy. Now I am expecting the second one. I am 28 now and conceived in the same month of Nov, and the resultant figure is 39 which is again odd… So am I gona get a boy again? My pregnancy symptoms are very different from the ones I had the last time. No sickness and pains at all!!

  33. The trick is getting the position of the U.S. right under their butts, and if there are 3 white lines (looks like two on either side of her labia, and one slightly larger in the middle) then baby is a girl, and if you see the little bulge of testes then baby is a boy. HOWEVER the bulge is unreliable because they sometimes mistake swollen labia (due to excessive hormones working hard at giving baby their sex) for balls, and you’ll end up with a little girl who has a bunch of blue outfits and dinosaurs and trucks!!!


  35. @susheela
    hi susheela & others too….i am told i’m having a girl at my 18wk ultgrasound but i badly want a boy. Could that prediction be wrong? pls. help.

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