When You Don't Agree on Finding Out the Sex of Your Baby

Doctor performing ultrasound on pregnant woman
Science Photo Library - IAN HOOTON/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

The scenario plays out, more often than you might think — one parent wants to know the sex of the baby before birth and the other one has reasons why they don't want to know. This can be a huge problem and yet there are many ways to solve it.

Choices for Moving Forward

Here are some options for handling this situation if you're at a standstill.

Buy Yourselves More Time

Sometimes you both just need some time to continue your discussions about what to do and yet the date for the ​ultrasound, when you could find out, is coming up quickly. Rather than feel rushed into a decision, ask the ultrasound tech to seal the answer in an envelope and place it in your file.

Not taking it home with you can help prevent someone from peeking or from giving in because it’s “right there.” You can also take the envelope home and decide later when or if you want to open it. This also means you do not have to wait until your next appointment to get the envelope. Fair warning: Sometimes family members try to peek!

You Can Both Get What You Want

It is possible to have one person know and the other not know the sex of the baby. In fact, this can be a lot of fun. Though you have to set the rules up in advance. consider not telling others the sex of the baby or even that one person knows. While one of you might be able to keep the secret, the same is not necessarily true for a mother-in-law or sister or friend.

Just remember, if you're the one who knows, be sure to argue about girl names and boy names to avoid giving the answer away before the big day.

One of You Wins

Which one of you wins really depends on issues at stake. Did you decide to find out because it was leaked to you by your medical care staff? Do you find out because mom (or dad) always wins? Maybe one of you finally decided that you were switching camps and joined the other party.

No matter what the reason, be sure both sides have been listened to and that there are no hard feelings about the decision. Sometimes there are emotional issues that go each way, finding out and being surprised. This is why a thoughtful conversation needs to take place.

One of You Wins This Time

Another alternative that some have suggested worked well for them was alternating who gets to decide if you find out. If you find out with this baby, you don’t find out with the next, etc. Now you only have to decide who gets to go first. You may also realize that in future pregnancies, one or both of you may feel differently, either because of life experiences or simply how the pregnancy is going.

It is not uncommon to have a family decide to be surprised the first time but feel like they need to know to plan more for a second pregnancy. Or perhaps you are planning to be surprised next time but you find out you're having twins, and that's a surprise enough.

How to Make a Final Decision

You may think that this is something that you don't need to discuss right away. But some prenatal tests can tell you the sex of the baby as early as the last part of the first trimester. Start talking about it sooner rather than later so you're not sitting there feeling the pressure to decide.

Try to make finding out a special time between the two of you. You have more options for finding out than simply having an ultrasound while you're alone at an appointment. In the end, the moments that you hear the words “It’s a girl!” or “It’s a boy!” are special, whether they are at the moment of birth or earlier in the pregnancy. 

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