Pros and Cons of Keeping Baby's Gender a Surpriseby Jodie Keith
When you find out that you’re pregnant, you might immediately know if you want to find out the baby’s medical sex or not. For others, the decision of whether or not to find out the gender is a much more difficult decision. If you’re not sure what to do: here are some pros and cons of keeping baby’s gender a surprise, to help you come to a decision!
Firstly: when can you find out the baby’s gender?
In the UK, the chance to find out the baby’s gender is usually offered at the NHS 20 week anomaly screening scan. You should discuss with the sonographer whether or not you want to find out at the beginning of the scan. It is important to note that different hospital trusts have different policies regarding finding out the baby’s gender, so if this is important to you then make sure to ask your midwife early on.
You can also find out the gender privately in the UK. Most private ultrasound baby scans will allow you to find out the gender from 16 weeks, and you can also have private blood tests which can inform you of the gender even earlier than this.
Pros of keeping baby’s gender a surprise
There are lots of pros to keeping baby’s gender a surprise, here are a few to consider…
Gives you something to look forward to
Having a baby is filled of both excitement and plenty of nerves! A lot of new mums find that the anxiety of giving birth, in particular, can be quite overwhelming. By keeping your baby’s gender a surprise, you can give yourself something to look forward to and focus on rather than the actual birth itself.
A nice surprise for family and friends
When I had my second, a family member actually commented that because we already knew the gender, the only ‘surprise’ was the baby’s weight. Let’s be honest: most people aren’t particularly bothered about a baby’s weight, so it’s not really a great surprise. It’s a much nicer surprise when you can say: “you have a granddaughter!” or “welcome to the world little baby boy!”.
You can turn it into a game
If you’re into this sort of thing, why not turn it into a game or sweepstake?! Ask people to guess the baby’s gender! This can be great fun if you're working whilst pregnant, and take some of the pressures off.
Lots of unisex clothing available
Luckily, nowadays, there are quite a lot of unisex clothing options. Most shops have plenty of options, especially when it comes to monochromatic and neutral colours – which also happens to be in fashion at the moment!
No chance of being told the incorrect gender!
Despite ultrasound practitioners being very skilled in their jobs, it is inevitable that sometimes the rare mistake can be made when it comes to identifying the baby’s gender in the womb. By keeping your baby’s gender a surprise, you don’t have to worry about this whatsoever.
Cons of keeping baby’s gender a surprise
There are lots of cons to keeping baby’s gender a surprise, here are a few to consider…
No gender reveal party!
Gender reveal parties are becoming more and more popular - if this is something you're keen on, then obviously by keeping your baby's gender a surprise you'll be unable to throw a party!
May be harder to bond with baby
Some people find it difficult to bond with their baby in utero and find knowing their baby’s gender helps them bond. Of course, as a society, we should feel at home using they/them pronouns, but some people may find this impersonal whilst pregnant and find that bonding with their baby is more difficult.
Limited choices of nursery decor
Whilst many people opt for more gender-neutral designs when it comes to decorating a baby’s nursery, it does of course limit your options if you do not know the baby’s gender. If you are feeling limited in your choices, Pinterest is a great resource to discover artistic and creative options to decorate your baby’s nursery.
Limited to unisex clothing
Some people love unisex baby clothes, others feel limited by the choice of grey or neutral colours. It’s definitely a lot easier to shop for clothes when you know the gender, and in my personal experience there is a LOT more choice for baby girls in particular.
Family and friends may struggle with buying gifts
Whilst there are plenty of choices of new baby gifts that are very much gender-neutral, some friends and family members may struggle if they do not know the gender.
Time to process gender disappointment
If you experience gender disappointment, finding out earlier gives you more time to process these emotions, rather than experiencing an overwhelming feeling of disappointment in the delivery room which may put a downer on those first precious moments with your baby.
Remember: whatever you choose to do, make sure it is what YOU want to do. Do not feel pressured or influenced to conform to anybody else’s wants or desires. Your baby, your choice!