ZocdocAnswersHow early can one tell the sex of a fetus?

Question

How early can one tell the sex of a fetus?

How early can doctors tell you the sex of your baby? I want to get ultrasounds as often as it makes sense to do so, but I'm willing to put it off for a while if they can tell me the sex on the first visit - I feel like that would be more of a surprise. When is the soonest I should go? How late is it safe to wait?

Answer

Most OB / GYNs have a very specific schedule they like their patient's to follow in terms of exams and ultrasounds. This issue is best brought up with the doctor you plan on using for all your prenatal care and for your delivery. Most OB / GYNs recommend two full ultrasounds throughout your pregnancy. This does not include the Doppler ultrasounds to detect your baby's heart rate which is done at almost every visit with your doctor. Your doctor will like to do an ultrasound initially at 7-9 weeks in which the baby's due date will be calculated. The second ultrasound is done sometime during the second trimester (often between 16 and 20 weeks) and is done to evaluated growth, look for birth defects and other possible genetic diseases. Sex determination ultrasounds are not a part of the most routine prenatal schedules. Therefore sex determination ultrasounds are either done at the patient's request (and sometimes expense) or as a part of the second routine ultrasound between 16 and 20 weeks. Sex determination cannot be done at the first ultrasound (7-9 weeks). I do not think it is wise to put off your first ultrasound, even though you won't be able to tell the sex of the baby. Good luck with your pregnancy!

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