Should I Find Out the Gender of My Baby? (And Why or Why Not?)

SHOULD I FIND OUT THE GENDER OF MY BABY-smallAs you probably already know, a pregnant woman can find out the gender of her baby via ultrasound between 16 and 20 weeks into the pregnancy.

This tends to bring up the debate of:

Should I find out the gender of my baby?

This really isn’t a life or death decision by any means.  

It’s a personal preference.  

It’s between you and your spouse, and it’s a decision that really affects no one but the both of you.

With that said, I have a few thoughts on it…

I’ve always believed a couple things as it pertains to whether or not you should find out the sex of your unborn baby:

  1. You should know whether or not you want to know.  It shouldn’t be a mystery or something that you have to research online (too late for that if you’re reading this blog post, I guess).  
  2. More information can only help.  Has anyone in the history of mankind ever been disadvantaged by knowing the gender of their baby?  Okay, fine, there are some cultures where it may make a huge difference, but let’s work under the assumption that boys and girls are (or should be) treated equally.

So, if you were to just ask me straight out, without any other information or contingencies, whether or not you should find out the sex of your baby, my answer would always been a resounding…


Or… if you and your spouse want it to be a surprise… then no, don’t find out.  

We don’t care.  Honestly.  

The rest of humanity will have to live with your decision either way.

However, I know some people like to make things more complicated. The real complication comes when one spouse wants to know the gender and the other doesn’t.

Even worse, the person who doesn’t want to know the gender ALSO doesn’t want his or her spouse to know it either.  Ugh. There will be plenty more things in life to disagree about – plenty more important things.

Why do we have to make a big deal out of this?

My ranting aside, you may find yourself in a position where you need to persuade your spouse one way or the other.  For you, I’ve prepared a list reasons why and why not find out the gender of your baby.

Why You Should Find Out the Gender of Your Baby (Cliff notes: Knowledge is power.)

  • You can begin planning the style of the baby’s room before he or she is born.  In many cases, the style or “theme” of the baby’s room will be tied to the baby’s gender.  If this is true in your case, you can get a head start on designing the baby’s room before he or she is born.
  • Equip yourself for the hundreds of times you will be asked the question.  When someone finds out you’re pregnant, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is, “is it a boy or a girl?” It’s easier to just give the answer and move on, instead of delivering an explanation for why you don’t know.
  • You can begin selecting a name.  Sure, you can do this after the baby is born, or decide ahead of time on a name for both gender scenarios. For some couples, however, agreeing on one name is a challenge.  To have to agree two names (one for each gender) could be time consuming and frustrating.  Save yourself the trouble and focus on picking one name.  (Here are some tips on how to pick a baby name.)
  • Plan a fun “reveal” event. Once the baby is born, its gender kind of takes a back seat to…the baby itself.  But before the baby is born, you can have fun with the gender revealing among friends and family.  Some people like to throw parties around this subject alone, and do things like bake a secret cake with a revealing color inside.  And I’m always looking for reasons to eat cake, so this fits perfectly.
  • Mentally prepare yourself.  This one definitely varies from person to person, couple to couple, but I know plenty of people who are dead set on wanting one gender vs. another.  It’s true that you’ll likely love the baby whether it’s a boy or a girl (at least, I hope so), but there might be a psychological barrier to cross in the process.  If you know several months in advance that you’re having a boy even though you really wanted a girl, you’ll have plenty of time to get comfortable with (and excited about) the prospect of raising a boy.
  • Give yourself peace of mind.  This kind of goes along with the last point about mentally preparing yourself.  Pregnancy, and the prospect of raising a child from birth, comes with so many unknowns.  So many “what if’s.”  So many things to potentially worry about.  Sometimes you can put your mind at ease by simply knowing more about the baby.

Why You Shouldn’t Find Out the Gender of Your Baby

  • Some people like surprises. You may be one of them.  If you genuinely like the mystery, then you’re probably better off not finding out the gender of your baby.  It certainly makes for a more exciting delivery on the birth date.
  • You’re the type of person who goes overboard with planning, and knowing the gender gives you more things to plan (which might be more stressful for you).
  • You can avoid gender stereotyping.  If you and your family/friends all know the gender of the baby before it’s born, there’s no doubt everyone will end up buying gender-specific clothes and toys.  If you’d prefer your child to have gender-neutral possessions, you might want to keep yourself from finding out the gender.
  • It’s fun to guess and listen to everyone’s theories.  Some people enjoy the fun of guessing, or dreaming up scenarios like “if it’s a boy, then this” or “if it’s a girl, then that.”  Furthermore, people will (unsolicited, mind you) offer up their theories about what gender you can expect. With 50/50 odds of being right, why not offer up a theory?

Does That Help?

As you can see, my bias does come out in this blog post as I can think of many more reasons why you should find out the gender of your baby vs. not finding out.  Ironically, I absolutely hate spoilers when it comes to TV shows and movies, but I’m more than happy to be “spoiled” by knowing my future child’s gender.

I can understand why some people don’t want to find out, however.

Sometimes that one reason to not find out is powerful enough to outweigh all the logical reasons on the other side.  Generally, it’s the element of surprise that most people want when they choose to not know the baby’s gender.

Hopefully this has given you a little bit of food for thought on this topic, but as I said in the very beginning, this is a personal preference that you should discuss with your spouse.

If you and your spouse don’t see eye to eye on this issue, send them the link to this blog post if you think it might help your argument. 🙂

Now, I want to hear from you:  Do you think you should find out the gender of the baby before it’s born?  Why or why not?  

If there are any good reasons missing from my post here, I’d love to hear about them (and possibly even edit my post to add them!).

About Eric and Tiffany Matthews

We're Eric and Tiffany, the parents behind Cynical Parent. We're just normal parents who are navigating parenthood with both eyes wide open (probably because there's a kid yelling nearby). And of course, we're pretty cynical. Don't believe everything you read or hear, whether it's on the internet, or from a close family or friend (or even from us!). Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Sometimes you just need to try and see for yourself. :)

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