Can a ultrasound be wrong about the gender of a baby? This is often one of the most common questions of expectant parents when coming in for an ultrasound session to determine the sex of their unborn.
Understandably, many parents would want to be sure that they are preparing for a baby boy or girl. It is one of those major things that parents look forward to in the 38 weeks or so of pregnancy, a “guessing game” that has been going on for probably as long as societies favor one gender over another. (The ancient Chinese have even developed a calendar to help parents determine the sex of their babies depending on the date they were conceived.) On a more personal level, knowing the gender of the newborn takes out guesswork early on, allowing parents to prepare better for the Big Day.
Consequently, as more and more parents rely on modern methods that determine the baby’s sex pre-delivery, the more they become disappointed when the forecasts do not match actual results. After all, parents do expect that detection methods like ultrasound are more reliable and fact-based, and therefore less prone to errors. As a result, they tend to get disheartened when all their hopes are thwarted and their efforts (in preparing for a blue room for the arrival of a baby boy, for example) gone to waste.
But such need not be the case. Ultrasound as a sex detection tool need only be used at the right moment to make the most of its “forecasting” ability. First time parents, for example, often get too excited to have their baby’s sex determined that they go to a sonography session too early in the pregnancy. While most ultrasound sessions for this purpose can be done as early as 18 weeks into pregnancy, the age of the fetus is still too young for body parts to develop into detectable shapes.
Even when ultrasound is done on the 24th week (roughly at the end of the second trimester), determining baby parts is still not conclusive, especially when the fetus is sonographed in a difficult position (that is, with legs crossed) which makes drawing conclusions hazy. Although doctors who interpret the results do have indicators whether to proclaim the baby a boy or a girl (using the “turtle” or “hamburger” test for example), there is still a slim margin of error in taking a sonograph at this age.
For parents who are eager to find out their baby’s sex, and ask “Can a ultrasound be wrong about the gender?,” the more accurate approach to determine a baby’s sex is to have it sonographed at around 32 weeks or older. At this point, major organs have developed to detectable sizes, making it easier for the medical professional to make better conclusions and make parents less disappointed.