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Is it a boy or girl? Your appetite can reveal the gender of your baby

By weeks 18-20, ultrasound scan may be able to determine your baby’s gender with certainty.

Although ultrasound test is the most accurate and reliable process to determine the gender of your child, your appetite can also tell whether you're carrying a boy or a girl.

It is illegal to determine the sex of unborn babies in India. Prenatal sex determination is banned under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, which was enacted to stop female foeticides and arrest the declining sex ratio in India. Ultrasound tests can reveal the sex of the unborn child, but doctors are not allowed to tell the parents. Are you eager to know whether your child is a boy or girl so that you can start shopping accordingly? There is one way to guess it correctly your appetite.

Pregnant women carrying boys eat about 10% more than those carrying girls, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2003. For their study, the researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health surveyed 244 pregnant women at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. They asked the women about their diet during their second trimester of pregnancy.

The survey results showed that women who gave birth to boys ate 8% more protein, 9% more carbohydrates, 11% more animal fats, and 15% more vegetable oils than women who delivered baby girls. Despite the extra food intake, the women carrying boys didn't gain any more weight than women pregnant with girls.

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The researchers speculate that the testosterone secreted by fetal testicles triggers extra food cravings in women pregnant with boys.

When can you find out the sex of your baby?

Although there are many old wives' tales to determine the gender of your child, the ultrasound test is the most accurate and reliable process. Usually, a baby's genitalia starts to form around week 7. However, most babies look very similar before the 14th week of pregnancy. By weeks 18-20, your ultrasound scan can show more accurate results with signs, such as an erect penis or the absence of a penis. But sometimes the baby may be in a position that obscures their genitalia. In this case, an ultrasound may not be able to determine your baby's gender with certainty even at the 18-20 week point. Similar is the case if you are carrying twins, where a second ultrasound may be required.

Other methods that can reveal the gender of your baby

There are many other techniques that can accurately determine the sex of an unborn child. These include:

Amniocentesis: This is usually done to test for genetic disorders or chromosomal disorders (such as Turner syndrome or neural tube defects). Amniocentesis or amnios are usually performed between weeks 15-20 of pregnancy. Through this test, doctors can also determine the gender of your baby. However, you should not go for these tests for the sake of gender determination alone as they carry certain risks.

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): It is an invasive diagnostic test usually done to examine for certain genetic abnormalities, such as cystic fibrosis and Down syndrome. This test can be performed as early as the 10th week of pregnancy and it can also reveal your baby's gender with up to 99% accuracy. However, it can lead to uterine infection or even miscarriage. So, it is not a suggested test for determining your baby's gender.

Cell-free DNA Testing

It is a blood test for the diagnosis of chromosomal conditions such as Down syndrome, Trisomy 13, and Trisomy 18. It can be performed from the 10th week of pregnancy. During this test, your doctor can also determine the baby's gender by checking for the presence of the male Y chromosome.

In Vitro Fertilization

In the case of in vitro fertilization (IVF), the sex of your baby can be determined as early as the start of your IVF procedure. Though screening may be expensive, it can give results with 100% accuracy.

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