Choosing the Sex of Your Child: Everything You Need to Know

Choosing the Sex of Your Child: Everything You Need to Know

As it stands, there are two proposed methods of determining the sex of an unborn child. One method suggests that trying certain sex positions (e.g. missionary position when trying for a female child) and abiding by a special diet can improve your chances of having a child of a specific gender. This method has no known scientific backing. Scientific gender selection has the backing of the medical reproductive community and here we explore how it works.

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1. What is sex selection?

The terms sex selection, gender selection, or family balancing are often used to refer to the process of using specialized lab testing to determine the sex of an embryo in its earliest stages.

2. How does sex selection work?

A couple trying to have a baby has a 50/50 chance of conceiving either a male or a female child. Knowing this, sex selection is made possible due to the presence of different chromosomal combinations in men and women. The male chromosome reads as XX, and the female chromosome reads as XY. To accurately select the sex of your future child, sperm containing the Y chromosome or an embryo containing the XY chromosome has to be accurately selected.

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Sex selection via IVF

Sex selection is complementary to in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is a fertility treatment that involves three steps, egg harvesting, egg fertilization, and transplanting. To begin IVF the treatment, a hormonal jab is self-administered by the patient around the stomach area three days into the beginning of a new menstrual cycle. The purpose of this hormonal treatment is to stimulate egg production. After about 36 hours, the eggs are retrieved from the patient (or an egg donor) and fertilized with either donor sperm or sperm from a partner in a lab.

After fertilization, the fertilized embryo undergoes incubation for about six days in an incubator whose conditions mimic a womb’s temperature. This stage involves two types of preimplantation genetic testing, namely, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). For PGD testing, an embryologist examines the DNA of the fertilized egg to check for specific diseases e.g. cystic fibrosis, while PGS tests for chromosomal abnormalities. Once completed, the healthy embryo of the preferred sex is transplanted into the uterine cavity via a catheter.

Sex selection via IUI

Sexual intercourse only makes it possible for a small number of sperm to swim through a woman’s reproductive tract. To improve the probability of sperm reaching the fallopian tubes, artificial insemination by intrauterine insemination (IUI) is usually preferred. The higher the chances of sperm reaching the fallopian tube, the more likely fertilization will take place.

In IUI gender selection, a semen sample from either a sperm donor or partner is then taken through a washing technique where healthy sperm is then separated from the semen. Sperm washing, as this is sometimes referred to, also clears the semen sample of seminal plasma that could make it difficult for the patient to conceive. The sperm sample is then analyzed for its motility, morphology, and number. It is also at this stage that the desired sex is determined. When the patient is ovulating, the cleaned sperm sample is later inserted into the uterus through the cervix.

3. Who considers this option?

Sex selection can be elective or considered for medical reasons. This option suits the following:

  • Couples who have previously lost a child and would like/prefer to have another of the same sex
  • Couples who feel better equipped to parent a child of a specific sex
  • Patients who are unable to produce healthy embryos of their desired offspring due to advanced maternal age (35 and above), low egg supply, low sperm count, or poor sperm quality
  • Couples seeking to avoid gender-based genetic disorders e.g. muscular dystrophy passed through from the mother to her male offspring

Scientific gender selection is a reliable method used by established fertility clinics to determine the sex of your child. Consult a trusted fertility expert for more information.

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Got a Bun in the Oven and Stressing Out? Here’s Your Month by Month Pregnancy to Do List

Here's-Your-Month-by-Month-Pregnancy-to-Do-ListMonth by Month Pregnancy to Do List

Got a bun in the oven and stressing out? We put together a month by month pregnancy to-do list to help make your pregnancy a little less stressful.

Finding out that you’re pregnant can be one of the most joyous discoveries of your life. But it can also be very stressful. There’s so much to do before your little one makes their debut!

If you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant and you’re wondering what you need to do during your pregnancy to prepare, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a month by month pregnancy to-do list to keep you on track. 

Month One/Two

Most women find out they’re pregnant between four and eight weeks into the pregnancy. This means that they’re in their second month of pregnancy before they even know they’ve got a bun in the oven.

You’re so early in your pregnancy, but there’s plenty on your to-do list already:

  • Start taking a prenatal vitamin if you haven’t already.
  • Choose an OB and schedule your first ultrasound.
  • Start cutting down on your caffeine intake. Caffeine fiends will be disappointed to hear that the American Pregnancy Association strongly suggests limiting your caffeine intake to 200mg per day for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may need to cut out some medications that could be harmful to your baby. 
  • Start avoiding or eliminating foods that could negatively impact your baby like sushi, high mercury fish, lunch meats, raw eggs, and soft cheeses.
  • Maybe go to your first prenatal appointment. If your pregnancy is deemed high-risk for any reason you may have an early ultrasound scheduled for this first visit.

It might be hard to tackle these tasks due to the exhaustion that goes with early pregnancy, but the first few months of pregnancy are crucial. 

Month Three

Once you hit your third month of pregnancy, it’s sinking in that you’ve got a little one on the way. Morning sickness and other early pregnancy symptoms are hitting their peak. Don’t worry, they’ll pass soon.

Here’s what’s on the pregnancy to-do list this month:

  • Go to your first prenatal appointment and have your first ultrasound. Some doctors won’t schedule this appointment until week 9 or 10, which is when they’re sure to hear a heartbeat and get a good ultrasound photo of your little one. 
  • Dial-in your diet and exercise. You’ll want to eat nutritious foods and make sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise four times a week to keep your body healthy and keep pregnancy weight gain under control. Be sure to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet and before changing your exercise regimen. 
  • Shop for maternity clothes! You probably don’t have a baby bump quite yet, but due to bloating caused by an influx of hormones, you may already have trouble fitting into your pants. 
  • Start planning maternity leave. Review your company’s maternity leave policy. By the end of the month, you might be ready to tell your employer about your pregnancy and you’ll need to be prepared to discuss maternity leave. 
  • Discuss genetic testing. Your doctor will offer genetic testing that can screen for certain chromosomal abnormalities. Discuss with your doctor and partner whether you want these tests. 

Morning sickness and other pesky first trimester symptoms might be slowing you down a bit. But make sure you stay on track with your to-dos so you don’t fall behind.

Month Four

You’ve made it out of the first trimester! Your morning sickness should be starting to pass and you might be sporting an adorable little baby bump. 

Here’s your to-do list for the month:

  • Start sleeping on your side. Later on in your pregnancy, sleeping on your back could lead to decreased blood flow to your baby. So, get a head start and get used to sleeping on your side now.
  • Start telling family and friends. Many people opt to wait until they’re out of the first trimester to start telling family and friends. The chances of miscarriage drop after the first trimester. So, if you haven’t already shared the good news, month four is the time.
  • Start your baby registry. Your baby shower will be here before you know it, so sit down with your partner and start adding items to that registry.
  • Ask your doctor about how to reduce pregnancy swelling. Your body produces more blood and fluids during pregnancy, which leads to swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, hands, and face. As your uterus grows, it also puts more pressure on your lower trunk, causing more swelling. Your doctor may recommend wearing supportive garments, like supportive garments, like compression socks, adding more potassium-rich foods in your diet, and proper rest to alleviate swelling during pregnancy.  

The second trimester is the easiest part of pregnancy for most women, so tackling these to-dos should be a little easier for a few months.

Month Five

By now those nasty first trimester symptoms are a thing of the past. You may even be experiencing a burst of energy. 

Take advantage of it to tackle this month’s to-do list:

  • Sign up for a childbirth class. Although these classes aren’t necessary, they provide a lot of helpful information about the birthing process.
  • Go for your anatomy scan. Around 20 weeks your OB will schedule an anatomy ultrasound. This ultrasound will be longer than your previous ultrasounds because the doctors are making sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be, that your baby is healthy and that your baby is growing at the right pace. This is often when couples find out the sex of their baby as well.
  • Finish up projects around the house. In the second trimester, your energy levels are likely to peak, which means this is the time to get things done. Once you hit the third trimester you won’t want to do anything but rest, so get it all done now!

Though you might be feeling like you can take on the world right now, remember to pace yourself. That burst of energy can turn to fatigue if you overdo it. 

Month 6

That third trimester is fast approaching! You’re feeling more ready than ever to welcome your baby to the world. 

Capitalize on that excitement with the tasks on this month’s to-do list:

  • Finalize childcare options. It may seem like you have all the time in the world to get childcare figured out. But many childcare centers have waiting lists that are months long. So, you’ll need to figure that out before the baby is even here.
  • Get started on the nursery. Many women don’t want to do the physical work of setting up the nursery during the third trimester. If that’s you, then you’ll need to at least get started on decorating and furnishing baby’s nursery this month. 
  • Get tested for Gestational Diabetes. Some women develop diabetes during pregnancy. It’s easy to manage with dietary changes. Get tested this month to see if you need to make changes.
  • Arrange your Birth Plan and Preregistration. If you have specific desires for your birth experience, write them down so you can share them with your providers and the hospital. Also, preregister with the hospital so you don’t have to take care of that while you’re in labor.

As your second trimester comes to a close, make sure that you’re taking advantage of how good you’re feeling. These to-dos will get harder to manage in a few months.

Month 7

Welcome to the third trimester. Baby’s arrival is closer than you think, so make sure you handle this month’s to-do list in a timely fashion.

  • Prenatal appointments become more frequent in the trimester. You’ll be seeing your OB every two weeks until the last month of your pregnancy.
  • Finish up the nursery and baby proof the house. Baby won’t be mobile for a while, but you don’t want to have to deal with this once the baby is home.
  • Have an awesome time at your baby shower. Make sure to get lots of pictures.
  • Buy the essentials. Anything that you didn’t get at your baby shower should be purchased by the end of the month.

Some women feel great all the way through their third trimester. But for some, this is when they start to get really uncomfortable. As you take on these to-dos, be sure your planning plenty of time for rest.

Month 8

The countdown is on now! You should be settling down for some rest at this point, but there are still a few tasks on your to-do list for this month.

  • Pack your hospital bag. Hopefully, your little one won’t make their entrance early, but in case they do, your bag should be packed.
  • Have a maternity photoshoot. You might not feel like having your picture taken right now, but once the baby is here you’ll want the memories of what that bump looked like. Finding a maternity photographer is important since you want someone who specializes in this kind of photoshoot.
  • Pick a pediatrician. Do your research, meet with a few, and pick your favorite by the end of the month. They’ll drop in to check out your baby after birth.
  • Get tested for Group B Strep. If you test positive, you’ll need antibiotics during labor to protect your baby. But don’t worry. Baby’s not in danger if you have it. The antibiotics take care of that.

At this point, you might be having trouble sleeping. That can make keeping up with these to-dos difficult. But make sure you’re keeping on top of them since your baby is almost here.

Month 9

Once you hit week 37 of your pregnancy baby can safely come at any time. Because of this, you should take care of any last-minute to-dos in the first couple of weeks of month 9.

  • Make and freeze some meals. Cooking is the last thing you want to do when the baby gets here. So, set yourself up for success by making some easy to reheat meals and sticking them in the freezer.
  • Install your car seat. Your partner does not want to be stuck trying to figure this out in the hospital parking lot, so take care of it now.
  • Send thank-you notes for shower gifts. There won’t be any time for this with a newborn.
  • Try to relax. This will be difficult considering you’re uncomfortable and anxious about the baby’s impending arrival. But do your best to practice some relaxation and breathing techniques. These will be indispensable during labor. 

The last weeks of pregnancy are a time of both excitement and anxiety for most women. Take as much time as you need for yourself, and make sure you’re getting help from loved ones to handle these last few tasks. 

Conquering Your Pregnancy To-Do List

This looks like a lot. And that’s because it is! There’s a lot to do to prepare for your baby’s arrival. But lucky for you, you’ve got time. 

Follow this month by month pregnancy to-do list and you’ll be as prepared as you can be for your new little one.
For more information about preparing to meet your baby, check out the Parenting section of our website.
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