Learning the gender of your baby can be an exciting milestone of your pregnancy. Ultrasound technology has made it fairly easy for your doctor to tell you whether you are having a boy or a girl. Paula Spencer and Tracy Gaudet, authors of "Body, Soul, and Baby: A Doctor's Guide to the Complete Pregnancy Experience, From Preconception to Postpartum," write that it is your choice whether you learn the sex of your baby. If you have made the decision to have your doctor tell you what you are having, you can prepare for the ultrasound before the big day.
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Wear a pair of stretchy pants. You will be asked to remove or lower your pants so the obstetrician can get accurate pictures of your baby, write Norman C. Smith and Pat M. Smith, authors of "Obstetric and Gynaecological Ultrasound Made Easy." You can ask the nurse for a gown if it would make you more comfortable.
Drink plenty of water before the ultrasound. An accurate picture of your baby's genitalia can be more easily obtained if your bladder is completely full. Try drinking at least 24 oz. of water in the hour before your ultrasound appointment so your technician can see your baby clearly.
Write down your specific instructions for finding out the gender of your baby. If you want to know but your partner does not, make sure the obstetrician knows beforehand so the news does not slip out accidentally. If you want to see if you can determine if your baby is a boy or girl before your obstetrician tells you, inform her of that before the ultrasound starts. If you want a picture of your baby so you and your partner can learn the sex in private, provide an envelope and ask you obstetrician to give you a picture, but to keep the news to herself.
Prepare yourself for some feelings of disappointment. If you have your heart set on one gender over the other, you may feel sad if you get the news that you are having the opposite of what you wanted, say Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris, authors of "From the Hips: A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Becoming a Parent." You may also experience disappointment if your obstetrician is not able to determine the gender of your baby, so be prepared for the possibility that you will leave without knowing if you are having a boy or a girl.
Bring a DVD or CD-ROM to save the pictures of your growing baby. You can ask for the printed pictures of your ultrasound as well, if your doctor is not able to download the pictures for you. Ask your obstetrician to point out body parts for you so you can share the pictures with family and friends.