17 weeks and 7 days pregnant
Like your own ear, your baby’s ear is made of soft and flexible cartilage. Although the outer ear is well developed at this stage, inner ear structures will continue to mature throughout your pregnancy.
Is it a boy or a girl? You and your partner may want to start thinking about whether you would like to find out.
The sex of your baby should now be apparent on an ultrasound scan, but you won’t have this for a couple of weeks yet.
Whether your baby develops into a boy or a girl depends on the presence or absence of a Y chromosome. Males are XY and the Y chromosome instructs the reproductive glands (gonads) to become testes. These then produce testosterone that inhibits the development of the internal female organs and in turn stimulates the normal development of the external male genitalia.
If there is no Y chromosome, the gonad becomes an ovary and the internal genitals are female by default; it’s not the ovary that dictates that the female reproductive organs will develop but the lack of testosterone. In the female the uterus is formed first and the vagina lengthens upwards to meet it.
Some pregnant women will want to delay buying a complete set of clothes for the baby until they know the sex, but not everyone wants to settle for either pink or blue.
Bear in mind that it might not always be possible to find out the sex of your baby at the 20-week scan. While most units have a written policy to reveal the baby’s sex at the 20-week-scan if this information is requested by the parents, some units have a policy of not telling anyone the sex of the baby from scans alone, partly because they cannot be 100 per cent accurate.
If you want to know the policy in your hospital or clinic, ask your midwife or doctor.
Our 20-week scan is fast approaching. I want to know the baby’s sex but my partner doesn’t. What should we do?
When one person in a relationship wants something that is at odds with what his or her partner wants, tensions can arise.
Like you, I wanted to find out the sex of my baby but my partner didn’t. We both explained our reasons: I felt that knowing the sex would better help me prepare for the birth, both emotionally and practically; my partner said he wanted the surprise element of discovering the sex of the baby at the actual birth.
Talk to each other openly and hopefully you’ll be able to reach an agreement. Try not to let the issue get out of hand and consider backing down if necessary. It’s important that you feel united at this special time.
You may find either one of you doesn’t feel as strongly once you start talking. You could agree to find out but not tell anyone else. If you do find out, don’t forget the result is not 100 per cent accurate.
The umbilical cord is growing thicker and stronger as it continues to transport blood and nutrients to your growing baby. Your baby is now bigger and heavier than the placenta.