Although we often think of medical technological devices as scientific tools to track progress and improve well-being, a few also satisfy our burning curiosity. A couple, for example, may simply want to know whether an expected child will be a boy or a girl and what their child will look like.
While this will have no bearing on the health of the mother or child, it may have some practical value, such as deciding whether to paint the nursery blue or pink. In short, the primary benefit of learning about the gender and appearance of a child is to satisfy curiosity.
Interestingly enough if you’re expecting a baby and asking yourself “What will my baby look like?” science can now do more than ever to teach you about your child such as informing you what your child’s physical characteristics may look like in the future.
Predicting Gender: From Urban Myths to Science
Before science became sophisticated enough to predict the gender of a child, cultures around the world developed many curious myths to determine gender.
- People believed that you could determine a child’s gender by how a mother carried herself.
- People believed that if you were going to have a girl, you were more likely to have morning sickness and acne breakouts.
- People believed that a particular type of food craving offered a clue, so craving for sweet foods suggested a girl and a craving for savory or salty foods suggested a boy.
Although many of these ideas did not stand up to closer scrutiny, some myths were a little more convincing because they appeared to have a scientific basis. For instance, if the baby’s heart rate was faster than 140 beats a minute, it was likely to be a girl. If the heartbeat was slower, it was likely to be a boy. In fact, so many people were convinced that it was true that researchers conducted an in-depth study on fetal heart rate during a pregnant woman’s first trimester. Eventually, they concluded that gender did not correlate with heart rate.
Your Child’s Gender
One way to determine the sex of your baby is to have some blood work done. A mother may get non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) done when she is 10 weeks pregnant. Although it’s designed to spot any rare genetic diseases by reviewing chromosomal conditions, such as Down syndrome, this test can also reveal your baby’s gender because chromosomal patterns also identify gender.
Another way to identify gender is through ultrasound. A doctor uses this medical procedure halfway through pregnancy to determine if the baby is developing the way it should. Routine ultrasounds can also determine the gender because of ultrasound pictures of sexual organs. Besides traditional ultrasound, there’s an even more sophisticated ultrasound system called 3-D ultrasound. As the name implies, it reveals detailed three-dimensional images of a baby.
Your Child’s Appearance
Besides gender, parents are often curious about their child’s appearance. Through DNA testing, they can not only learn a great deal about physical characteristics, such as eye and hair color, but they can even discover the best foods your child should eat.
Information about a child’s appearance can be even more specific than coloration, it can also include shapes. If parents want to know what type of features their child will have–for instance, whether the nose will be more like the mother or father, the nucleotide strings, that provide information about eye and hair color, can also describe the shape of the nose, chin, and other facial features.
In the final analysis, while blood tests, ultrasonic tests, and DNA tests are typically used to determine a baby’s healthy development in the womb, scientists have been quick to notice that these tests also answered other questions a family was eager to know about the new arrival.