Planning a ‘gender-reveal’ party? Some practical considerations

The popularity of gender-reveal parties to announce the gender of the baby has increased considerably in the past couple of years.
Jo Ann and Ben Eckert, along with Jo Ann’s daughter Callie (middle), released balloons during a photo shoot to announce the gender of Jo Ann and Ben’s baby.

Sometimes the baker knows more about the bun in the oven than the couple expecting the baby.

More and more people are finding out the gender of their baby by cutting into a cake – or coming up with other creative ideas – rather than getting the news in the ultrasound room. The popularity of parties to announce the gender of the baby, known as “gender-reveal” parties, has increased considerably in the past couple of years.

A significant percentage of our patients expecting their first child wait until their baby is delivered to find out the gender. Nothing can top the surprise of that approach.

But others, especially those who already have children at home, want to know ahead of time. Some plan elaborate events to share the news.

I perform many ultrasounds around 18 weeks of pregnancy, the time we can usually determine gender. It’s easy to know who are planning parties. They’re the ones requesting the result in a sealed envelope for the baker, family member, or friend who is making the arrangements.

I’ve heard many creative ideas from my patients including:

  • Pink or blue filling inside cakes
  • Releasing pink or blue helium balloons
  • Showering the expectant parents or all party guests in pink or blue silly string
  • Guests show up in pink or blue outfits to greet the expectant parents

Sometimes, especially when the father cannot be at the ultrasound appointment, the patient will ask us to put the results in an envelope so the couple can open it together at an intimate dinner. Technology also has come into play in recent years, with some patients emailing or texting the ultrasound picture to their significant other when he can’t attend the appointment. Many patients announce the big news on social media sites, too.

If you are thinking about planning a gender-reveal party, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Occasionally, we may not be able to determine gender at your ultrasound with 100-percent confidence. Body size, the baby’s position, gestational age, and the amount of amniotic fluid all can impact our ability to determine gender.
  2. Don’t schedule your party just a few days after your ultrasound. There is a chance we won’t be able to determine the gender at the ultrasound appointment, so it’s best to wait to pick the date and send invitations until you’re sure the sonographer could determine the gender.
  3. Think about how you might react to the gender announcement. I’ve had plenty of patients burst into tears of disappointment after being told it’s a boy or girl in the ultrasound room. Your reaction to the news will be recorded forever by guests at the party. And remember, the truly important purpose of the ultrasound isn’t to determine whether you’re having a boy or girl – it’s to make sure your baby is as healthy as possible.

Do you have an interesting story about your gender-reveal party to share? I’d like to hear it and share with our readers.

Check back next week to hear some of the stories that patients have shared with us.

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