Knowing the sex of your baby enables you to decide on the name, buy specific outfits, and even decorate the nursery, if you have one, in a certain way. Remember, however, there's a chance that the scan (see Your 20-week Scan) gave you misleading information. The only way to be absolutely certain of the baby's gender is if you found out following a diagnostic test, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (see Diagnostic Tests).
If you know the sex, you won't have the same incentive of a surprise at the end of your labor, but you may feel you can bond more closely with your baby during pregnancy and picture what he or she will be like as a newborn.
If you don't know the sex yet, then you will have a well-earned surprise after your hard work in labor. Some women who don't know the sex of their babies say that they have a strong instinct that the baby is a particular sex, but may be quite surprised when they have a baby of the opposite sex.
Try to keep an open mind and not raise your hopes about having a baby of a certain gender-the odds are slightly in favor of you having a boy.
In the posterior position the baby faces your belly instead of your spine (see Lie and presentation). This position may prolong your labor, which can be tiring, and cause more of a backache. If this is the case, you can try the same methods as for turning a breech baby (see Repositioning your baby) to encourage your baby to move into an anterior position.
Sometimes the baby turns with the help of contractions when you are in fully established labor. If she doesn't turn, intervention such as the use of forceps or vacuum (see Assisted Birth) may be needed.
Still wondering what you're having? Well, to help you guess, you might want to bear in mind a few more old wives' tales...
Your body is designed to handle the pain of labor!
Nobody likes pain, but your body's endorphin levels will increase during labor to help you cope with it. So it's reassuring to know that as the intensity of the contractions build, so does your ability to handle them.
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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