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If an ultrasound shows a potential problem, don't panic. In most cases you will be referred to a specialist in diagnostic fetal medicine for a more detailed exam. This may be done with a three-dimensional (3D) scan which uses a computer to create a 3D image of your baby, enabling the specialist to see a cross-section of any part of the body. In most cases, the follow-up ultrasound will find that your baby is healthy; however, if a problem is confirmed, the early diagnosis will help ensure you and your baby receive the best prenatal care.


Once the ultrasound technician verifies ten fingers, ten toes, two arms and two legs, he or she may be able to tell you whether you are carrying a boy or a girl. An ultrasound performed between 20 and 22 weeks is 95 to 99 percent accurate in determining the baby's sex; any earlier and the genitals are too small to identify. Any later and your baby will be too large to see clearly between the legs. Technicians are instructed not to tell their patients the baby's sex automatically; but if you don't want to know, it's best to let the technician know right away. Try not to draw any conclusions if the technician refers to the baby as a "he" or "she"; they may call the baby one or the other as opposed to using the pronoun "it."

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