Discovering whether your baby is a boy or girl is a momentous occasion.
Some parents-to-be find out during a scan or through a blood test, while others leave it a surprise until the birth.
However, an increasing number of couples are finding out their child’s sex by holding a gender reveal announcement or celebration with family and friends.
Gender reveal events often involve the expectant parents popping balloons filled with pink or blue confetti, opening a box to release blue or pink balloons or cutting into a cake to reveal pink or blue sponge.
Some couples use smoke bombs or hand out scratch and see cards to share bub’s gender.
Others go to extreme lengths to reveal whether they’re having a boy or a girl. Some put on a fireworks display, hire fancy cars to do coloured smoke burnouts or jump out of planes with coloured parachutes.
Some gender reveal parties are a bit bizarre. An American dad, for instance, used a live alligator to bite into a melon that was blue on the inside.
Regardless of the method of celebration, it’s clear gender reveals have become popular in the last decade.
Their increase in popularity has been linked to the rise of social media and data from Google Trends show the events weren’t really searched online until around 2010.
Today, typing ‘gender reveal’ into YouTube yields more than 800,000 results.
Carnie Considine believes her son Beau, 8, decided he wanted the family to hold a gender reveal after watching one on YouTube.
Carnie’s fourth child is due on September 18 and Beau, who already has two younger sisters, didn’t want to wait until dad Glenn returned from the birth to discover his sibling’s gender.
“I think he saw it on YouTube. He must have come across one of the videos,” she said.
“He said ‘oh mum can we do one of those balloons and find out what we are having?’ I never felt it was my thing.”
Carnie, who grew up in Geelong and now lives in Melbourne, did the gender reveal while the family was holidaying in Byron with five other families.
She phoned a local company to pre-pay for a gender reveal balloon. Her mum then phoned the obstetrician to find out bub’s gender before calling the company to advise whether the confetti should be pink or blue.
Carnie said Beau and her daughters, Summer, 5, and Poppy 3, were hoping for blue confetti when the black balloon was popped.
“We had streamers, we did the countdown. I popped it and a big gust of wind came and blew the confetti everywhere.”
The confetti was blue!
“It was amazing. It was so emotional,” Carnie said.
“It was seriously the best thing we’ve ever done. People are still talking about it.”
Mother-of-two Jade McKellar said she Googled ‘gender reveals gone wrong’ before she and husband Sam held their own celebration.
The Warrandyte couple were always going to find out the sex of their third child, due in November, instead of waiting until the birth like they did with their daughter Eliza, 4, and son Archie, 2.
“Getting rid of my pile of pink or pile of blue clothes that was the main reason,” Jade said.
“And we also thought it was important for the kids to bond with the baby.”
However, the McKellars only decided to do a gender reveal when they were about to get the results from blood tests taken at 10 weeks into the pregnancy.
Sam didn’t want Jade to find out the gender before him, so they organised to have the sex written on an envelope.
They thought it would be nice to open the envelope in front of their families, but Sam’s parents were holidaying and wouldn’t be back for 10 days.
“Those 10 days the envelope was sitting on my car seat next to me and I was like ‘don’t open it, don’t open it,” Jade said.
When the 10 days were up, the letter was taken to Lombards which sells gender reveal balloons. The McKellars got a big black balloon covered with question marks and filled with coloured foil confetti.
The couple bought some champagne and invited the whole family around for the big reveal.
When they popped the balloon, confetti went high into the air and revealed they are having a girl.
“It was really for the kids, but once we did it that was really fun,” Jade said.
“We popped the balloon and the confetti came out – it went so high it went on the roof.
“The balloon was definitely spectacular compared to the cake cuttings I’ve seen – it was a really big pop and you realise it’s all over you and you have to look down (to discover the gender).”
Jade highly recommends a gender reveal announcement for anyone who wants to discover their baby’s gender before the birth.
“ If someone is dead set on finding out – it is a really fun way to do it.
“It was a really great surprise to have at the same time as all your family.”