Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Consumer Culture

Publication Date



Although expectant mothers have long purchased items in preparation for their baby’s birth, the timing and type of purchases being made have changed in response to pregnant women routinely learning the sex of their fetus through ultrasound. This article examines changes in these consumption patterns through data drawn from personal narratives with 25 women divided between two cohorts—those who gave birth in the 2000s and those who gave birth in the1970s. The routine use of ultrasound has encouraged changes in beliefs about the relationship between a fetus and its mother in younger women, which in turn inspires earlier purchases of baby items than was normative 30 years before. Not enough attention is being paid to the fact that newborn babies are more likely today than three decades ago to spend their first few months wearing gendered clothing and being surrounded by gender-specific furniture and objects, which their mothers are purchasing during pregnancy.