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Should You Name Your Baby Before the Birth?

A name is one of the first gifts — and one of the longest lasting — that you give your child. Choosing a name doesn't always come easily, though. You may decide to keep your name choice to yourselves until your baby is born, or to wait until you see the baby to decide what name fits him best. Deciding whether to settle on a name ahead of time is a matter of personal choice.

Benefits of Choosing Beforehand

Choosing a name while your baby is still a fetus has several advantages. If you have a name you chose in fourth grade that you still absolutely love and you think other people might love too -- and you have several pregnant friends or relatives -- staking your claim to the name with your first positive pregnancy test will increase the odds that none of your friends will steal it from you. Having a name already chosen also eliminates the pressure of sitting in your hospital room staring at a form that's asking for your baby's name while your parents argue in the corner about which relative you should name your baby for.

Risks of Name Stealing

Choosing a name while your baby is still a fetus has several advantages. If you have a name you chose in fourth grade that you still absolutely love and you think other people might love too -- and you have several pregnant friends or relatives -- staking your claim to the name with your first positive pregnancy test will increase the odds that none of your friends will steal it from you. Having a name already chosen also eliminates the pressure of sitting in your hospital room staring at a form that's asking for your baby's name while your parents argue in the corner about which relative you should name your baby for.

MORE: 12 Gorgeous Vintage Baby Names

Dealing with Naysayers

Another risk of telling others your baby's name before he arrives — especially your relatives — is that they might hate the name and tell you so. Or they may try and persuade you to change the name, even resorting to bribery, in some cases. While it might be better to get this out of the way before the baby arrives, you might also find that people are less likely to tell you that they dislike a name once it belongs to an actual baby. Presenting them with a fait accompli after the baby's born may subject you to less family dissension.

Regretting Your Choice

If you choose a name beforehand and then realize that the name doesn't really fit the baby you're taking home, you have a dilemma. This is why it might be wiser to choose several names and wait to see which fits your baby once she's born. As long as you haven't written the name down on the birth certificate, you can easily change it. But even if you have made your choice official, you can still change your baby's name. It's better to jump through a few hoops to change a name that you realize almost immediately doesn't fit your child than cringe inwardly every time you say it for the next 50 years.

Photo via Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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