Posted on April 11th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Yep, it happens..the mistaken fetal sex guess. It can happen to anyone and sometimes does! We all have heard the story somewhere. A friend. Family member. Someone’s friend’s cousin’s sister-in-law.. The truth is that the right conditions can make anyone susceptible to an incorrect guess.  Consequently, discovery of the opposite sex inevitably leads to a roller coaster of emotions!

I have certainly been on the giving end of that conversation. Most of the time, it’s not pretty. The result usually accompanies shock and wonder at how this could have happened, especially with today’s technology. This is the typical feeling. However, still get the feeling that the general public thinks it’s the machine doing the guessing and not the observer. It always has been and always will be the observer who guesses, very experienced sonographers versus new to the field. Other healthcare professionals are more experienced and better than others at scanning. And some observers, unfortunately and unbeknownst to you, are not formally trained in ultrasound at all! Some (in the 3D business) are taking a crack at your baby’s sex don’t even come from the medical field. Scary, right?

That said, a whole world of other issues can interfere with the guess of someone more than qualified to make it. Factors like fetal position and patient size can both make visualization limited. This last statement is not an opinion..it’s a long-known fact within the field and has everything to do with the laws of ultrasound Physics. The more tissue the sound waves have to penetrate, the more limited the image will be once traveled back to the monitor. That said, I could see very well in a few of my heavier patients over the years and definitely struggled in some thinner ones. This is also because air and gas are not our friends in ultrasound. If your intestines are full, it can get in the way of what we need to see..even in the thinnest of people!

Readers from all over the world email me with their images for a second opinion on fetal sex. This can be very difficult when the image isn’t great to begin with. I always like to play it cautious..with my patients and readers. You’ll find one reader’s story below who wanted my opinion, but I was clueless. This baby didn’t look like a boy or girl to me, either!

She wrote initially expressing her confusion. She was 20 Weeks but couldn’t make out typical girl or boy parts. This was the image below.

Honestly, it looked a lot a like a girl to me but not a 20 Week fetus..maybe 25 Weeks or so. And it certainly didn’t look like a boy.

I wrote her back saying this:

Hi, this is not a very clear image but does seem to be a good angle. I don’t see anything sticking out so I would have to guess girl based on that alone. Maybe a future ultrasound may be more clear? I’m sorry I couldn’t help more!

Best,
wwavblogger 

She wrote me back a couple of weeks later:

Everyone said it’s a girl again. I was a little disappointed, but now he is here. Blessed with a baby boy. The family is complete now. Wanted to share this happiness with you. Thank you.

She was obviously much farther along than the image she sent, but I was a bit shocked that she had a boy (I have to admit)! However, I was so happy for her that she got what she wanted. My reply to her:

Oh, congratulations!! This is precisely why I don’t like to try to confirm sex with other sonographer’s images! Sometimes they just aren’t very good and depend on angle and experience. A lack of something in one shot is not a definite girl! Many blessings to you!

Now, obviously, we all look differently from one another and abnormally developing parts can cause confusion on sonography. I surely can’t say her baby didn’t have normal genitalia, but I’m still perplexed to this day. I feel very sure I could show that image to any of my former co-workers in ultrasound or docs, and I would bet my left arm they’d all guess girl!

I’d rather play it safe any day!

 

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