Posted on April 27th, 2017 by

3D - 9 Weeks

9 Week Embryo in 3D

Ultrasound Facts vs Common Misconceptions

General Stuff

  • Technically speaking, ultrasound is the study of the subject (the field of ultrasound) and a sonogram refers to the examination itself.
  • Current biohazard testing reveals no ill effects of ultrasound on the fetus, mother, or sonographer. However, on-going tests show increasing levels of heat after scanning for several hours in one area. This is much longer than the time required for performing a diagnostic test. It is also why the prudent use of the technology is recommended. The benefits of the information from diagnostic exams for patient and physician currently outweigh the risks.
  • Ultrasound is just that..sound that is a frequency beyond human hearing. Nope, your fetus cannot hear it, either!
  • Someone newly trained in the field earns the credentials of DMS or Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. He or she has completed some sort of formal or on-the-job ultrasound training. This person is usually relatively inexperienced and has not yet passed the registry examination. This person should have direct supervision in performing your examination.
  • RDMS stands for Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. A sonographer earns these credentials when she has passed a registry examination in his/her ultrasound specialty. This person will typically have at least two years of experience. He or she should be qualified to do your examination without direct supervision.
  • 4D is 3D in motion or a live 3D image.
  • Most people are familiar with 3D imaging as a fun way to see the outside of their baby. This best utilized later in the 2nd trimester and mostly used for the face, hands, or feet.

    Performing Your Exam

  • Every practice is different. Most physician’s order a first-trimester ultrasound examination to date the pregnancy. This is usually performed with a vaginal probe. If no other problems necessitate another scan, the next is performed around 18-20 Weeks. Most women know this as the anatomy screen where the fetus and maternal parts are evaluated for abnormalities. This study is not ordered to determine sex! And determining sex at this examination is never a guarantee nor should it be an expectation.
  • The health of your pregnancy determines whether you will receive more ultrasound scans after your mid-pregnancy anatomy screen.
  • 2D ultrasounds are the grey-scale images you might recognize during your diagnostic examinations. Occasionally, a high-risk practice will usually also use 3D to assist in visualizing a fetal abnormality. We also frequently use the technology for GYN scans to attempt a better look at uterine shape and/or IUD placement.
  • The ultrasound machine is never “wrong” in determining fetal sex. It is the observer who is incorrect. Guessing the wrong sex can be due to one or a combination of many factors. It is possible your baby was in a difficult position to see well. Maybe you were too early in your pregnancy for an accurate guess. Additionally, an overall poor view can also limit fetal sex determination.
  • Ultrasound can never predict how much your baby will weigh at birth. All we can do is measure your baby’s head, belly, and femur for an educated guess at the time of your scan. We can typically track a trend for large or small babies. And we know the average gained weight in the last few weeks is about 1/2 lb per week. However, every baby is different!

Your Ultrasound Results

  • Yes, the sonographer can read your examination. But your OB/GYN physician or radiologist must ultimately interpret the images and report we create. Only your physician can legally give you results.

Patients ask me these questions on a very regular basis. I hope it was helpful!

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Posted on July 13th, 2014 by

I think not. I was mailed a flyer from a 3D ultrasound businesses who offer 3D franchises and ultrasound education in a matter of days for anyone off the street with no prior ultrasound knowledge or training. The goal? To start their own entertainment ultrasound business. Before this, I had no idea such a business was even legal.

Firstly, I don’t want anyone to believe this nonsense. As a certified sonographer of over 23 years, I feel confident enough to say that no one can adequately learn ultrasound well enough in days or weeks to be responsible for the moms and babies they scan. And, furthermore, the people “teaching” haven’t learned it, either.

To Those Who Are Not Qualified to Scan..

Make no mistake about it. Waiver or not, if you scan a pregnant woman for fun and miss gross pathology, you can still be the subject of a law suit. Contrarily, how would you handle seeing something you feel is abnormal or you cannot explain? What do you say to the patient? Would you even know if a problem existed? If you do not have experience in the medical field, you also have no idea how to address a mother-to-be with a fetal abnormality. Most of us only get slightly better at breaking terrible news, but it is never easy. It is always a sad and difficult scenario. This unfortunate experience will inevitably be yours at some point. How do you explain to your this to your customer when you have no idea what you are seeing yourself?

Moreover, I will also add here that it takes a bit of artistry and (again) proper training and experience in order to obtain good 2D images, which are also needed in order to create good 3D images. Providing sub-standard images takes advantage of the customer paying for it, especially when they assume you know what you are doing. Anyone can set up a 60″ monitor and some comfy seating.

Good Luck Guessing Fetal Sex!

Now, let’s address fetal sex. I have what seems like hundreds of posts on this subject! These places market accurate determination of fetal sex guaranteed by refunding your money along with a gift certificate if they are incorrect. This is irresponsible. A guess too early in pregnancy is a toss-up. An expectant mom is better off flipping a coin than to pay these people to casually throw out any guess. For those of you who are entirely out of your realm of expertise, anyone can show you how to press a few buttons. It doesn’t mean that you providing a fair service or doing it well. It’s unethical, and you shouldn’t be doing it at all.

And to patients who utilize these facilities, please be sure to ask if the person scanning you is a certified sonographer with experience and not a former used-car salesman. You are paying someone real money for this service. It’s disgraceful enough that some of these places boast they are “mom and pop” shops. In my opinion, this is only a good thing if you are running a restaurant. They either employ those who are right out of school or with no formal training at all. Please do your research. You would be better off with this elective scan at doctor’s office instead. A sonographer there is far more likely to detect a problem if one exists. At least your doctor or another physician would be in-house to discuss it with you and answer your questions.

Please Do Your Research!

I’ve made it no secret in my past posts that I’m not a fan of these cash cows. I believe that non-medical personnel should not be scanning pregnant women or utilizing medical equipment.

Even though this can be a fun experience for the family, the potential for serious issues is real. Please do your homework first, educate yourself, and make an informed decision. Giving these places your hard-earned cash may not be worth your while.

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Posted on February 1st, 2014 by

I added images to this post I made the other day for your comparison.  Check it out!

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Posted on January 28th, 2014 by

There’s been so much hype surrounding 3D/4D ultrasound and I have posted on this before but it’s been a while so it’s worth revisiting!

Your regular ultrasound is 2D, that is to say it is 2-dimensional so we only see two planes at a time.  Our regular vision is 3-dimensional so that we perceive depth.  Therefore, the ultrasound image is like looking at a flat piece of paper.  It carves out a 2mm slice thickness and we see whatever is in that plane.  We move the probe around in order to make a mental 3D picture in the sonographers’ mind so that we know how your baby is positioned and where to find all the parts.  It’s as complicated as it sounds!

We usually say the best time for a 3D scan is when you are about 27-28wks.  Yes, it’s possible to do it later but the farther along you are the more engaged the head gets, the less room baby has and the harder it can be to see..ergo, we may not be able to get good images.

What we need for a good image…

Baby needs to be looking up or even a little to one side with a great pocket of fluid in front of the face, no cord, limbs or placenta in the way!  If all these things are so, we can get AMAZING images!  If not, we can’t.  It’s kinda all or nothing.  Sometimes we can get a partial face shot but those are not always great.  See the image below:



Compare to the much better 3D image below.  Huge difference!


To further clarify, 3D is a frozen image, 4D is seeing baby move in 3D…yawning, sticking out the tongue, opening his/her eyes (which freaks some people out but I think it’s cool, of course).  So if baby is active, we can record these video clips.  We typically save all images and clips to a DVD for you to take home.

Be sure to ask your doctor about the policies regarding these exams at his/her office, especially regarding what time-frame they want you to schedule and their policy if baby is not cooperating.  If you can have this done at your doctor’s office, PLEASE, for the love of Pete, have it done there and not the local Peek-A-Boo-3DMommy-and-Me-good-for-nothing-and-nobody ultrasound turnstile.  Just my opinion;)


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Posted on July 4th, 2012 by

The question of the day pertains to freestanding 3D ultrasound imaging businesses..let’s say, in your local mall.. To do or not do?!

Well, parents, all I can do is give you my professional and very own personal opinion.  No way in hell would I ever advise someone to visit one of those cash cows much less pay them for it.  SOMEtimes, the people scanning you are not even certified (having completed a formal ultrasound program) or registered (having also passed a registry examination in the field of OB/GYN with at least a couple of years experience).  They sometimes “train” someone to find a face, hand or foot and teach them to hit a few buttons.  Really ticks me off a business like this can even be established.

Firstly, performing ultrasound well requires highly-specialized training and years of experience to become a really good and competent sonographer.  It’s not learned overnight and recognizing certain pathology can take years.  I know you really want to know the gender of your baby but at what cost?  You also want your sonographer to be correct!!  The less experience someone has, the greater the chance there is the gender determination could be incorrect.   This is precisely how these things happen.  I don’t care if it’s an OB doc who does very little scanning or a new sonographer to the field..inexperience is inexperience.

Also, many of these places will either overlook a fetal abnormality or, if inexperienced, not recognize one altogether.  Who do you want telling you that your baby has a problem??  Your OB doc, of course, that you respect and have developed a relationship with in your pregnancy.

Furthermore, it is my professional opinion that no one should lay hands on you that is not of your OB doc’s practice.  The cash cows will be miffed that I’ve said this but it’s my site and I can be as honest as I’d like, right???!!!  I’m telling you this for your own protection.  Let your doctor’s office be the only one providing you with all the care you need.  Chances are, in this day and age, most OB docs have 3D services they can offer you.  Anymore, it is a matter of software that is added to practically every ultrasound machine manufactured.

Work with me, people.  If you don’t visit them, they’ll have no choice but to close their doors.  It’s the innocent ignorance of the public on this issue that keeps them open.  But they don’t want to tell you any of the above..or just maybe you WILL stop going to them.

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