Posted on July 5th, 2017 by

Determining fetal sex by ultrasound is not as easy a task as most think. Actually, gender misconceptions pertaining to ultrasound are so common that I thought it worthy of yet another post.

Making a boy vs girl determination requires far more expertise than just sticking probe to belly. And babies do not just automatically cooperate! Baby’s legs need to be wide open and other parts cannot be covering over external genitalia. If so, the chances of holding that “reveal” party are slim to none.

Another common misconception is that we can force Baby to move. I promise you that if there was one magical button to push, there’s not one sonographer on earth who would hesitate for a second. Why struggle to give you the information you want if we could simply and magically flip Baby? Ugh, a girl a dream, but I think this technology lies in our distant future. Unfortunately, babies get comfy and only move into another position if they get the urge…and not a moment sooner.

Determining sex accurately is all about angles. Being far enough along with Baby in the right position is only part of the task..when I’m the one scanning, that is! Most of my emails come from people who want a second opinion. However, most of the time, it’s one I cannot give! Either Baby is too early or the image is just plain, well..terrible. In these scenarios, the truth is I just can’t comment on what I can’t see.

Most sonographers don’t mind telling you your baby’s sex, by the way! The problem for us comes when we can’t see what our patients want to know.  Even if we explain all the reasons, patients sometimes become upset or angry. I have scanned tens of thousands of babies. Anyone who has scanned as much can recognize when this information is obtainable and when it isn’t.

Tips For Your Next Ultrasound

So, here are a few recommendations for you to follow before your next ultrasound. No guarantees! But if you are busting at the seams to find out what you’re having, these tips just might work!

•Try eating or drinking something about 30 minutes prior to the exam. Baby typically becomes more active after eating. Now, I’m not condoning a double espresso and Snickers combo (yummy, yes; smart, no). We don’t want your fetus launching into orbit. Instead, try enjoying a hearty and healthy lunch or breakfast prior to your scan.

•Keep an open mind! Understand that not seeing the sex is definitely a real possibility!

•Don’t shoot the messenger! In other words, your sonographer would never intentionally withhold this info! …Unless, of course, it’s a policy of the facility to not guess sex.

Believe me! We would love to help you plan your party, shop for baby clothes, or decorate a nursery. It’s the most fun when we can! And when we cannot, it’s a real bummer..for you, because you leave disappointed and for us, because we’re (sometimes) blamed as the party poopers.

Great Pics of Fetal Sex

I’ve posted these before, but below are a couple of really great images of external genitalia, first boy then girl.

male fetal sex, around 27 Weeks

Male Gender

female fetal sex, mid-second trimester

Female Gender

Also, if you send an email asking for a second opinion earlier than 18 Weeks, you may receive the links below to other posts containing very easy, no-mistake pics of boys and girls!

Good luck on your next scan!

As always, thanks for reading and please subscribe for automatic posts in the right margin! >> You’ll receive a little something special (and free!) when my book on first-trimester ultrasound is published!

Here’s to happy and healthy!

wwavblogger, RDMS

Comments: 2 Comments »

Posted on February 8th, 2016 by

Not all ultrasound images are created equal! I know I’ve said this before but it is difficult for many people to understand that not all images between a baby’s legs produce an image of fetal sex. It is a tricky business!

An image may include part of a rear, part of a leg or foot or part of a cord without ever including external genitalia. Sometimes part of the genitalia might be in the image but if not entirely or at the proper angle, determining boy or girl just can’t be done. This is why you may have gotten an email from me saying that I just cannot confirm your baby’s sex even if you had a sonographer who contrarily appeared very sure with her guess. In my professional and very discriminating opinion, if her angle isn’t great and the image is questionable then her guess carries just as much weight in my mind.

A good analogy is if you look at a closed fist as certain angles, can you tell if all someone’s fingers are there? If you look at someone’s foot from the back, can you see whether they have toes? The same can be said for any number of body parts, not to mention any other thing in the world. Looking at a person standing directly in front of you doesn’t mean you know what they look like from the back. Oh, you might assume but you truly do not know whether you would find a curly pig’s tail or a third arm projecting from his back!

This is why not all images people send me of fetal sex are good, nor are they obviously boy or girl. So many factors go into what makes a good image, angle being the most important of all these. But that, my friends, is a post for another day!

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