Posted on July 18th, 2017 by

Is ultrasound radiation?! After 25 years in the biz, it would be news to me – and to every other physician, engineer, and manufacturing company in relation to the technology. Not to mention those who have conducted biohazard testing in the field since the early 1900s…

What Exactly is Ultrasound? (Since It Isn’t Radiation)

Ultrasound is just that. Ultra Sound, or sound waves that work at a frequency far beyond human hearing. Like a fish-finder one might use on a boat. Or sonar used by the military. Human hearing ranges from about 20Hz (Hertz) to 20,000Hz (or 20kHz). When it comes to creating an ultrasound image, we work in the MHz range or millions of Hertz. An OB probe ranges from about 2MHz – 13MHz.

Ultrasound is a department of Radiology within a hospital, but it does not emit radiation.

So, Who Thinks Ultrasound is Radiation?!

Apparently, someone who hasn’t done her homework. I was floored recently while doing research for my book when I came across an author of a very popular pregnancy book (who will remain nameless…for now) who actually wrote that ultrasound is radiation.

She also claims that the Doppler used by physicians to obtain heart tones emits more radiation than scanning equipment! Wrong again, Doppler is ultrasound.

How does this happen? After all, she supposedly had the help of “knowledgeable” medical resources to write the book. Are they the only healthcare providers on the planet who don’t know Ultrasound is not X-Ray? And if not, why not?

I have no idea if this author has recanted this falsehood. I tried to Google it with no confirmation. If she did, I give her credit. If not, she owes an explanation and apology to her faithful readers and social media followers. She is incorrectly influencing millions of parents-to-be with this misinformation, and it’s not okay. She is adding needless fuel to the fire, and moms worry about enough as it is.

Additionally, she then goes on to advise moms to only have an ultrasound if they really want one, but to not have more than they need. To me, this begs the question…is it radiation or is it okay?

I would like to think she did not intentionally mislead her readership. But as a published author, ignorance is no excuse.

What is Radiation?

It is a transfer of energy that also travels in waves. For example, radiation is found in light from the sun, microwaves, and X-Rays. But not sound waves. And, yes, exposure to radiation can cause cancer. One example is skin cancer from too much sun exposure.

Consider this. When you go to the dentist, what is the first thing asked of any woman? “Is it possible you might be pregnant?” If the answer is “Yes” or “I’m not sure,” they shield your belly to protect Baby from the minuscule dose of radiation from a one-second X-Ray of your teeth.

If an obstetrician’s job is to manage the health and care of Mother and Baby, and it is, why then would docs expose their patients directly to radiation? And what about sonographers? We all would be directly exposed numerous times a day, every week for the duration of our careers. None of us, patients nor sonographers times decades, have died from cancer due to ultrasound exposure.

Is Ultrasound Safe?

Biohazard testing over decades has shown cavitation, the development of bubbles, over many consecutive hours of scanning in one area. So far, there have been no known effects for the very short-term use as needed by your doctor for your diagnostic scans. Therefore, it’s been the feeling of the medical community that the benefits far outweigh any risk, and they justify the use of ultrasound only for diagnostic purposes. So, no, they are not an advocate of the private entertainment ultrasound scan in the strip mall near you. And neither am I, but this is another post altogether. It’s also the responsibility of the sonographer to use as low a power setting as needed to obtain an adequate image.


One of the reasons I started this blog five years ago is because patients were misinformed – by Dr. Google, family, or friends. I expect as much from a random non-medical blogger, and I was even more enraged to find misinformation being doled out on popular pregnancy sites. But this took the cake.

It’s one thing to express one’s opinion. But when you’re making tons of money by persuading expectant moms to adopt your line of thinking, you have the responsibility to get your info right. No one says anyone has to be a fan of ultrasound. And as a mom, you have the right to decline. Before you do so, speak with your provider. You need only to understand your choice. Any mom who ever delivered a baby with serious problems was happy to know about it in advance for planning and educational, emotional, and delivery purposes. This, in fact, is the purpose of obstetric ultrasound.

And if you’re all about moms and choices, and those choices are power? The power only comes from a parent who makes an informed choice, not one based on misinformation. It is my wish and goal to simply and accurately explain ultrasound for moms-to-be and stamp out the misconceptions. Understanding is also power:)

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and informed pregnancy!

wwavblogger, RDMS

wwavblogger, RDMS


As always, thanks for reading! Please feel free to email your comments or questions to me at

You can also subscribe to the right>>>to receive automatic posts (of course, you can always opt out!)

PS Readers! Finally! In preparation of publishing my book, I will very soon be introducing myself! Real name, real face. I’ll be happy to meet you all! Stay tuned!

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Posted on July 6th, 2017 by
I’ve received questions lately regarding where to find fetal sex or gender in an ultrasound report. Can you always find this information in a report?
The short answer? No, not always.
Actually, we mostly do not record fetal sex, and it’s mostly not important to your doc. Typically, fetal sex is not pertinent information to the examination. Though parents may desire it, physicians don’t need this determination to manage your care and that of your baby if both are healthy. The above is true for most general OB practitioners in the US. However, every physician practices a little differently, and one can certainly dictate if he or she wants this info on all patient reports (if possible to determine). The case may be different if you are seeing a high-risk OB doc, aka a perinatologist. Their reports consist of much greater detail and may possibly include a fetal sex/gender guess.

Example of a Blank Report

In the images of a sample report taken from a monitor, you’ll notice there is a whole host of blanks to fill, but fetal sex is not one of them. On the first page where you see Sex: Other, this refers to the patient. Patient demographics were not entered here, so the Sex option defaulted to Other. We always include your LMP or EDC/EDD – aka baby due date. The larger blue space would be filled with fetal measurements, estimates of gestational age, and fetal weight as they are obtained.

OB ultrasound report

OB ultrasound report
In the pages above, you’ll note the list of fetal organs and structures we attempt to document on a mid-pregnancy anatomy screen. We only fill out the section called BPP in the 3rd Trimester when your doc orders this particular examination. And the CVP is usually only filled out when performing a Fetal Echo or detailed heart examination.

Exception to the Rule

There always seems to be at least one exception to every rule. Because the responsibility of a sonographer is to search out structural malformations, we also have to report suspicions of abnormal external genitalia. In other circumstances, we may see particular abnormalities that we might group together, as in the case of certain syndromes. Sometimes, knowing fetal sex helps physicians either support or rule out a particular chromosomal or structural problem. Some of these are gender specific. In the pic below, we have a designated space on a Comments page to expound on our findings. We can add fetal sex here if we feel it is pertinent information to the findings.
OB ultrasound report
In some countries, fetal sex is neither reported nor discussed with parents due to the cultural preference of one sex over another. And some facilities are beginning to incorporate policies against providing parents with this news due to litigious reasons. Unfortunately, such is life in the good ol’ US. Facilities want to limit their liability for guessing incorrectly by simply not allowing their sonographers to guess at all.
So, if you don’t want to know your baby’s sex (or even if you do!), don’t expect your ultrasound report to disclose that information. Your sonographer creates the images and report. We only include what is needed and leave out what is not!
Best wishes for happy and healthy!
wwavblogger, RDMS
wwavblogger, RDMS
PS ~ You can subscribe to my blog for automatic posts (you can always opt out)!
As a thanks, you’ll receive a little something special when I publish my first book on 1st Trimester ultrasound! 🙂
As always, you can email me with your comments and questions at

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Posted on April 28th, 2017 by

Factual ultrasound information can be hard to find. No one knows that better than a newly-expectant mom with loads of questions! How do you know what’s accurate and what’s not? With so much info at our fingertips, too much Googling just seems to lead to more unanswered questions, doesn’t it?

As a sonographer (ultrasound technologist) with formal training and twenty-five years experience in OB/GYN, I am amazed by what I read on other sites about ultrasound. And it’s not just from blogs and forums filled with personal opinion. Misinformation also comes from parent/child sites and even some of the most popular pregnancy books that the general public would expect to be reliable. These articles or posts or books, I realize, are written by authors with no obvious medical training or experience. But their information should be coming from reliable sources. If they have interviewed someone who is in the medical field, some facts seem to get a little lost in translation from interviewee to print.

Five years ago, I ran across a blog about ultrasound…the uses, technical details, what we can see, and how we can see it. The level of wrong in this post left me dumbfounded! It was clear to me that this person had absolutely no medical knowledge whatsoever. It’s not too hard to spot when they use the terminology incorrectly in nearly every sentence. What bothered me the most was that someone left a comment thanking this so-called author for the “valuable” information. It struck me then that many people actually do believe anything they read on this crazy web thing.

So, Where Can You Find Accurate Ultrasound Information?

If you have a curious knack for researching ultrasound on the internet, just be sure to check out someone’s bio. Look at the author’s credentials. Do they reference their experience and knowledge in the field? You can determine whether that individual’s level of experience with a particular subject before taking the information at face value. If an author is not a sonographer, physician, or medical professional with ultrasound knowledge, just know that what you are reading may not be entirely accurate. And if you have questions about what you read relative to your pregnancy, ask your doctor! She or he is always going to be your most reliable source for credible advice on your health and that of your baby.

My Pledge to My Readers

My desire to create a platform where an excited new mom can find accurate info about ultrasound drove me to create this blog. Hopefully, expectant couples with curiosity about their scans can find a little general info here. Please feel free to email me at Ask me your questions; tell me your ultrasound stories. Remember, no blog, no site, no forum can replace the healthcare professional! We are not your doctor, we do not manage your pregnancy, nor do we have any knowledge of the health of you and your baby. Carefully consider what you read, and direct any concerns to your doctor for the best advice you can follow:)

Stay tuned for the release of my first book about first-trimester ultrasound!

Coming Soon!

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9 Week Embryo, ultrasound information, 9 weeks pregnant

9 Week Embryo

Thanks for reading! And best wishes for happy and healthy!

wwavblogger, RDMS
wwavblogger, RDMS


Comments: 6 Comments »

Posted on April 27th, 2017 by
3D, 9 Weeks, ultrasound facts

3D 9 Week Embryo

Ultrasound Facts About 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, ongoing tests show increasing levels of heat after scanning for several hours in one area. Over-scanning for long periods can cause cavitation or the creation of bubbles. This is much longer than the time required for performing a diagnostic test. Additionally, for this reason, only the prudent and diagnostic use of the technology is recommended by ACOG, ARDMS, and any other professional medical organization. The benefits of the information from diagnostic exams for patient and physician currently outweigh any known risk.
  • Ultrasound is just that…sound waves that operate at a frequency far beyond human hearing. Nope, Baby cannot hear the sound waves! Human hearing ranges from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. Diagnostic ultrasound operates in the millions of Hertz. Ultrasound probes range from about 2 – 13MHz.
  • Ultrasound is sound waves, NOT radio waves. No radiation is emitted by ultrasound equipment or Dopplers utilized by your physician to detect Baby’s heartbeat.
  • 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. Additionally, the best and cutest 3D images are obtained later in the 2nd trimester or very early in the 3rd. Baby’s skin has developed more fat at this point which makes for chubbier cheeks!


Ultrasound Credentials for Sonographers

  • 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 he or she has passed a registry examination in his/her ultrasound specialty. Moreover, a certified sonographer will typically have at least two years of experience.
  • Not everyone who scans an expectant mom in a 3D non-medical business is a certified OB sonographer. Some have no formal ultrasound training whatsoever! These businesses are not regulated like medical practices. They may not be knowledgeable of or follow guidelines for equipment maintenance. Ultrasound equipment that is not properly maintained can be an electrical hazard for mother and/or fetus!!!


Ultrasound Facts About 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 scan as the anatomy screen where we evaluate fetal and maternal parts for abnormalities. This study is not ordered to determine sex! Also, important to note here is that determining sex is never a guarantee, nor should it be an expectation. However, most sonographers will happily provide the info if at all possible!
  • The health of your pregnancy determines whether you will receive more ultrasound scans later in your pregnancy.
  • 2D ultrasounds are the grey-scale images you might recognize during your diagnostic examinations. Occasionally, a high-risk practice (MFM or Maternal Fetal Medicine) 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.
  • Ultrasound cannot predict how much your baby will weigh at birth. While we can measure your baby’s head, belly, and femur for an educated guess for weight at the time of your scan, a large discrepancy for weight determination exists due to fetal position and sonographer inexperience or skill. We can typically track a trend for large or small babies. We know the average gained weight in the last few weeks is about 1/2 lb per week. However, every baby is different!


Ultrasound Facts About Fetal Sex

Most expectant moms today already know this little fact. The ultrasound machine is never “wrong” in determining fetal sex. Actually, 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 or your sonographer is inexperienced. In addition, an overall poor view can also limit fetal sex determination!

Ultrasound Facts About Your Ultrasound Results

Yes, the sonographer can read your examination. However, your OB/GYN physician or radiologist must ultimately interpret the images and report we create. Consequently, only your physician can legally give you results!!!


Patients ask me these questions on a very regular basis. I hope it was helpful! Feel free to email me at with your comments or questions!

Thanks for reading!

wwavblogger, RDMS
wwavblogger, RDMS

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Posted on October 3rd, 2016 by

Hello, All!

I am finally back to the writing and posting process after what seems like a year. I apologize to have been out for so long but I did my best to keep up with responding to your emails;) The past few months have been crazy with planning a wedding, getting married, selling my house, packing up my life, leaving the great practice I worked for and moving across the country! Yes, it’s been intense and I don’t recommend taking on so many challenges at once! Attempting to prove myself a superwoman was never a goal I set out to achieve; all the events just sort of lined up and fell into place this way so I did what any other half-crazed woman would do which is to just go with it!

That said, now that I am starting life anew and one that is sans daily ultrasound accessibility, I will continue to answer your questions considering I still am in possession of knowledge to do so (unless dementia sets in) and I have a few new images and info I can post for you. This blog will be morphing a little as I will be working on a book of first trimester ultrasound images and some other artful creations you may want to purchase for your baby shower or gender reveal party. So, in the meantime, please pardon as I am under reconstruction!

So, in conclusion, if you are still with me, let me say THANKS! If you have any particular areas of ultrasound you’d like me to cover, please feel free to submit them by emailing me. If there is any particular item you’d like to see on my site, give me a shout!

Thanks to all of my readers who have subscribed or emailed with your questions and concerns over the past few years. I hope I have helped you understand with a little better clarity or helped you sleep a little more soundly. I am unsure at this point whether I will ever go back to clinical healthcare but, you can be sure, I have learned as much from you as you have from me!

Blessings to you for happy and healthy pregnancies!


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Posted on October 26th, 2015 by

As an addendum to the this last published post, I am adding annotated images of the the video in the link below:

9 week fetus

amnion at 9 weeks



(Published 10/25/2015)

Ever see a real-time video clip of a 9 week fetus? Of a fetal heartbeat?  Well, here you are!  Just click on my link below:

9 week fetal heartbeat

This clip demonstrates a quick video of baby with transvaginal imaging. First, we see the head, then we see a long view of baby’s body and the incredible flicker of cardiac activity in the chest. The fetal head lies to the left of your screen and the small circle near baby’s bottom represents the yolk sac.  Also, notice the thin white line around baby. This is the amnion or amniotic membrane. Looking carefully, one can make out the beginning of arm and leg buds.

It’s so cute already!

Can anyone guess what the black represents? Yep! Amniotic fluid. You guys are so smart.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll annotate all the parts for you. Have a great day!

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Posted on February 12th, 2015 by

One of the strangest enigmas of my job is the development of my warped sense of time.  I rarely remember patient names but I do remember certain exams and images and I most definitely know faces! I might see a vaguely familiar name on my schedule, then see the patient in the waiting room and immediately put the face with the name. What always blows me away is, in fact, the length of time which has passed since they last delivered!

Case in point.. I recognized a name today, entered it into my machine and was stunned as to why the name did not pop up in the search. After all, she JUST delivered (last year, I was thinking). So, I call her back and begin my usual “so good to see you” gab and asked how old Baby is now.  “Baby”, she informed me, is FIVE! And no, not in months.  I seriously needed a few minutes to gather my composure and I’m sure she could tell by the look of sheer dumbfoundedness on my face.  It was quite amusing to her, I must say.  We both laughed and discussed how incredibly fast time flies when we are moms.

No matter whether someone is coming to see me for their second pregnancy or their fifth, it seems that almost no time has passed since their last visit.  It’s sort of like judging age; I’m getting to be terrible at that anymore, too!

Is it the long career in ultrasound serving the general public or is it our kids that make us this crazy?! Hmm..

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Posted on February 1st, 2015 by

Most OB patients today get an endovaginal ultrasound for 1st Trimester dating when they establish care for a new pregnancy. Most offices maintain requirements for when this first visit should be scheduled. There is good reason for this! Most patients want to see their docs AS SOON as the pee stick demonstrates that little plus sign. However, the problem here is that very little can be determined by your doctor too early in the first trimester. Except, of course, that you’re pregnant!

Some home pregnancy tests like to brag that you can know you’re pregnant as early as your first missed day. But this isn’t always a good thing, especially for those overly-anxious mamas. Naturally, the next question they all have is “Is everything okay?” If you are less than 6 Weeks (from your LMP or last menstrual period), your healthcare provide just cannot confirm this. If you ovulated even one week later, it means we still aren’t going to see much on your endovaginal examination. The earliest we can measure an embryo and detect cardiac activity is about 6 Weeks gestational age.

Even then, it can be quite difficult to see well or measure depending on position of the embryo and uterus. If you are even a few days earlier than this, we would only see a gestational sac and possibly a yolk sac. It’s not feasible to scan you every day and your insurance company will not allow it, anyway!  All the above reasons are why some docs specify a confirmation visit no earlier than 8wks for a 1st trimester dating scan, when we should be able to confirm a fetal pole and a heartbeat.  Coming in too early if your dates are off means your doctor will then have to order a follow-up visit for you in a week or two to confirm a normal early pregnancy.  Trust me!  This will feel like the LONGEST one or two weeks of your life!

Sometimes the dates conflict. Your LMP may say you are 10wks but we see a fetal pole that measures 6wks. This just means you really became pregnant a month later. When these numbers are discrepant by more than just a few days, your doctor will typically use the gestational age we obtain by ultrasound.  See the fetal pole and report images below.

10w2d Fetus


Note that on the report, the patient should have been 11w3d by her LMP of November 10 but Baby measured 10w2d instead.  With dates = 8d off at this point, her doctor will likely go with the due date of 8/25/2015 instead of 8/17.

So, take my word for it.  The only thing worse than waiting to see your doctor for your first OB visit is going to see her and then leaving without answers.  Trust your doctor’s office when you call to make this appointment and they say it’s too early!  They know what’s better for you than you do;)

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Posted on January 24th, 2015 by

I’ve written it a hundred times..or seems like it! Someone sends me an image and wants to know if I can confirm gender. Sometimes I can tell, sometimes it’s clear as mud. I usually have to write back and give my spiel about unclear gender on ultrasound and how, because I wasn’t the one who scanned, I can’t see the whole uterus. Some images are just bad!

In ultrasound, we have either images that are beautiful which belong in a textbook and anyone with an eye for the modality can tell you what is pictured. Then there are terrible images where we just shrug our shoulders and wonder what someone was thinking when she snapped the image.

I’ll share this email from a reader and her image and attempt to give you an example here of clear vs not.

unsure mama:  Hello! I’m on my 4th pregnancy and my first 3 were clear as day regarding genders, all done after 20 weeks. But this one, however, my sonographer seemed like she was struggling to get a potty shot. I’m not sure of real fetal age due to bleeding the entire time until 14 weeks. My sonographer said the baby was breech and sunny side up? Baby was also measuring at 17weeks 4days. She hesitated but then said girl. I didn’t ask questions but I didn’t see lines or a turtle. Here’s the pic she gave me. What would you say? Any information will be greatly appreciated. I have one girl who is oldest and two sons.


wwavblogger:  Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll subscribe! So, like I typically say, if it’s not a perfect picture, I just can’t sign off on gender. That being said, it could very well be a girl and this just isn’t a great image. It looks like the view is one of baby crawling away from you, if you can put your imagination to work. Right above the arrow is where you would see the 3 dots, however, the dots can blur together if the image is not entirely clear.

I’ll include a link below where I show a baby girl in a similar position, just a little more to the side. Idea is the same. This one is clear and you can clearly see 3 dots here. You can also compare it to the twin brother shot in the same post, too!

I don’t see obvious boy stuff hanging down like I would expect to see here!

Good Luck!


So, girl? Maybe! Boy? Sure can’t say it’s not!

My image in the link above that I sent her of girly parts you’ll find below. Which can you see better?

female gender

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Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by

One thing Moms wonder about most while waiting for the big day is how much Baby she is actually going to have to push outta there!  If it’s not your quasi-friends telling you you’re huge or a perfect random stranger asking if there are two in tow, then it’s your bathroom scale not-so-gently reminding you of your ever-changing shape. You see the numbers creepin’ up like your too-tight fave pair o’ jeans. If you’re really lucky, you just failed your two-hour glucose. Just when you thought pregnancy was going to be your temporary ticket to Oreotown, your doc is telling you to find a new love for wheatgrass shakes and to hang it up on the Beautiful Bavarian you have a date with for breakfast every day…your husband should be jealous the way you eye those things. I know, I know. I could eat half a dozen of them myself and I can’t use the excuse of growing a human or “Baby wants it; he told me”. Of course, you could use the disclaimer my old Italian mother swears by..if you crave something and you don’t let yourself have it, your baby will be born with a birthmark in the shape of that food somewhere on its body. I kid you not; she really believes it. All I can say is it’s a good thing it’s only an old wives’ tale or there would be an awful lot of gestational diabetes babies out there born looking like pizza and french fries.  Hmm, I wonder what an ice cream birthmark would look like? A dripping cone? The whole carton?

I guess one of the favorite pastimes of Moms today in this age of quickly-changing technology is consulting the highly-revered but often-times inconsistent daily app. You want to know if your weight gain is normal, if it’s too high or too low. Was quasi-friend right to tell you not to have that second piece of cake? Personally, she’d be no friend of mine after that. Let them eat cake! Or it’s “Aw, my baby is an eggplant today.” Huh??

So, knowing we have this insatiable appetite (no pun intended) for knowing everything everyday or at least being able to look it up and get some sort of answer, is it any wonder we wonder at all about the weight of our babies, too? This is where one role of ultrasound is important. Even though very subjective (as ALL ultrasound is), knowing how to take good measurements of your baby provides your doctor with some really important information about fetal well-being.  Read on from One Confused Momma who was originally confused about gender then more confused about Baby’s size!

ocm:  Okay so new question!! How accurate are ultrasound measurements as far as baby’s weight?? I had my last one today and she measured him at about 4lbs and I’m only 29 weeks and 3 days.

wwavb:  Hi, again! It varies and it’s not an exact science. Generally speaking, the measurements we take of the head, belly and femur are subjective but have a standard deviation of 3wks in the 3rd trimester. The total weight estimation will probably be somewhere around +/- a half pound or so at this gestational age. If we get a measurement that is a couple of weeks ahead, it can still be very much within normal limits for size. We also see that babies can grow in spurts so if the belly measures big now, it doesn’t mean it will nearer your due date. We can also determine through serial scans if a baby is trending large or small and your physician will follow fetal growth accordingly. So! All that being said, if your doctor feels baby will be big, he or she will likely keep an eye on size. This is a good question for your doc at your next visit!


I don’t have one with me now but I’ll print a report of a 3rd trimester biometry (fetal measurements) with an EFW, or estimated fetal weight, and share it with you next week, if not tomorrow!

I’ll also add here that your doctor uses the fundal height or the measurement in centimeters to the top of your uterus he/she obtains when you go in for visits to determine growth in generalities. If your uterus measures really large, your doc may order a sonogram to see if Baby is big or if you have too much fluid, polyhydramnios. We see a lot of this, by the way, and don’t always have an explanation for why it’s there. Conversely, if you measure pretty small, your doc may want to find out if Baby is not growing appropriately and to ensure you have enough fluid. Mom’s body type can also influence how your belly looks, too! You can spend all day downloading apps but, as always, questions pertaining to you and your pregnancy and baby specifically can only be answered by your doctor! (And not Dr. Google)

At the end of the day, our shapes during pregnancy are as different as we all are different from one another. We have to quit comparing our bellies to those highly polished on the cover of Vanity Fair and even one another and know we are doing what is right as long as we are adhering to our doctor’s guidelines! Sometimes it’s out of our control and our babies end up too big or not thriving well. Either way, that’s why you have people like me around!

Comments: 4 Comments »

Posted on October 20th, 2014 by

We all know kids say some of the funniest things! And when Mom is 11 Weeks pregnant, Big Brother enters my ultrasound examination room with SO many questions!

We realize, as adults, just what a different perspective of life they have when, on hilarious occasion, they express to us these tiny pearls of realism in a way we never considered. They see the world in such simple terms; it’s unfortunate how we grow out of that over time. Oftentimes, we can actually see those mental wheels spinning, trying to make sense of the ultrasound monitor with their limited knowledge.

A Kid’s Precious Perspective

So, last week as I am scanning Mom, Big Brother of about 6 or 7 is watching intently. He was very excited to see “his” baby and had lots of questions about everything I was pointing out to him. I typically start with the head, try to demonstrate a great profile of the face and, of course, I make a point to include hands and feet. It takes a minute for older children to really appreciate that it’s a baby on the monitor. After all, that black and white and gray blob on the screen doesn’t look like any baby they’ve ever seen!

If I can obtain a decent shot of the arm and hand, I’ll annotate on the monitor “hi!!” and tell the excited on-lookers that Baby is waving to them. It’s just one of those fun aspects of my job and the reactions are always cute.

11 Weeks Pregnant, 11 Week Fetus

11 Week Fetus

As I did just that, Mom laughed. But Big Brother was quiet, and we could tell he was deep in thought. After a few seconds he finally spoke up and asked, “Mom, the baby can already spell?!!”

Mom and I had a great laugh over that, and Big Brother was happy to learn that his baby wasn’t smarter than him just yet!

**I would love to read YOUR funny stories.  Email me at and tell me all about it!  Yours just may be my next post!

Thanks for reading!

wwavblogger, RDMS

For the most recent post, go to!

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Posted on August 6th, 2014 by

Young kids are always accompanying their parents to the ultrasound to see their new sibling on the monitor.  Honestly, unless they are over the age of four, interest steadily declines and sometimes rather quickly as soon as the lights shut off.  Mom and Dad want them to be more interested than they truly are.  At 2 and 3 they simply are in the age of “me” and actually could care less about whether their new baby sister or brother, the one they’ll torment for years to come, can be seen on the “TV”.   Furthermore, if they do comprehend what a baby really is, the one on the monitor sure doesn’t look like any baby they’ve ever seen!

Parents try to come as prepared as possible with iPads in hand, games and snacks.  Sometimes none of it matters and they scream and carry on until it’s over or grandma hauls him out.  Every once in a while I’ll have a little visitor who is so cute, I just want to keep him with me all day.  Today I had one such little guy.  He was 3, barely understandable and so stinking cute.  The kids who are quiet are usually intimidated by the surroundings and are fearful Mom is going to be hurt.  I usually break the ice by offering them to feel the gel.  I hold out a gloved finger with a big glob on it.  I’ll make a game out of it and even if they are grossed out initially, very soon they are asking for a squirt.

Little man did just the same today.  After a bit he got comfortable with me and asked what his baby sister was doing in there. I replied she was swimming.  I didn’t understand most of anything he said…except that his baby sister was a fish.  He said it over and over and over again.  And the more we laughed, the more he said it.  Of course, he knew he had a baby sister in there before anyone else did.  I swear I just think they have a connection with one another!  We confirmed it was a sister and he kept reiterating “Baby sister a fish.”

I gave him his very own picture of Baby Sister to keep for himself.  Kids just love that and I made a new little friend.  He walked out of my room and looking up at me with a big smile kept repeating all the way down the hall that his baby sister was still indeed a fish.  Too darned cute!

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Posted on August 3rd, 2014 by

Well, we’ve seen this sign many times on a number of establishments open to the general public..but a doctor’s office??  After many moons of serving the obstetrical and gynecological needs of women near and far, we didn’t think we needed to..until last week, that is.

There are many signs we expect to see when visiting our physicians:  Sign In Here, Check Out Here, Payment is Due at the Time Services are Rendered, Please Turn Off Your Cell Phones Because We Can’t Hear Ourselves Think (wishful thinking on that one). We’ve never really had to address the issue of our patients being fully dressed.  Last week I called my patient’s name to take her back for her ultrasound in the usual fashion and she requested I wait until she stepped out the door to our entrance where she proceeded to yell for her friend to “Hurry up!”

I try not to judge too harshly the way someone is dressed.  You don’t need to be a fashion plate who just stepped out of Milan for your doctor’s appointment and scrubs are a far cry from haute couture.  Most people, however, do tend to at least bathe and wear something from the closet instead of the hamper.  Not these people.  I had an idea of what might be in store when the friend stepped inside and I was right.  She had that partied-all-night and slept-in-my-makeup face and the hair..let’s just say a brush had not seen that head in about a week.  She was a literal hot mess. Though this surprised me just a tad, I was totally not prepared for her naked feet.  Yes, just-walked-across-the-parking-lot-outside-with-no-shoes feet.  Grocery store feet, as the adults in my family called them when I was a kid.  It took me a while to figure that one out but it makes all the sense in the world, right?  Can you imagine how black your feet would be if you went bare-footin’ around Wal-Mart?  God forbid you have personal experience with this but, if you do, I apologize now for the insensitivity.  If you can stop in for groceries, you can take a sec to swing by the shoe department and pick up an $8 pair of flip flops.

Just so you know, as a medical facility we perform procedures in our exam rooms and utilize red bags for biohazard trash.  Sometimes we have spills on the floor that we have to clean in a particular way to disinfect but, much like Wal-Mart’s floor, it’s probably still not a surface you’d want to really come in contact with.  Well, most of us feel that way.  Not to mention that hundreds of other people have traversed the area with all kinds of things on the bottom of their shoes.  I never really thought that required explanation.

Needless to say, the rest of the appointment was just as interesting, but not nearly as much as the expressions of everyone else in the waiting room as she passed by.  Note to self: try to keep that poker face in check.

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Posted on August 1st, 2014 by

I’ve discovered there is an understandable progression of waning interest in ultrasound as a pregnancy advances.  It’s true!  It’s especially true of those moms who are forced to visit us every single week after 32.  The natural order of excitement goes a bit like this:

  • How soon can I have my first ultrasound? – Asked from pee stick positive and the first doctor’s visit


  • How soon can I have my next ultrasound? – Typical inquiry immediately after the first ultrasound


  • When can we look again? – Asked as soon as the gel is wiped off after the 18-20wk screening


  • Do I get another one? – Mid to late 2nd trimester


  • Oh, yay!!  I get to have ultrasounds every week!! – Early 3rd trimester


  • This is so great.  I can’t wait to see her every week! – This goes on for a few weeks


  • What?  Do I really have to come in twice a week?? – Response to bi-weekly Biophysical Profiles until delivery


  • This was fun at first but I’m getting tired and my feet hurt. – One month left


  • Okay, poke me with a fork, I’m over it.  – The dreaded final two weeks


It’s so funny to me how parents positively can’t wait for ultrasound in the beginning. Some ACTUALLY argue with their physicians to have scans early (you know they have to plan that gender party!).  Initially, it’s so surreal that this is YOUR baby and you can actually see the heart beating.  Incredible.  You think it’s something you could positively NEVER tire of watching.  Tis not true..  After a while, especially if Baby never cooperates with cute face shots, the family quits going with you and all the fun oozes right out the door.  It’s just the same gray clouds over and over again, not to mention the belly is growing ever bigger and your piggie toes are swelling like little sausages.  You’re just done.

It’s okay to feel that way and I promise I won’t take it personally that you are sick of seeing me every week!  “Oh, no, not you again.”  We get it.  The gel has dried up and you can’t see below the equator anymore..  I do believe the Man Upstairs or Mother Nature has a way of making pregnancy miserable for most of us toward the end.  If it didn’t get tough, we would be too happy with baby inside and too afraid to face the unknown of labor.  Peeing on ourselves seems to be the last straw.

Gray and white is cool but color is better!

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Posted on July 30th, 2014 by

I have some great images for you today of male gender.  This baby is about 19wks and the images are of the side view of baby and bottom view.  See below:


This is a bottom view of baby if you imagine baby sitting on a glass table and you are looking up from underneath.  I have all the parts annotated for you.  The arrows, of course, are pointing to the wee-wee (my technical term).  This is about as straightforward a potty shot as one will find.  No guesswork, all boy.


Now this is a side view of baby.  The head is not in the picture; imagine it to the left.  Again, all parts are labeled.  Now the legs are not in this image.  Not to be graphic but for demonstrative purposes, imagine slicing the body in half lengthwise; this is the view we have right down the middle of the torso.


The penis and scrotal sac from the side resemble a turtle sticking out of his shell.  If you can appreciate the tiny dotted line, you will see it is drawn around the “turtle”.

You can see how parts look different from different angles.  These, people, are great images of baby boy stuff…no question, no nonsense, no guessing..  Just all boy!!

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Posted on July 25th, 2014 by

Okay now, readers, this is a perfect example of how sometimes I can determine gender < 17wks!   Not much less but at 16w4d, it’s pretty easy to tell on these twins they are one of each. ..Baby boy AND girl gender images in a side-by-side comparison. These were very easy potty shots..hardly an effort to obtain and you can see the side by side difference.  I’ve even labeled parts for you!

Check them out below!


boy and girl gender determination



female gender on the LT, male gender on the RT


Happy comparing and have a great day!

wwavblogger 🙂

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Posted on July 19th, 2014 by

New sonographer advice is a topic that needs addressing for anyone new to the field. It’s a tough place out there for you. I know, I lived it, too.

A Fine Example of Negligence

I felt a bit distressed to learn something recently. It is an important lesson for any new sonographer, especially. A recent graduate of a sonography program landed her very first job out of school with a temp agency. With essentially no work experience, her recruiter advised her to “Fake it ’til you make it.” I thought I’d faint. She lied saying her recruit had one year of experience and placed her in an OB practice to work alone. The lack of responsibility of this recruiter left me surprised and horrified. The quality of exam a patient receives was obviously of no importance. This is unfortunate.

Moreover, the horror this new sonographer experienced is another story. Even though she had a brief period of training by the sonographer going on leave, she was uncomfortable with scanning or reporting anything on her own. With no experience to call on, she did not possess the confidence to call a case normal or abnormal. Where does someone even begin to construct a report when she is unsure of what she sees on the monitor? This is unfortunate and a precarious circumstance for all involved.

Don’t get me wrong. Everyone has to learn, and all new sonographers need the opportunity to become better. But, like so many things in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way to accomplish this task. It has to be fair to both the sonographer in training as well as the patient. Therefore, the following is a message to all sonographers who have just stepped out of the classroom and into the real world of practice.

Turn the Table…

From a slightly different perspective, please consider the following. If it were you, your daughter, your mother, or your sister on the examination table, wouldn’t you want to know if it was the first exam performed by your provider? We all like to feel as though we are in good hands, competent hands when we seek medical attention or advice. Wouldn’t it be disconcerting to know the person scanning you is new, overwhelmed, and lacks the knowledge in all ways to perform your exam properly? Every patient deserves to have their examination performed by someone who is knowledgeable and properly trained. After all your hard work in school, you deserve to be properly trained!

Just in Case Your Instructors Didn’t Tell You…

You are not qualified to work alone. You need direct supervision from someone with qualified experience. You need direct supervision for all of your exams performed for at least three solid months. After that, you need to ensure you work in an environment with at least one other experienced go-to sonographer for questions..because you will have them. You will have a lot of them. We all did.

You should never lie about your experience, even if a recruiter tells you to do so. Potential employers need to ensure how much they can rely on your skill and experience outside the classroom. Your class time and clinical rotations count as experience toward taking your registry examinations, but it doesn’t go far toward real-world experience. You were in school and learning. You will still be learning volumes over the next few years. No one ever knows it all, and this is a field where you will continue to learn your entire career.

Students and new technologists, once you have scanned about twenty-five normal cases (give or take), you will be able to scan a normal exam on your own pretty easily. Tackling pathology is a whole other ball game. You will feel more comfortable you taking on the challenge of an unfamiliar process when you develop more confidence in your skill and ability. Everyone’s learning curve is different. If you learn new things quickly, you may feel more confident in your skills in less time. If you have a no-fear personality, you’ll have less problem jumping in with questions or presenting cases to physicians when you are unsure of a diagnosis.

What About a Private OB Practice?

Sonographers in a private practice need a great deal of experience. They need to be able to work independently and have enough confidence in their skills to tackle a challenging case without breaking a sweat. They should feel very comfortable scanning patients in every week of pregnancy with no question regarding the protocol of any exam. Do we still turn to our co-workers for a second eye from time to time? Of course, we do. It’s all part of continuing education and proactively learning where we have the opportunity to grow. It’s imperative. Remember, we never know it all!

In our office, we do not hire anyone who is not registered in OB/GYN with less than three years of full-time OB/GYN experience. How can a physician trust your work if you don’t trust it yourself? A physician relies heavily on the experience of his/her sonographers to provide competent and thorough examinations. How can they properly treat their patients otherwise?

Your job as a sonographer is to find pathology. You can’t diagnose what you don’t recognize, and you won’t recognize what you’ve never seen. This is just the nature of the beast.

Be Your Own Advocate!

I’m sorry if your educators failed you. They have a responsibility to not only teach you in the classroom, but what to expect outside of it. This is not your fault. It reminds me of an old adage which says that you can’t know what you don’t know. So, before you take your first job or any job thereafter, ask yourself if you are experienced enough to commit to it. Then ask if you will have supervision. Start out in a teaching hospital. Sonographers are thrilled to share their knowledge with you in such facilities! Learn what you need before you think about branching out on your own. You owe it to yourself in order to become a better sonographer. You owe it to your patient to provide a quality examination.

Patients: if this is overly concerning to you, it should be. You can always inquire as to the experience of your healthcare providers!

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Posted on July 17th, 2014 by blast everyone in your OB doc’s office.  The old adage that one can attract more bees with honey seems to be something we learn as we become more mature in this life.  Certainly, most of us can reflect on a time when we wish we had taken the higher road.  I guess when you’re unhappy with an uncooperative fetus, everything else in life just sucks, too.  Read below for what NOT to do in this circumstance..

Most expectant moms understand by now that the only way to obtain the totally precious 3D images they’re paying for is for Baby to be facing up toward Mom’s belly with nothing else in Baby’s face except a nice pocket of fluid.  If you didn’t know this, now you do!  I love to impart a plethora of informative tidbits to my beloved readers and future moms.  However, if Baby is facing down?  Forget it.  We can’t scan through your back (too many bones) and pretty much nothing usually changes Baby’s position.  But hell hath no fury like a mom jacked-up with pregnancy hormones.

My co-worker (who was her sonographer and a sweetie-pie, at that) did what I would have done..rolled mom to each side and jiggled the belly until the cows came home but this resulted in nothing.  She explained what we views we needed, what we didn’t have and why and offered for her to come back.  The patient seemed reasonable enough and agreed to come back another day (free of a second charge, mind you)…or so we thought.

The patient reaches the appointment desk on the way out and, I suppose, had just enough time for her blood to boil.  She unleashed a rash of f-bombs on the poor receptionist.  She made the appointment, left and called back unleashing a second wave by  bitching about my co-worker (who tried to make her pretty pictures), the receptionist, a phone nurse, the office manager and, by the time she was done, cursed out her physician.  Whoa, Nelly!  Too bad we couldn’t take her down with an injection of sedatives while she was still on the property.  Just kidding!  We’re legally not allowed to do this even though some patients need it when they start foaming at the mouth.

And what did it get her in the end?  The search for a new OB doc!

Note to self:  If I behave this way in a private practice, I WILL be fired as a patient..preggers or not!

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Posted on July 15th, 2014 by

If you think kids say the darndest things, some of their mothers aren’t much better.  I feel my job here in this blog is to inform you but to also make you laugh.  Anyone who works with the general public knows that some people are just not taught the etiquette of speaking or behaving in public.  Therefore, we end up with stories like this.  I hope you get as much a kick out of this story as I did!

My co-worker completes an exam, steps out of the room to allow her patient to get dressed and awaits her exit.  As the young mother, her FOB (father of baby) and toddler walk out she says “I’m really boyfriend farted in there and he stunk up your whole room.”

For as funny as this was (my co-worker didn’t laugh as much as I did, by the way), couldn’t she have just blamed it on the baby?!

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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 July 12th, 2014 by

Technology has its pros and cons.  We THINK we want to know the second we conceive..but do we really?  Some patients find out that often times ignorance is bliss.

Very early in the pregnancy we can’t see a thing.  To simplify, we start to see a gestational sac at around 4wks.  It’s only about 2mm big and literally a tiny black blip within the endometrium.  All we can report at this time is..we think it’s an early sac.  Monumental changes are happening every week!  At 5wks, we see a much bigger sac but it’s only enough information to say..yes, it has grown appropriately and that is good.  Within a few days, the yolk sac develops.  It looks like a little circle inside of the sac, but it’s still too early to see Baby.  Below is about a 5 1/2wk pregnancy of twins (obviously!).

Yolk Sacs

By the next week at 6wks gestation, cardiac activity should be seen along with a the yolk sac and bigger gestational sac.  It’s still very tiny and can be difficult to visualize well if the embryo is lying against the wall of the sac.  At 7wks we can see a little better, but 8wks usually gives us a great image of baby who is now technically a fetus!  Yay, milestone!  And Baby is much easier to measure at this point.

6wk embryo



Isn’t the growth in two weeks incredible?!!!

It’s all a process, it can’t be rushed and only time will tell if your pregnancy is growing appropriately!  If you think you are farther along by your LMP (last menstrual period) dates, and your doctor has an ultrasound done and they don’t see what they expect, it can be a long, long wait for you.  You could just be early or it could not be a good pregnancy BUT ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

It’s so hard to wait.  It’s the longest week or two of your life before your doctor brings you back in again for another scan!  So, you talk to friends and family and you Google ’til your fingers fall off but at the end of the day, only that next scan will give you real answers.

As all of motherhood (especially as our children become legal adults!) sometimes, ladies, ignorance is most definitely bliss!

I’m sending best wishes and loads of patience for the next 21 years to all you early pregnant mamas out there!

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Posted on July 11th, 2014 by

We all know that our family and friends can be quite nosy, opinionated and sometimes even rude when it comes to all things pregnancy related.  After all, they’ve been there and done that and they know better than you because this is your first and you know absolutely “nothin’ ’bout raisin’ them babies!”  Hopefully, they don’t really speak like that.  I’m sorry if they do.  That is, sorry if I offend and sorry you have to listen to it.  (lol)

In the course of conversation during a scan, especially with my weekly patients, we glide from the political correctness and appropriate medical office pleasantries to cutting up about life happenings.  My patients take this opportunity sometimes to vent about just such personal offenses.  One of my readers recently did the same!  Read on about her dilemma..

irritated mama:  Hello!  Firstly I would like to say what a great blog you have and I’ve really enjoyed reading it.  Secondly I’m wondering if you can take a look at my scan pic from my 20 week scan. I’m now 25 weeks. We didn’t find out the gender as my husband didn’t want to but his family are convinced its a boy from the scan pic and are even calling it a he which is quite annoying.  I’m just wondering is there anything on this scan pic that confirms the gender? Obviously we didn’t get a potty shot.  I hope you can help.  Thanks


wwavb:  This email cracks me up as you are not the first to be annoyed by in-laws who think they are ultrasound aficionados!  Everyone is suddenly an expert.  You’ll be happy to know gender is nowhere to be found on this image!  It’s a great side shot of Baby but when you get down to baby’s bottom, part of the hip is in the pic so it’s not a side shot between the legs.  So, now you can tell your in-laws to mind their own biz! Ha ha.

Best Wishes!

irritated mama:  Brilliant thank you – that settles it I will tell them haha!


So just know, all you pregnant moms out there with in-laws who are driving you to drink..firstly, wait until Baby is born and secondly, you have to stick up for yourself!  There are nice ways to say anything so next time your mother-in-law (who doesn’t know what a femur is) attempts to read into your ultrasound image, kindly thank her for her oh-so-professional opinion and say something like “Wow, you are so good at this. Maybe they should let you do my next scan.”

Yes, I am a smartass at times but I blame it on my brother, the ultimate King of Smartassness, one-liners and wisecracks.  It’s a crown he wears proudly.

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Posted on July 4th, 2014 by

HAPPY 4TH!!!  I hope everyone enjoys some beautiful fireworks this evening to celebrate our freedoms!  (aka the ability to write this blog, for example!)  Enjoy some watermelon and bar-b-que..a must on the 4th:)  Now on to my post of the day…


I have responded to so many emails regarding this problem that I thought I’d address it with my next post!

First, ask yourself these questions. Does an embryo look like a baby?  Does an embryonic chick look like a chicken?  Of course, it does not. The same applies to fetal parts like the brain which is why we do not perform the screening of anatomy until 18wks or later. This is because the appearance of the brain is ever changing until that time. Even at 17wks, some of the intracranial structures have a slightly different appearance that make it difficult to document the parts we need in the way we need.

The same applies to external genitalia. It’s just starting to develop at 12wks so boys and girls can look alike. Over the next month, it is still developing and changing in appearance. That is to say, boy tissue starts to get bigger and girl parts shrink. Eventually, the scrotal sac and penis take a more recognizable shape and the labia and clitoris take on the appearance of three tiny white dots or lines.  Every baby is a little different, as all people are different.

Now, have I guessed gender at 16wks? Definitely! But it had to be someone I was scanning personally, baby had to be lying butt-up in a perfect position with legs wide open with perfect visualization otherwise. There are many factors that play into how well we can see at any point in a pregnancy. It just all has to be textbook perfect and not every patient/fetus is a textbook scan. We’re all made differently and such is life.

So, please take my word for it. Any guess at 12-14wks is simply a might as well flip a coin. 15-16wks is still a guess but I didn’t scan you so I cannot tell you even with an image if your sonographer was right. I might be able to confirm it if you are 17wks with a perfect potty shot!

Whew! That all being said, PLEASE PLEASE do not send me pics earlier than 17wks!! It’s not that I don’t want to help you when you have a less-than-pleasant sonographer. It’s just that I can’t technically provide any helpful information.  If your sonographer couldn’t tell enough to get a great shot, neither will I.

If you’re greater than 17wks and your sonographer has given you a potty shot where she’s annotated boy or girl, I’ll be happy to try and confirm!

Good luck at your next scan!

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Posted on July 2nd, 2014 by

Sometimes my patients crack me up with their stories and venting.  Whether it’s family, work, kids, friends or strangers ruffling their feathers, it brings a bit of humor to my otherwise medically-infused day.

I was scanning a late 3rd trimester mama who was about 37wks.  She was nearly due and ready Freddy for last call on this party.  She was huffing and puffing about how tired she was, how more ready she couldn’t be and how frustrated she was with her spouse and the lack of help.  She says “And, ya know, husbands just SUCK now.  The first time around it was all ‘Let me rub your toes’ and now I look over and he’s snoring.”  I had to gut laugh with her…husbands just suck.  She was so disgusted AND so funny.

All I can say is don’t mess with a mama laden with full-term hormones!  You’re simply on the losing end of that battle.  Make her happy, give her what she wants, pamper her in any way you can, Spouses!

We all know that when mama is happy, everybody is happy 😉  And don’t you forget it!

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Posted on July 1st, 2014 by

As an extension of yesterday’s post, I’d like to share an email sent by a very worried mom-to-be and my response.  I’m hoping my advice will help other moms who are concerned about results.

anxious mama:  I’m writing to you because I find your blog really interesting especially now when I’m pregnant. This whole world of pregnancy-connected things is quite overwhelming to me. I am now 25 weeks pregnant and, although I’m quite a rational person, sometimes I freak out.

Actually, I have some doubts as to my ultrasound scanning. During my 22nd week I was on prenatal ultrasound scan. The doctor checked everything and everything seemed perfect except my son’s feet. He described them to be “strange” and suggested that those are sandal gaps. I was even more scared when he advised me to do amniocentesis which I didn’t do. Now, I know that such feet can suggest DS but my husband says that probably our son has such strange little toes because my toes are not “normal” either.
Anyway, do you think you could take a look at some pictures of my child’s feet? I keep thinking that maybe the moment for scan wasn’t right, or he was moving his toes, or anything…
If you agree to look at these photos, I will send them immediately 🙂
wwavb:  Thank you for reading my blog and I hope it’s answered some questions for you.  And, yes, while pregnancy is very much an exciting time in a family’s life, it can also come with a variety of worries and concerns.

Firstly, I have to tell you that I am not a physician and I cannot in any way confirm whether your baby has sandal gap toes.  Even if I saw your images, I did not scan you live or real-time and did not observe your scan so I could never diagnose something by a single frozen image.
My best advice is this..if this is a concern you now have and it is one that causes you to lose sleep and if it is also an answer you feel you must now have, talk to your doctor.  He is truly the only person who can provide you with an answer.  Sometimes, if there are no other abnormal findings, this can just be a normal variant meaning your baby is otherwise normal.  However, your doctor offered you an amnio because only an amnio can tell you for sure.  This is your doctor’s manage your pregnancy and to help you navigate through such concerns.
I’ve assisted on hundreds of amnios in the past and it is usually a pretty quick test with a little stick of a needle and a mild cramp.  Talk to your doc about all the pros and cons and let him know if you are reconsidering.
I hope I’ve helped to some degree and I hope you’ll subscribe to receive future posts!  I wish you all the best for a beautiful and healthy baby:)
My reader never sent me her images, but as I stated in the email, it’s something only her doctor can confirm for her.  I do know pregnancy can be a scary time.  It’s always fun when everything is normal and everyone wants a healthy baby.  But in those times when health is questioned and especially when it is a reality, rely on your doctor to help you through it.
Our babies come to us for all sorts of reasons that we can’t know about now or understand.  Sometimes it’s all in the big plan of life that we are chosen to care for those very special children who need very special parents.  It’s not the end of your world, it’s the beginning of theirs and your life together!
Many blessings to all mamas and babies out there!

Comments: 2 Comments »

Posted on June 29th, 2014 by

Not so much.  Not when it comes to pregnancy and we see it every week…a patient is given ultrasound results by her doctor, she goes home to Google the information and then calls back to the office in a complete panic over what she’s read.  This is a big mistake!!  The internet is filled with more information than we need and than what applies to you in your pregnancy.  You are causing yourself more heartache and worry than is necessary.

What you get when consulting Dr. Google is the whole spectrum of findings and worse-case scenarios.  You also get forums of patients with no medical background discussing their results with quasi-knowledge and missing links.  At the end of the day, your doctor is your advocate for managing your pregnancy.  Only your doctor can advise you on what the next step can be or order further testing.  It always comes down to whether you HAVE to have a definite answer now vs when baby is born. Whatever the decision, discuss it with your obstetrician.

Remember this…  Dr. Google cannot advise you, console you or discuss test results.  This is why you have an obstetrician.

Moreover, Dr. Google will certainly not be the one to catch your precious bundle of joy on the day of delivery.  Direct all your concerns to one who will be…that’s why she is in the baby business:)

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Posted on June 28th, 2014 by

As a kid, I used to go swimming at a friend’s house and I’ll never forget the sign posted on their cabana.


This is our swimming ool.

Notice there’s no p in it.

Let’s keep it that way.


I always thought it was so funny and clever!  And her mother meant it, with all her Italian beauty and ferocity, threatening us that we better not do it!  I have to laugh at that memory.  So, let’s talk about a pool that most definitely contains some “p” and lots of it.  I’m, of course, referencing the amnion.

For people who don’t already know this, you may be grossed out but it was a necessary function in order for us all to get here!  The amnion is predominantly made up of fetal urine and it is one of the things we evaluate on ultrasound.  Baby starts to swallow amniotic fluid somewhere around 11 or 12weeks. During the anatomy screen, we look for fluid in the fetal bladder and stomach so that we know baby is swallowing and the kidneys are functioning properly.  We also look at amniotic fluid level to determine this.

Anything fluid on ultrasound appears black so the stomach, bladder and amniotic fluid are black.  Patients will typically ask “What is that hole?” when really it is a fully distended stomach or urinary bladder they are seeing.  Below you’ll see an image of a full fetal bladder.

So, there ya go, Mrs. Pat.  Pee in the pool is a good thing;)


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Posted on June 28th, 2014 by

Has anyone ever heard this term before??!  I have never heard it in my life until this week and twice at that from two different patients.  The first was from a new patient and the second from one of my favorite couples ever.  Soup coolers refers to..wait for it..Baby’s lips!  Sometimes, with a really great profile, we can get pics of some really big, beautiful lips.  I call those luscious!  Daddy called them soup coolers.  Hilarious!

Most of you know that ultrasound images can be quite magnified and so sometimes parts look bigger than they really are.  I think there’s no doubt that this baby has some of the most precious soup coolers around!  And Mom was happy to share them:)

This precious little pumpkin below is about 33wks.  The first two are 2D images and the other three are 3D.  Love ’em!






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Posted on June 26th, 2014 by

I don’t get it.  Most every American girl has her ears pierced but this age of head to toe studs and bar thingy piercings has me begging the question “Why in the world there??!”  And for as attached as women are to their dangling belly stars and rhinestones, they absolutely HAVE to be removed prior to your ultrasound exam!  Sorry, ladies, they can damage the footprint of the probe which is made from rubber.  We request people take them out before they come in for their scans, but alas, some don’t and end up fighting to get them out for 10 minutes..10 minutes of precious scanning time, I might add.

I have all kinds of people and all walks of life lie on my table for a scan.  I’ve seen the eyebrow, lip and dimple piercings.  I’ve seen gages and bars and multiple hoops and rings in the ears and nose and, oh but yes, I’ve seen clitoral piercings.  Holy cow, and I’m holding my breath typing this just thinking about it, but why in the mother of pearl..???  Ooh.  or Ew.  That’s all I can say about it.  I’m sorry if I offend anyone with such metal in her nether regions and I’ve heard stories about WHY they are obtained.  Just know that I shudder only because it’s something I could never and would never do in a million and five years.  No way.  No how.  To each his own and you are more woman than I.  That being said, today was a first…

So, as I am draping my patient and tucking the green paper into her undies, two barbell piercings with a ball on each end are revealed on her pelvis just inside her pelvic bones.  Huh?  Just looped through the skin.  Why in the world would anyone put them there?  (or anywhere, I’m thinking) But on your pelvis?  What’s next, the elbow?  I’ve seen some crazy tattoos down there (enough for another post all by itself, believe me) but never a pierced pelvis.

You know, it’s funny to think about but it will precisely be those people who so adamantly require their metal in odd places that will give birth to a child who will grow up repulsed by them!

Remember, all you pierced mamas out there..belly rings OUT prior to your ultrasound!  It’s just more time you’ll have to look at your little pumpkin 🙂

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Posted on June 18th, 2014 by

So because I totally lost my marbles and didn’t post some great story about fathers on Father’s Day, I guess I’ll do it today instead!  So I would love to share this really funny experience with one very overprotective Dad.

A couple of years ago I had a patient who was coming in every week for BPPs or Biophysical Profiles as they are called.  I’ve explained this one before but it is simply a way to determine the well-being of a fetus by scoring the baby on his/her movements.  We also measure Baby’s fluid and monitor Baby’s weight, as well.  During these scans, babies sometimes are napping or lazy.  Sometimes we have to “force” a little movement by nudging baby which we accomplish by poking at mom’s tummy.  If Baby is REALLY asleep, we sometimes have to poke quite a bit.  I, of course, always ask Mom if I am hurting her and I’m surely not hurting Baby.  But Dad, on this particular day while accompanying Mom for the visit, didn’t think so…and he let it be known.

I start poking around on Baby and Dad pipes up saying “You need to stop that..  You’re pushing too hard.”  I assured him that I wasn’t and asked Mom again if she was hurting.  She actually laughed a bit and stated she was fine and that she wanted me to just do what I needed.  She also tried to calm Dad but he wasn’t having it.  After a little more vigorous poking, Dad said “You’re gonna cause Shaken Baby Syndrome!”  I laughed to myself and did all I could to keep from bursting out with laughter at his reaction.  I reassured Dad that Baby is well protected in there and we certainly wouldn’t do anything that could cause harm to the little one.

He eased up but wasn’t happy about it.  I just couldn’t be upset with him.  He was starting his job early..being protective of his baby girl very early in life.

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Posted on June 15th, 2014 by

Firstly, I’d like to extend a huge congratulations to a reader who recently delivered!  This is what she had to below!


Hi I hope you had a lovely time on your holidays ,just to say I had a little boy at 38+5 and he was a MASSIVE 8lb 7oz :) not half as bad as I imagined ,many thanks for your help to mel


I’m so happy and the whole point of my blog is to answer questions you have about ultrasound accurately rather than your reading and taking to heart some of the garbage found randomly on the internet.  Everyone is an expert, everyone has an opinion..and MOST of them are wrong!  Especially when it comes to medicine, just because your cousin Becky had several ultrasounds during her last pregnancy doesn’t mean she can now read yours.

And this is not only in reference to gender, which is what most people question.  Though I can never provide medical advice to anyone, I can surely explain the why’s and how’s of ultrasound better than your aunt, mother or sister who just had one done.

As for gender, I think I’ve made it no secret that determining gender has become the bain of my existence.  When the only thing a patient is interested in is gender, everything I need to do to complete an exam is hurried, or rushed or simply ignored to get to the pink or blue, which may or may not be detected.  People have come to expect that they will in fact know what they are having at this appointment, make it a social event and become upset, sometimes enraged when it cannot be determined or if family is asked to wait outside for a portion of the examination.

Don’t get me wrong!  I love to tell people whether they are having a son or daughter!  The fact remains and should be respected that this is first a medical examination of mother and child.  The sonographer should be able to take the time she needs in a non-disruptive and quiet atmosphere to obtain all required information to complete this exam for your doctor.  This means excited grandmas who want to talk through the whole exam about the nursery and names need to stay out, as well as the toddler siblings, nieces and nephews who scream and squeal for attention.  Believe me, they have no clue they are looking at a baby on that monitor.  And, honestly, any noise in the room other than the sonographer talking is a distraction.

That all being said, I will say it is still the highlight of my day when I have a very happy couple come in for an exam who are mindful of why they are there, so happy to be expecting and are full of questions.  I love to impart some ultrasound knowledge, provide awesome images of this future addition to their family and am still honored to be this third objective party who gets to orchestrate it all.

Best wishes for a beautiful experience,



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Posted on May 22nd, 2014 by

Here’s an email I received from a UK reader asking about determining Baby’s size/weight.  Read on for my response!

reader:  Hi, I was just wondering how accurate scans are at estimating weight ? I’m 36 weeks +1 and I had a growth and reassurance ultrasound today.  Baby was perfect 🙂 and they estimated 7lbs.  This is my 4th child and the only full-term baby I have had was my last and he was 7lb 10.  I am a little worried this baby is going to be a 9 pounder and that I’m going to have a difficult labour.  This is my last baby so I really don’t want to spend these last weeks worrying over nothing so any info would be gratefully appreciated.  Thanks in advance.  I love reading your blog!

wwavb:  I love my UK readers!  First, let me say I am happy you found my blog and are enjoying it. Thank you so much for saying so!  I truly hope you’ll spread the word and please subscribe for future automatic posts!

Now on to your question. I’m unsure what the discrepancy is in the UK for fetal weight. Our machines may be calibrated slightly differently here in the states. That being said, 1lb +/- is not unheard of and sometimes can be greater depending on the level of skill of your sonographer and fetal position which can make measuring baby more difficult and less accurate, which is precisely why it’s called “estimated”.

If your baby is at 50% or thereabouts, it means he is average in size and will gain on average 1/2lb /wk from here on out. If your baby is measuring bigger then average (which I wouldn’t know without seeing the individual % for each measurement), it’s feasible chunky monkey could gain a little more each week.

Just know that if this baby ends up being larger doesn’t mean you’ll have problems delivering!




I’ve definitely posted on weight before as it is a very often received question!  Everyone wants to mentally prepare for what they are going to have to push out of there.  Check out one of my prior posts on EFW!

Comments: 2 Comments »

Posted on May 17th, 2014 by

I love receiving uplifting emails from readers!  It inspires me to continue blogging and to look for more ways to inform you about your fetus and you.  It also gives me great content to share with other readers!  I encourage all my readers, subscribers or not, to share with me your ultrasound stories, comments, images and photos of your baby!  I hope you’ll read, enjoy and subscribe to my blog to find answers for all your ultrasound questions!

Read this great email from a fellow healthcare worker:

nurse and mom-to-be:  Hello!! I must say I love your blog & wit!! Patients are so lucky to have such a skilled sonographer like you. I must say I’ve experienced both. My last one we met  (18 week ultrasound) with was great, 20+ years experience & worked with higher acuity patients, too. She respected our wishes and wrote down the sex with a picture for us to open later. She asked us to leave the room so she could analyze the image. We also asked her track record and she says she does not reveal if not sure. She labeled every body part for us and thoroughly educated us, as I’m sure you do too!!  I’ve been a nurse for 10 years so I can only imagine the questions you get!  Love the idea of your site – you really utilize your talent and help us crazy pregnant ladies!!

 Best wishes & I’m now a subscriber (&huge fan), yay!
wwavb:  Hi and thank you so much for reading and your kind words!  AWESOME!!  I’ve worked two years on content and I would love to make my site into a book one day!!  I think it would be an entertaining read for anyone and a great shower gift for new moms:)

Your great feedback was a great Mother’s Day gift, by the way!

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Posted on May 11th, 2014 by

Even though the work of a Mom is the most difficult, most important and most challenging job you’ll ever have, it is also the most rewarding. The time and effort you put into your children will reflect when you see them become productive, loving and passionate adults.

Whether you are fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home Mom, one who has chosen to work hard to educate herself and built a career or one who has to work to support her family, know that what you do for your children is important on an every-single-day basis even though it is only really validated once a year.

I can say as a working Mom my children’s entire lives, as much as I would have loved to stay at home with them while they were small or even work part-time as they grew up, it just wasn’t an option for me.  I had to support myself and my children.  No one else was going to do it.  Balancing it all and maintaining my sanity was a daily chore.  Thank God for the help and support of some great care-givers along the way.  Not only could I leave my babies knowing they were being taken care of, but my children learned that someone else could care for them, too, in my absence.  We loved her and she loved us.  Even though I couldn’t be with my children the way I wanted, out of it grew a love none of us would have otherwise experienced.  Your children will have many teachers in life; you are the first.  Teach them what love looks like so they know the difference between the good teachers and the bad ones.  

I’ve enjoyed a long career and I’ve learned so much that has helped me become a better care-giver to my patients over the years because I’m also a mother.  We wear many hats and sometimes you don’t realize how all those hats help you help others.

My kids think I’m superwoman.  They put me on a pedestal and it feels amazing.  So all of you moms out there working to bring home the bacon while raising your children, it pays off.  No matter how crazy you feel, if you always make quality time for your children, love and encourage them, it just pays off tenfold in the love they give back to you.  You also realize that what you’ve taught them can be defined as the importance of education, responsibility, resilience and accountability. To watch your children flourish as talented impassioned adults is the greatest Mother’s Day present of all 🙂

And it all starts here:

Baby A 8wks

Thanks for reading my blog and being a part of my life.



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Posted on May 10th, 2014 by


It’s all whales, snails and puppy dog tails for the grandma who was so excited to find out pink or blue but was too early.  See the link below for the whole story.

Not much question here!  Congrats!



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Posted on May 8th, 2014 by

I LOVE IT!  What a breath of fresh air I received from a reader…someone who actually doesn’t want to know her baby’s gender.  Now, don’t get me wrong!  Though I held off on the potty shot for my first, I was a full-time registered sonographer working several years by the time the second came along and personally couldn’t wait to see for myself, even scanning myself in the process (we all do that, by the way).

But wouldn’t ya know it, someone wants to wait for The Stork but that’s just not good enough for everyone else!

distressed mama:  Hello,  I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. From everyone’s posts I can see that I am in the minority — my husband and I want to be surprised with the sex of the baby on the day I deliver.
We got the anatomy scan a few weeks ago and the tech was very respectful of our wishes. She didn’t reveal the sex to us, and we left with the attached pictures.
We sent my sister the top picture in a text message. Upon seeing it, she immediately said, “I think I know what it is…,” and blurted out her guess. That really bothers me, because it seems that the rest of my family believes her and is taking her opinion as fact. I still don’t want to find out, but I don’t want anyone else to be so certain that they know, either!
Based upon the first picture in the set of 3 I’m sending, is the sex of the baby obvious to you? I figure that if you can’t tell then my sister who is NOT a trained ultrasound tech can’t tell either!
Thanks for your blog, it’s always fun to hear what you think about these ultrasounds from “the other side” of the wand!
wwavblogger:  I LOVE IT!!  First things first.. Absolutely, positively NO genitalia in that shot whatsoever!  The black oval in the pelvis is baby’s bladder and I’m guessing she thinks she sees something just above that which is a very small section of umbilical cord at abdominal insertion. Either way, you are totally correct in that if I can’t see parts, neither can anyone else!  Tell your fam they have a 50/50 shot at guessing;)

Thanks so much for reading and I can’t wait to make this a post!! And, yes, the overwhelming desire of patients to know gender as soon as the pee stick shows + is ridiculous anymore. Patients drive all us staff crazy with wanting to know as soon as possible. God forbid if we can’t determine this at the anatomy screen. Most people are becoming obsessed and demanding…it makes me crazy!  I will not miss this aspect of what I do when I retire from clinical!  Some days my job is reduced from pathology finder to glorified photographer.

I’m so glad you are enjoying my blog and thanks for subscribing!!!

Best wishes for a happy and healthy baby!

It really is comical to me how people deem themselves sonographers and declare this sudden newfound knowledge to be able to read images after having a baby themselves, especially when they didn’t even view the scan live!  Oh, well, everyone is an expert, right?!
What’s funny is her family believes the sister but I, an OB/GYN sonographer of 23 years who has scanned tens of thousands of babies, gets questioned “from the other side of the wand” (I had to use that!).  Hilarious!
Distressed Mom, be sure to let us know what The Stork drops at your door 😉

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Posted on May 7th, 2014 by

You just cannot compare your pregnant belly to anyone else’s!  Though some so-called friends and family may try and though you may receive tons of unsolicited opinions, pregnant bellies are as different as people are different.

If you are fortunate enough to be tall and lanky with a long torso, your uterus will have more room to grow up instead of out.  This sounds like a blessing and it is physically.  But it usually results in women who don’t show very much and end up getting hit with a barrage of questions like “Are you sure you are eating enough?” or “Is your baby too small?” to comments like “You need to feed your child.”  Patients come in for their ultrasounds worried about the growth of their baby because of comments from idiots like these.

Conversely, if you are one who is height-challenged or in possession of a short torso, your poor little uterus has no choice but to grow out.  It only has so much “up” room.  These patients are usually miserable by the end of their pregancy because they tend to have bigger bellies and can appear farther along.  Sometimes, having too much amniotic fluid in the third trimester (quite common) can make your belly look bigger, too.  And, yes, of course, they get hounded with such questions all the time, not to mention the old “Are you sure there are not two in there?”.

So, if you fit either one of the above categories, you should first discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.  If your doctor says you and your baby are just fine, you have the right to blacken the eye of the next person who dares to say such to your face.  Tell security hormones made you do it (I can’t condone violence but the thought is nice, right?).  If you’re not into smackdowns then think of some clever comeback to make them think twice about what a stupid comment it was they just made.  ( about something like “Hey, how about baby is almost as big as your beer gut.”)  Hopefully, they feel terrible enough that the mere presence of another beautifully expectant mom makes them turn and run for cover 😉

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Posted on May 4th, 2014 by

A reader asked me recently about a “nub” pointing up or out as a means to determine gender early on in pregnancy around 12 Weeks. You might know it as the Nub Theory.

Yes, there is some school of thought regarding the “angle of the dangle” as she put it!  I’ve said before that both boys and girls each have tissue that protrudes at this gestational age.  First, imagine a fetus lying on his or her back.  Now if this little bit of tissue is sticking straight up, the thought is boy.  If the tissue is sticking straight out, as in parallel with baby’s spine, the thought is girl.

Baby Girl at 12wks, but be careful! The Nub Theory is only about 73% accurate!

12 Week Baby Girl, Nub Theory

I can tell you from personal experience that this little experiment does NOT always..let me repeat..does NOT always turn out to be correct. Sometimes the tissue is equivocal in direction, meaning it doesn’t appear up or out but half-way.

As part of early genetic testing, my co-workers and I obtained certification for Nuchal Translucency testing. During our training, the sonographer providing the training stated that sex determination is about 73% accurate when Baby’s position is perfect. Hmm, is that really enough of a percentage to rely on to paint a nursery? Not for me.

There was one patient for whom I had scanned all five of her pregnancies. She wanted me to guess at 12 Weeks, and we talked about how it was early and the Up or Out Theory. Baby’s “stuff” stuck straight out like a little girl, no question; no equivocal findings, no halfway nub. Just like in the above image! Textbook finding for a baby girl as defined by the above method.


Boy, oh boy! Were we surprised at her anatomy screen! And I mean boy! His parts were very easily seen. No doubt. After this, I never guessed at 12 Weeks again!

My patient didn’t really care which sex she had. They had boys and a little girl so they were thrilled either way.  But I will caution the patient who is strongly desiring one sex over the other. You do start to become emotionally attached to this “supposed” baby boy or girl and if it’s determined later that the info is incorrect, patients tend to be sad for the sex they “lost”. So, for this very reason, I’ll stick to my guns on gender prediction before 18 Weeks.

And now you know why!

So, I’ll say it yet again..NOTHING, absolutely nothing in life or medicine is ever 100%! 😉

Comments: 2 Comments »

Posted on May 2nd, 2014 by

What’s the purpose of the gel?

Ah..that amazing blue stuff..sometimes shockingly cold, oftentimes warm like a comfy blanket but always messy and usually hated by Mom.  Ultrasound gel gets everywhere, it takes a few drapes to get off, it feels tacky until it dries but no one will have an ultrasound without it!

The role of gel is two-fold:  one, obvious to most, is that it allows the probe to move smoothly over Mom’s belly; second, it actually, and most importantly, helps to conduct the sound waves.  No gel, no see!  Ultrasound cannot travel through air or gas.  Without the gel, there lies a bit of air between the probe and skin which produces no image on the monitor!

I did this little experiment one time for a patient who asked and she was pretty amazed.  It’s really cool, actually..touch the probe to the skin with no gel and all you see is black.  Add a little gel and voila’!  Baby.

So, there you go.  Another lesson in Ultrasound 101.

Have a great day and a healthy pregnancy 🙂

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Posted on May 1st, 2014 by

I am always absolutely astounded..flabbergasted..when people ask me my opinion about gender and then don’t believe it.  They keep asking. And asking. And asking. They continue to ask the same question over and over but in a different way.  It. makes. me. CRAZY!

This is especially true when it’s just too darned early!  Consider this..does a fetus at 8wks look like a baby?  No.  Does a baby chick embryo curled up in an eggshell look like a chicken?  No.  The same applies to external genitalia on a fetus!  It’s not completely developed yet so one just cannot discern boy or girl very early in the pregnancy.  In fact, TOO early in the pregnancy they both have itty bitty parts that stick out and can all look the same.

Read the emails from the grandma-to-be below who just didn’t want to take “It’s too early” for an answer.

g-ma:  Hi, I subscribed to your blog. I love it. These are my grand baby at 12 weeks 2 days. Any guesses?  The baby’s legs were crossed at the 16 week ultrasound.

12 Week Fetus

12 Week Fetus

Too early for sex guess!

12 Week Fetus


wwavb:  Hi! And thanks for reading and subscribing! So glad you are enjoying the info!

Okay, so if you’ve read any of my posts on the subject, you know that guessing at 12wks is like flipping a coin. Just too early. An accurate guess can be made at 18 wks IF baby is cooperating!
Any guess any earlier is simply a guess and I just wouldn’t invest in paint.

Best wishes for a healthy grandbaby!

g-ma:  Thank you for your response!  It’s just driving me crazy wondering what those two white ovals are in between the legs.  Doesn’t look girl or boy. Could it be fingers or an umbilical cord?

wwavb:  No, haha. It’s definitely external genitalia but boys and girls look the same at that age! Over the next several weeks, girl stuff shrinks to form labia and all her girly parts; boy parts get bigger to form the scrotal sac and penis. It’s all still developing on the outside even though chromosomally it’s already determined on the inside.

g-ma:  Thanks for being so helpful. I would think it’s a boy for sure if it’s genitalia!  But, not if they look alike at 12 weeks.

 wwavb:  Sounds like you’re not too far off from finding out. Happy shopping!
g-ma:  Really… No guesses? I know it would be a guess. I thought the pics looked pretty clear. Everyone thought boy.

wwavb:  Wow.  You’ve earned a spot in a post for your persistence.  But it doesn’t change the facts.  You can either believe what you and your fam think you see in the images OR you can believe someone who has seen tens of THOUSANDS of fetuses at this age.  Up to you!

The professional verdict is that it’s simply TOO EARLY to determine gender on any baby at that age.  It’s just not all formed yet!!!
Let me know what you end up having!

People have a tendency to believe only what they can see or understand.  As long as sonographers guess too early and continue to be wrong, I will have to persistently defend my determination until the cows come home.  My advice when it comes to gender is that you have to entrust the word of an experienced sonographer..or just buy neutral!

Comments: 3 Comments »

Posted on April 30th, 2014 by

Is there a dedicated dress code for your doctor’s office?  Probably not but there should be in my opinion.

It’s like one of those things you should have been taught as a all your vegetables, dress warmly when it’s chilly out and stay out of the mud with your new shoes.  Someone should have also taught you to dress decently when you go anywhere.  It’s bad enough that the “People of Wal-Mart” (have any of you seen this site??? – in a word..unbelievable) appear in public in such a way but I’ve always felt a little higher standard is required for places of professional business.  Am I wrong here?

Please leave the pink fuzzy slippers at your bedside.  PJs are meant to be worn to bed only and if all you have in your wardrobe is a dirty t-shirt with holes then, by all means, just make sure it covers your body so that flesh is not hanging about for all to enjoy.  Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of pulling up your pants all the way.  And, no, I’m not talking about guys here..pregnant adult women who should know better.  You should have been taught this fundamental at age 2.  I guess it comes down to the social complexity that some people just don’t care how they look.

It’s a shame..mostly because they are bringing someone else into the world to whom they will need to teach to care about pride of self and personal appearance.  I guess my overall message here is to just bathe, find something clean to wear and cover your body with it appropriately.  If you care about how you look, you just might feel better, too.

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Posted on April 29th, 2014 by

Sometimes it’s just effortless, well with the exception of trying to get this baby girl to just turn over!  We asked, she listened.  What a good little baby!  The result was just great imaging.  She was 27w3d here which is an optimal time for a 3D scan.  Babies have begun to develop some fat in their skin so cheeks look a little more plump now.

What you’ll see here is a great 2D facial profile, which is ideal for great 3D images and then two really sweet 3D images.  Mom was happy to share:)  She’s a keeper!

2D facial profile







Comments: 2 Comments »

Posted on April 26th, 2014 by

I love my readers!

Thanks for subscribing and emailing, too.  It makes my blog appealing and adds interest to be able to post your questions and images.  I would love to transform my site into a book one day!  I personally love paper or hardbacks and imagine a wall of white shelving loaded with books in my next house.  Yeah, I’m a bit old-school, I guess.  But for all those who love technology, don’t you think it would make a great Kindle read, too?!

Read below for some props (thanks!!) and a gender question from a new reader and subscriber:

reader:  Hi! I’m expecting my third little one in October. I just wanted to say, before I ask my question, I’ve been reading your blog for the past 3 hours while my kids are down for a nap. I love it! I went for a private 3d ultrasound on Monday, and he said it was a girl! We are so excited because we have two little boys already. I’ve heard so many horror stories since I got it done, and I’m terrified he was wrong. I clearly see ‘three lines’, but I’m no ultrasound technician. What do you think? Thanks in advance! I’ve already subscribed, and I’m excited for more!



wwavb:  Hi! First, let me say thanks so much for reading and subscribing. I’m so happy you are enjoying my (sometimes) sense of humor!  I really am very honored that you spent three hours of your own personal quality time reading my stuff!  Very cool.

So, I am going to guess that you are maybe 14wks?? 15? Please write back and let me know. Maybe you have already come across some of my posts and may already be familiar with my opinion of these ultrasound drive-thrus!  Baby looks a bit small in these images like you may be a little early to determine gender.

If you are less than 18-20wks, wait to paint!  That is really the best time (and later) to determine gender and those images are not proof enough to me to paint pink just yet!  Please know I am not telling you he’s wrong, I just cannot concur based on these images.

Warm wishes,

reader:  You’ve guessed correctly! I was 14 weeks in this ultrasound. I have, in fact, read your posts about the drive-thrus. I must say, if I’d had know your opinion before, I probably would’ve waited. He told me he was 75% sure it was a girl and to come back in two weeks for another look for free. I’m definitely not convinced that it is a girl, nor have I bought anything pink. I do hope that it is, though! Thanks for your input!

wwavb:  I hope so, too!  Pink is so much fun to buy and you could use some estrogen in your family!

Feel free to email me again when you go back and then again when you go for your screen, the diagnostic scan with your doctor’s office at 18-20wks;)

I’d love to tell you pink, too!  Thanks again for reading!

Happy pregnancy,

To anyone who is reading now or in the future, don’t let anyone take your money to guess gender at 14wks!  It truly is a guess and anyone has a 50/50 shot without looking at all, right?!  I say do it if you have the extra cash and if you can keep yourself emotionally neutral.  Check out my recent post to see what I mean by that!
Otherwise, wait to buy pink or blue, wait to paint and (by all means) wait for an ultrasound professional!  You’re not gonna find those in the 3D turnstiles.

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Posted on April 26th, 2014 by

It’s a curious thing..  Why do people assume in my job that if I say I can’t obtain a particular image, they don’t believe me? They can’t read ultrasound, know nothing of the technology or how to use it.  So why would a patient assume I’m not trying my best?  Because Americans want what they want..and it drives me crazy.

I document millimeter changes in appearance of certain structures and measure parts of the brain during an examination, and the patient assumes I’m knowledgeable as I click away taking images and measuring parts unknown to them.  At times, she will even make remarks like “Wow, I’m glad you can see that!” or “I sure am glad you know what you’re doing.”  My job can be quite intricate and patients tend to appreciate that aspect of what I do when it comes to diagnostics.  Yet, if I can’t get a good image of Baby’s face for a 3D, as during a recent experience, or if I can’t tell gender the patient assumes I’m not trying hard enough?  Or there is some magical trick to make Baby move that I am withholding to be spiteful?  I’m struggling to get an image of this face, pushing around on mom’s belly and rolling her from side to side.  I say a number of times that  Baby is just not in a good position..the baby is facing mom’s back and pressed into the uterine wall or placenta, hands and feet and cord are in the way..basically, everything that can be not ideal is.  The question I get?  “Can you try anyway?”

Really?  Why in the world would I  say I can’t see if I could?  And if attempting 3D would help, wouldn’t I have tried it already?  And if you trust that I can determine the normalcy of the structural appearance of your baby’s brain and vital organs, I can promise, getting the cutesy stuff is a piece of cake..if your baby cooperates..believe it or not.

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Posted on April 22nd, 2014 by

..or do you want me to be RIGHT??!”

This is the statement I make to all patients who pressure me for gender way too early in pregnancy.  Baby not being in a great position doesn’t help, either.  Ya know, there’s more at stake here than just being “wrong”.  Parents start to identify with being a mom or dad to a new baby girl.  Thoughts jumpstart to dance recitals and her wedding day.  Dads immediately daydream of the fishing partner they always wanted or run out to buy his first tiny baseball glove.  These are strong emotional ties that often get broken when someone casually throws out the gender card on ultrasound.

Read on to see how this case of “mistaken identity” affected this mom:

reader:   This is my second pregnancy and I am 18 weeks. At my 20 week ultrasound of my first pregnancy I was told by the head ultrasound doctor (radiologist?) that it was definitely a girl and picked out a girl’s name. I ended up going into labor early at 30 weeks and at the hospital while an ultrasound was being done, I kept asking if she was ok.  The poor tech said, “Why do you keep saying she? Were you told it was a girl?” We said yes.  She said, “Well, I see  a scrotum. I’m going to get the Dr.” So it turns out we were the first time this head doctor ever got it wrong and now we are legend at his hospital. We were already calling the baby by the girl’s name we picked and I had a really hard time with the news. The only way I can describe it is like I had to grieve this little girl I had in my head that was suddenly gone. I wouldn’t change a thing about the amazing toddler boy I have now, but at the time, I was a wreck. Needless to say, I don’t want to go through that again. I was told today that the baby is a girl (again) and it is hard for me to believe. So, I just want to see what you think!

probable baby girl-18wks

wwavblogger:  OH MY GOSH!  I HAVE to post this email!  Your story is EXACTLY the reason I implore sonographers to give careful and cautious consideration when determining gender! This is also why I won’t cave to the pressures of patients begging when it’s too early.  I quit the % thing a long time ago…the I’m 80% sure it’s a this or that.  No.  I learned many years ago that even if I say I am not sure but give a “possibly”, parents are already thinking ballet slippers and pink tutus or sailboats and whales!  It’s so true.  It’s just an emotional attachment you begin to develop as soon as an inkling of pink or blue is mentioned.

And any radiologist should know better.  Most of them can’t scan worth a stink anyway (yeah, I said it) and if he was not scanning you and simply observing the sonographer, she didn’t obtain a great image for him…but he should have known that. OBs just read OB ultrasound better than radiologists in my book.
Joke of the day..What’s the difference between a radiologist and an obstetrician?  The obstetrician KNOWS his/her sonographer is a better scanner!  I’m sure I’ll piss off any radiologist who reads this but I don’t care.  That’s why I work for obstetricians:)
On my table, gender has to be very obvious or it’s a no-go.  When patients plead, my motto is “Do you want me to guess, or do you want me to be right?!!”  Then they quit begging.
Now, not having scanned you real-time myself, looking at one single image can be tricky.  By this image only, it looks like dance recitals may be in your future!  Looks like the typical three lines we see in a baby girl but just know I can’t guarantee that by any means! PLEASE, send me another image of gender every time you have another scan in this pregnancy!  Especially since she already has the perfect name!
Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and baby,

Comments: 5 Comments »

Posted on April 20th, 2014 by

Short and sweet today.  This cool little man says Happy Easter!

Here’s to spring, new beginnings and healthy new babies!


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Posted on April 17th, 2014 by

Oh, what our poor patients experience at the hands of our inexperience and in the name of education.

Ya know, one of the things students learn is not only how to use the buttons on the machine, not only how many images to take and what kind, not only how to detect pathology but also how to (or how not to) insert a transvaginal probe.  It can be a little tricky!  We are not gynecologists, sitting there with our head between our patient’s legs, however, there is a right way and a very wrong way to place this probe.  The vagina can be an elusive little boogar depending on a patient’s body shape and, especially if you are at all very new to vaginal probe placement.  One suggestion to a new sonographer is not to try this with your eyes closed.  The gel on the end of that thing can make it feel like a slip-n-slide down there if you’re not careful!  Just like you have to look at the road to know you are in the correct lane, you also have to look at your patient, briefly, to ensure the probe doesn’t migrate..well, south.

Read part of an email from a pregnant patient:

reader:  I had a (pretty harrowing) ultrasound at 7 weeks due to pain and spotting, in which the student tech tried to insert the probe into my anus, twice (really). She didn’t so much as wipe it before shoving it very hard into the correct orifice :-/  Actually there was another lady in the room, but she was tapping away on a computer. When I yelped due to the wandering wand, she looked up and asked if the student needed help, but she said no and continued. I suspected she was a student because of this episode, and sure enough my little report confirmed it.

wwavblogger:  Let me just say that your email and the case of mistaken orifice identity is unfortunate but you totally made me laugh (really).  One of the things a new sonographer has to learn about using a probe is how to insert it.  So sorry this was your experience.  I’m interested in knowing, though, if there was an experienced sonographer supervising her?  Did she say she was a student?  Just curious..  Students and new sonographers should always be supervised.  It’s a peeve of mine when this doesn’t happen!


Patients, speak up if this happens to you!  If you have questions about the competence of your sonographer, you have every right to discuss the concern with your doctor.  Sonographers, pay attention to what you are doing.  If you are unsure, you have to learn to ask the patient if the probe feels like it is in the vaginal canal.  Believe me, she’ll let you know if you are flying south.

Comments: 2 Comments »

Posted on April 13th, 2014 by

There exist a whole plethora of reasons to do an ultrasound on the female pelvis before and after a little bun is baking in the oven.  I know, I know, it’s not as much fun to talk about those “other” things but they are just as important as Baby.  So today’s post is dedicated to the under-appreciated empty uterus.

Our bodies are amazing pieces of fleshy technology!  We are a well-oiled machine, my friend, and the same holds true for GYN parts.  The uterus bleeds like crazy in attempt to remove things that shouldn’t be there or will make us sick and the ovaries produce a cyst and ovulate (release the egg) every single month (for most women).  The lining of our uterus gets thick every month JUST IN CASE a baby might want to implant there and if not, sheds with a period.  Again, this is if your parts are functioning like clock-work.  When they aren’t, my docs come to the rescue.  See, they are not just baby catchers!

Many symptoms warrant your gynecologist to order a pelvic ultrasound.  Abnormal bleeding of any kind at any age is a good place to start..too much bleeding, not enough bleeding, no bleeding, bleeding between periods, painful periods (are any of them pleasant?) and bleeding after menopause are a few of the most common reasons.  Periods are no fun and having one for a month is certainly no celebration!  Pelvic pain or discomfort, bloating or something felt by your doctor during a pelvic exam are other very routine causes for ordering this exam.  Maybe something was diagnosed by a previous ultrasound or CT (CAT scan) and a follow-up was ordered to see if it is resolved.  If you have a family history of some GYN disease, this is yet another indication for ultrasound.  There are certainly many more which is why there are volumes dedicated to the subject in med school.

If one is ordered for you, check with your doctor regarding prep.  Sometimes you have to drink a ton of water for an abdominal scan, most often you don’t in which case this would be a transvaginal ultrasound.  It may sound terrible but it’s not, especially if you are sexually active.  If this is the case (let me think of a politically correct way to say this), the probe is much skinnier than, hopefully, anything that has been introduced to you before.  There.  How was that??  I didn’t say exactly what I wanted here but you get the point.   In other words, if you can manage one, the other will not be a problem!

Here is a link to one of my favorite early posts on the subject of transvaginal exams (you may have to copy and paste the link).  Enjoy!

And since not many people really want to see an image of a uterus or ovary, I’ll attach one of a very cute baby instead!


And what a precious little angel this one is!


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Posted on April 12th, 2014 by

But not in my room.  Sorry!  Cameras are not allowed.  Why are people so surprised by this?  This is a medical exam and a doctors’ office. People, however, think it’s a party anymore…a time to celebrate. And bringing a new life into the family most definitely is a thing of greatness to celebrate!  Just not at your doctor’s office.

People want to record every moment like a birth, a wedding or shower or first birthday.  In this age of technology and such great ultrasound resolution, so do we have the high-res imaging and high-def video capabilities on our cell phones.  Such advances have made it easier than ever to record every moment of our lives. Americans have just assumed the same liberty applies to their ultrasound exam. It does not.  And there’s really nothing like being jerked out of total quiet, ambient lighting and deep focus in the middle of a study with the thunderous click and blinding flash of someone’s point-and-shoot.  After I declaw myself from the ceiling and my heart stops pounding, I have to once again say this is not allowed and resist hurling it to the floor. One would think it to be an obvious rule, like in a theatre during a play or musical.  To say it’s a slight distraction is an understatement.

Okay, enough of my rant.  Let’s laugh at a 3D shot where Baby wasn’t quite enjoying the moment, either!


“Wow, it’s gotten crowded in here!”

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Posted on April 11th, 2014 by

Let’s attempt to clarify what constitutes a GOOD image of little boy or girl fetus parts and delineate from BAD images of said parts.  If you guys read my blog on a regular basis, you KNOW how many emails I receive from parents wanting a second opinion on gender images only to get a “huh?” out of me.  Most of the time, their sonographer gave the nod for male or female only to follow that up with a snowstorm quasi-leg/cheek shot with a ? in the middle…not quite the validation I can support.

I’ve posted other great gender shots throughout the site but let me add a couple more.


Hello!  Any guesses?  I’ll give you guess!  THIS is the boy shot patient’s want to see.  This is the holy-cow-look-at-that-wee-wee-he-is-so-proud shot we are after.  Is there REALLY any question in anyone’s mind here?  I didn’t think so.  This baby boy is about 20wks in this image.



Anybody not see three lines here?  There’s a little dotted circle around the labia..three lines..girly..enough said.  She is about 22wks here.  She really didn’t want to move her legs for us but I could still see it quite well enough to reconfirm baby girl for this couple.


And this one I’ve posted before!  Labia are much more plump closer to that Estimated Date of Confinement.  This baby girl was about 38wks here and probably THE most clear female image I’ve ever obtained.



See the difference?!!  Now compare to some of the images readers have emailed.  The only kind of gender images I like to gift to patients are the ones where anyone who reads ultrasound can take one look and say “Oh, yeah! No doubt!”  Even the most ultrasound-challenged won’t argue with these textbook images of fetal genitalia.  In my room, it has to be unequivocally wee wee or three lines/labia or you get the dreaded “I’m sorry but I just can’t tell today!”  My advice?  If you don’t have a shot similar to these, hold off painting that nursery!

Comments: 3 Comments »

Posted on April 8th, 2014 by

Every healthcare provider knows that nothing in medicine is 100%…but somebody forgot to tell this joker.

I still can’t believe some of the emails I actually get from expectant moms who’ve essentially been promised the gender-equivalent of the moon and stars based on crappy images…and I don’t mean a little crappy. Who taught these people to scan?  One of the things all students should learn in ultrasound training is that any image one takes, another (reading professional) should be able to look at it and know what it is that he or she is seeing.  The perfectionist that I am scans (sometimes too long), striving for the perfect shot with just the right magnification, contrast and clarity with a “no question” angle.  Often times, it just ain’t gonna happen, but this is my goal!  It kills me when I see terrible images like these…and I don’t mean simply for gender.  There are a hundred other fetal parts that deserve the same attention to detail.

Moreover, most are WAY too early in their pregnancies to make such big commitments regarding Baby’s sex!  We’re talking 15-16wks here. No, it’s not an impossible task and I’ve done it myself before but the best of all imaging circumstances must be in order to make such a bold determination.

Read below an email from a reader who has experienced this very situation:

reader:  Hi! I just found your site and I love it! I was hoping that you could just reassure me that what we are having is a little girl? My ultrasound tech said that he was 100% sure it’s a girl because there were definitely no boy parts. But I just wanted a second opinion! Thank you so much!

unnamed unnamed_2


I took one look at these images and thought, ‘What the..?’  Really.  Are you serious.  No sonographer with any level of adequate experience, especially those who specialize in OB, would ever dare to label this a girl OR a boy MUCH LESS to seal it with a “100%”.  Maybe this is why the image isn’t annotated!

I could tell the fetus looked a little small..aka early gestational age ie, too early to determine gender..of course it was!

wwavb:  Holy cow!  All I can say is DO NOT paint a nursery based on these images!!!  And I would be leery of any sonographer who calls anything 100%!  First cardinal rule of ultrasound..nothing in medicine is EVER 100%..  It makes me crazy when patients are given images like this and told it’s a definite!  This is precisely how mistakes with gender determination are made.

 First, I have to know how far along you are.  Based on the images, I’m guessing pretty early??  Now, I don’t want to burst your bubble and this is not to say that you are not having a girl..let’s be clear.  I’m simply saying that determining girl by those images alone is impossible. I did not see your scan live.  However, these are not textbook images for girly parts.  Check out my link below to see a much better image of girl stuff!  It was sent in to me by a reader..  (it’s the second image you see that says “GIRL” on it)
Send me an image later on in your pregnancy and, hopefully, it’s better than the ones you now have.
Thank you so much for reading my blog, writing me and I hope you’ll subscribe for future posts.  Also, follow me on Twitter!  So glad you are enjoying!
Many blessings for a healthy baby,
Ya know, I can’t teach the world to scan.  But maybe I can nip some mistakes in the crappy disheartening image at a time.

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Posted on April 7th, 2014 by

Ok, people, I’ve done virtually nothing with my Twitter account so help me change that!

You can find me @wombwaviewblog

I’ll try to keep up with tweeting about my latest posts and whatever else is going on in the world of ultrasound so please follow me on Twitter @wombwaviewblog!

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Posted on April 6th, 2014 by

Studying ultrasound is no easy task.  Actually, it was the most difficult and challenging thing I’ve ever done.  Check the email I received from my ambitious Aussie reader below:

reader:  Hi there, I just wanted to start off by saying I love reading your blog!

I especially wanted to message you because, whether I’m the first person to say so or not, mothers aren’t the only readers you have!
I am not pregnant, (or even anywhere near the ballpark of having children!), rather, I am extremely eager to pursue sonography as a career, specialising in Obstetrics and Gynecology so I can do what you do. Showing parents their children for the very first time is such a special moment that it would make all of the hard work and waiting worthwhile.
You truly inspire me and keep me motivated, as currently I’m only starting my path towards becoming a sonographer. That’s because sonography is a post-graduate course, and I am new to university this year. (Thus, about 3 years before I can even begin studying ultrasound)
I hope that you take pride in knowing that your blog is bringing comfort and joy to parents as well as inspiration and motivation to people like me. I really do see you as a role model for the type of professional that I would like to be in the future. Please keep up the amazing work!
You are blessed to have such a rewarding career, even with the ups and downs of pregnancy. I am not so blind as to think that pregnancy is always complication free, especially as a reader of your blog, but I know that the smiles on the faces of just one happy couple could make any day a great day.
I’ll be silently cheering for you to continue blogging!
I wish her and every other aspiring sonographer the best in their ultrasound endeavors.  Best advice?  Don’t be afraid to ask questions for as long as it takes to reach clarity.
I was interviewed a while back and I’ll add a small segment from that..basically, general advice for all sonographers.  Enjoy!
I’d love to add a message for sonographers, especially those who are new to the field. A quality exam is important. Your thoroughness, accuracy and attention to detail can determine whether your patient goes to surgery or goes home, only for a Stage 4 process to be found six months later because you only did a quasi-sweep of the RT adnexa. Ultrasound, being the most operator-dependent modality, requires great experience. I recommend all newly-certified sonographers work in a busy hospital where education and supervision are emphasized. You should NOT try to work in a clinical setting alone right out of training! It will take time for you to recognize pathology on your own. You WILL miss things and it will be a disservice to your patients. I cannot emphasize this enough. Ask questions of your supervisors and physicians. Ask for supervision while scanning. Look up answers. Become informed. Details matter. Talk to your patients and listen. It’s important they feel you care about why they are seeing you. Don’t just be a good sonographer, be a great one. Your patients deserve it. Good luck in your ultrasound career where education and the opportunities to learn are endless.  We never know it all so keep challenging yourself!

Comments: 1 Comment »

Posted on April 2nd, 2014 by

..This is how you know you should NOT begin decorating Baby’s room after your ultrasound.. If your sonographer can’t decide whether you are having a boy or a girl like your 3-year-old can’t choose between strawberry jam or grape jelly for a pb&j, DON’T PAINT YOUR NURSERY! (No contest..grape, definitely, grape.)

Read on from a patient who experienced just this scenario:

reader:  Here is my 17 week ultrasound. The tech went back and forth between boy and girl and finally decided on boy after 10 minutes. She was also still in training. What do you think? Oh and the cord was between the legs. I’m so confused by this image. I go back tomorrow to look again. I love ur blog by the way!


wwavb:  Oh, wow.  I see why you have to go back! lol There truly is no way to tell from that image what you are having..I can see legs. And I’m doubting tomorrow is going to be any better.  First, because you’re still early and, second, because the girl in training doesn’t have a clue. Anyone who waffles back and forth between gender for any period of time should not guessing to begin with!  People like her are precisely why patients drive me crazy questioning my guess a thousand times!!!

“Are you sure?”… “Are you really sure?” … “How sure are you” and my favorite, “What percentage sure are you?”

Tidbit of advice..even if she guesses, hold off on that favorite paint color!  Feel free to send me another image tomorrow but hopefully you’ll have someone more experienced?? If she is training, there should be someone with more experience there supervising her! Ask for that person.

Thank you so much for reading and subscribing to my blog! I hope you find it fun and informative and thanks for emailing me:) Please pass it along to all your expectant friends and fam!

Wishing you a healthy fetus,


And by the way, readers, when patients ask me this most nagging and utterly exhausting, never-ending line of questioning, I always say “I don’t guess! Either I’m sure or I can’t tell!”

Holy cow, if I had a dollar for every time I was asked that question, I’d be living somewhere on the Amalfi coast right now and not deciding which scrubs I’m wearing tomorrow..

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Posted on March 31st, 2014 by

I commonly get questions about the report as I pull up this page on the monitor when I am revealing Baby’s weight after taking a biometry (that is, the measurements of Baby’s head, belly and femur).  Patients usually want to know why the measurements I took differ from the current gestational age.  The fact is they can..this is not an exact science so even a difference of a week can be totally normal.  Sometimes, a large difference can simply reflect a dating issue, meaning you are either farther or less along than you thought.  Your doctor knows how to differentiate between the two.

Check out part of the report below.  This is an old exam on a Baby B who was growing just fine!


First, notice GA.  This is the Gestational Age of Mom currently.  EDD of 8/15/2007 is the Estimated Due Date determined earlier in the pregnancy which corresponds with the GA.

Below that, you’ll see AUA or Actual Ultrasound Age.    It says 19w3d, a couple of days farther along.  This is merely an average of all four measurements taken and is considered consistent with GA, meaning her due date will stay the same.

The biometry consists of the BPD (width of the fetal head), HC (head circumference), AC (abdominal circumference) and FL (femur length).  The names in parentheses refer to the physicians whose charts for these measurements are programmed into the software.  The values are taken in centimeters and each one represents a GA based on that measurement.  You can see that the BPD measured 8d larger.  This is totally normal.  All the other measurements were pretty close to GA within a couple of days.  Again, these all demonstrate normal growth.

Below the dimensions you’ll see EFW or Estimated Fetal Weight calculated in grams with a small standard deviation and also displayed in ounces.  This is determined by the four above measurements entered into the system by the sonographer.

Below that are ratios of these measurements.  If baby isn’t growing properly, it will reflect here but we will also see that in the individual measurements.

Below that is an M-Mode or Motion Mode which demonstrates the fetal heart rate (HR) taken.  120 – 160bpm or beats/minute is totally normal.

This is only a small portion of a report on twins but enough to explain Biometry.  This concludes Ultrasound 101.

Have a great day, people!

Comments: 1 Comment »

Posted on March 29th, 2014 by

I thought this title was a very appropriate follow-up to yesterday’s post!  Not only is there sometimes a crowd in the uterus but also in the ultrasound examination room.  While this is an exciting time for the couple, it has become very much like a reunion where hoards of family show up for the occasion and actually expect to all pile into the room for the spectacle.  This is not okay.  You see, I LOVE the diagnostic, puzzle-piecing together of each examination.  The finding of it I can learn from that.  The entertainment part of it..not so much..but it comes with the territory.

Over the years, as ultrasound has become more commonplace as an important diagnostic tool for the obstetrician, so people in general come to have expectations about these visits.  It has always been and will always be, first, a medical examination.  I am looking for abnormalities in or around your baby.  Occasionally, I find them.  This is the goal of my job and the scope of the practice of ultrasound.  When this is your first baby or if you’ve never experienced a fetal abnormality in the past, patients seem to be oblivious to the possibility of such findings.

If you bring your parents, grandparents, in-laws, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and all your nieces and nephews of all ages with carriers and strollers, expect to leave them outside.  Examination rooms are usually quite small and we need some quiet and concentration here.  We cannot focus on your baby and the task at hand with random loud chatter, jokes and laughter from the peanut gallery; people breathing down our necks and talking in our ears; a multitude of fingers pointing at the monitor; twenty questions of “what is that dark space up there” (one of a hundred dark spaces and I’m expected to point to the monitor until I find the area in question); the ringing and text alerts of ten cell phones and family carrying on their own conversations about everything from what they saw on TV last night to neighborhood gossip to what everyone wants for dinner.  This is exactly what happens when so many are present…distracting, to say the least.  But we know they are simply there for the fun and excitement of having a new baby in the family.  We understand this which is why we do business first and party later.

So, typically, I will take the patient and one person back first.  Do the important medical stuff.  I love to point out parts of Baby as we go along (without the help of random family fingers on my monitor) and patients usually desire and appreciate this narration.  When diagnostics are complete, I’ll allow family in and then do a once-over on Baby, pointing out all the cutesy parts I can find like little piggies, a cute profile and gender.  This is usually all they want, anyway!

So, when it’s your turn for an ultrasound, bring your spouse and mom if you want but lie to everyone else.  Tell them it isn’t allowed.  They can see pictures later.  It’s sometimes a pretty funny sight, though.  Once the exam is over, after being packed in there like sardines, I’ll open the door and all the family comes spilling out into the hallway like mimes or clowns pouring out of a VW bug.

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Posted on March 28th, 2014 by

Is three company or is it a crowd?  I think when we are talking a uterus, crowded..definitely crowded.  Granted, they may start out with lots of wiggle room but space is a hot commodity by the end.

I scanned first trimester triplets the other day and couldn’t help feeling this woman has no idea what she is in for.  I know twins can be a quite difficult pregnancy so imagining three in the third trimester and as newborns is completely unfathomable.  They were IVF babies; two were implanted.  Go figure one of them would morph into two!  They were thrilled..and scared.

We really only scan anything beyond twins in the first trimester and then refer them out to the perinatologist for management of the rest of the pregnancy.  An ultrasound exam is quite easy early on.  My job is to determine how many babies are seen, how many main sacs (chorions) exist and how many amnions.  If two babies share a space, then it is important to try to discern a separating membrane between them.  We also measure each one for size and document normal heart rates and yolk sacs.

You can google images of triplets by ultrasound. I don’t personally have any to share!

I’m sure this couple I met is wondering how in the world they are going to get through the next several months, much less provide for three babies at the same time.  It’s like I always say, our babies come to us when they are ready..not necessarily when we are.  Sometimes they need a little company coming into this great big world.  Many families have done this before them; all of you with three buns in the oven will find a way, too.  There always seems to be enough love to go around.

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Posted on March 23rd, 2014 by

Patients typically find out about this the hard way.  They seek medical attention and end up with a terrible reaction to latex that they didn’t even know they had.  Whether the unwanted outcome is hives, swelling or itching..none of it is fun!

Of course, we exercise universal precautions when performing ultrasound examinations..we wear gloves with every patient and wash hands when removed.  We have signs throughout the office, as most places do, reminding patients to let us know when latex is a problem.  As one less thing I have to remember, I simply use vinyl gloves instead.  They do not have as much “give” as latex gloves but get the job done, nonetheless.

Most of you ladies are familiar with transvaginal ultrasound exams.  Pregnant or not, if you’ve ever needed a pelvic evaluation with ultrasound, it’s probably been performed with this approach.  One of my very first posts was about ladies who have had this done for the first time and their subsequent reaction.  I usually get the big saucer-like eyes and hilarious commentary!   Here is a link to that one along with a picture of the “said” probe…(you may need to drag this link to your browser)

So, even for these exams I use a glove instead of a condom.  Again, it gets the job done but it looks pretty funny.  I usually insert the middle finger of the glove over the probe, leaving vinyl fingers flapping around.  Patients typically do make comments about this or laugh.  Hey, we have to make comedy in medicine wherever we can find it, right?

Next time you find yourself about to come in close personal contact with a transvaginal probe, ask your sonographer about the cover if you have a latex allergy.  Down South is not a place you want to discover you have one!!

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Posted on March 21st, 2014 by

It always cracks me up when grandmothers-to-be come in for a sonogram visit.  They tell you how excited they are, that this is the first time they are seeing their grandbaby and they just can’t wait.  I start my examination and the funniest part of this whole experience begins..they talk to their grandchild as if he or she is already here.  And it’s hilarious.

It’s the “coochey coo” in the baby voice and “Nana’s here!”

Also, it’s “Come on, turn for Grandma.  Let’s see your precious little face..come on, come on!”, as she pokes on mom’s belly.

I think at some point she forgets that there are only adults in the room and she continues her entire conversation for the duration of the scan with the baby voice.  “Nana came just to see you today.  She had such a long flight and mommy has that room all ready and we all just can’t wait for this baby to get here.  It’s so cute, yes it is, yes it is.  Let Granny see that baby.  Oh, look at that little ear.  Oh, those toes are just so precious.  Can we tell what baby weighs, today?  It’s Granny’s precious baby…” and on and on.

Keep in mind I’m still trying to do my job and undeniably distracted but you gotta love Grams.  She’ll teach your child all kinds of great things, spoil her a little and provide unsolicited advice for child-rearing for the rest of her life but she’ll be there in a pinch.  I hope I can be that kind of pain in the ass one day when I’m a Nonna, too.

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Posted on March 20th, 2014 by not something I always hear.  Don’t get me wrong!  Plenty of my patients are thoughtful enough to spout these words of gratitude (which I SO appreciate!) and it’s not like I HAVE to hear it from every patient!  ..but some people need manners…and a bath.

There are some patients about whose upbringing I have to wonder.  I think anyone who deals with the general public on a daily basis feels the same.  When someone helps you, you thank them.  When you go out in public, especially to your doctor’s office, you put on decent clothing.  Most people don’t wear attire in which they are more out than in.  You typically bathe daily, make an effort to brush your hair and, especially, your teeth.  Some people missed out on these very pertinent lessons somewhere along the way. For example, I am in the middle of scanning a young patient today.  I get a knock at the door.  Honey Boo Boo’s family walks in.  Joy.  Well, it was only two people but I am assuming it was the sister and the BF/FOB.  He says nothing…the entire time.  The sister yammers on (barely recognizable as English) about some family garbage.  They barely acknowledge the ultrasound and moving fetus at all.

I just wanted to ask if their mother never taught them any manners..or personal hygiene.

People can have kids left and right but raising them properly takes time, effort, lots of love and discipline.  If our children are going to grow up to be responsible and respectful young adults, teaching them manners should also be at the top of that list.  My kids knew how to say “thank you” before 2 and, thankfully, grew out of the stinky “I don’t want to use soap” phase a couple of years later.

Rude and smelly people are not my cup of tea.  Thank heavens for Febreze Air Effects (linen & sky – it’s my fave).


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Posted on March 16th, 2014 by

So, any of you ladies out there who are old enough to have visited the Gynecologist at some point in your lives are familiar with the fanciful attire we have you wear.  “Okay now, undress from the waist down and cover up with this!”, as we point to the green paper drape on the table.  We’re women, too..we get it.  This is not a visit to the spa and no woman enjoys scooting to the edge and setting her feet in stirrups.  Alas, it has to be done if we are to properly take care of our person.  And we do understand that people who are pregnant look WAY more forward to doing this than those of us who are not.

Funny story about those paper drapes:

So a little old Asian woman is on my schedule for an ultrasound.  She barely understands English and speaks it very brokenly.  She nods as if she understands the instructions for getting undressed so, very unsure of this, I step out and give her a minute.  When I re-enter..relief!  Ah, yes, she understood and did just as I asked.  She must comprehend way more than she can speak.  I proceed with her examination and when all was done, I give her instructions again on how to clean up, get dressed and come outside into the hallway so I can show her where to wait and be checked in for her doctor.  She nods (many times) in understanding.

Let me pause here to explain that as I am waiting for the patient to dress, I am just outside my door furiously making notes on my images to ensure a complete and accurate report and circling diagnosis and procedure codes for my billing slip.  The patient opens my door to leave, I look her in the eyes and smile to say “thank you” and she says it back. I direct her to the waiting room and hurriedly look back at my notes.  I proceed to my room for clean-up and to begin writing my report of the exam.

A few minutes later, one of the MAs (Medical Assistants) comes to my room and asks why my patient is sitting in the waiting room covered with her drape!!!  H O L Y  C O W!!  Yes, she did.  She exited my room without getting dressed, with the drape still around her waist and I didn’t even notice!  Poor thing obviously did not quite comprehend ALL her exit instructions.  You know, Mandarin translator I am not but you never really EXPECT for a patient to walk out of an exam room with no pants.

Half naked for your test is one thing.  Half naked in the waiting room?  Probably not a good trend to start…

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Posted on March 15th, 2014 by

Or, rather, Estimated Fetal Weight.  This is the approximate weight of the fetus after we measure the head, abdominal circumference and femur.  Our machine takes this information and plugs it into the software to estimate Baby’s weight.  I’ve posted on BPD, HC, AC and FL before so I won’t focus on HOW we get those measurements today, but instead, the accuracy of them.

I am asked several times per week, “Now how accurate is this weight?”  Are we always right on with birthweight?  No.  Are we always close?  Another no.  But MOST of the time, we are.  It is an educated guess and based only on the measurements WE take and there are many variables that play into obtaining those properly.  As baby gets closer to the EDD (Estimated Date of Confinement – don’t ya love that acronym??!  So appropriate!), Baby gets bigger, the head becomes more engaged and the fluid can start to diminish a bit.  There is only one right way to measure Baby and all of these things make her harder to see and these measurements more difficult to obtain, especially depending on Baby’s position.

Also, Baby is packing it on in the last month!  Average growth is about 1/2lb per week!  If you’re baby is trending heavier, Baby will usually gain more than the 1/2lb and if trending smaller, then less than 1/2lb per wk.  This is why when a patient comes in at 32wks and asks how much I think her baby will weigh at birth, I always say “If I could predict that, I could have retired a long time ago!”  Sadly enough, we don’t use a crystal ball.  Sometimes babies grow in spurts, too.  We might see a huge head at 30wks and a few weeks later see that everything else caught up.  So…..NO WAY to predict!

Technically, our software tells us at term to figure plus or minus 1.5lbs.   However, IF I feel that I am getting really easy and accurate views of the head and belly (especially the belly since most of the EFW comes from the AC or abdominal circumference), then I feel pretty good to say that I may be over-estimating by about a 1/2lb.

Remember, if you get an ultrasound and an EFW at week 38 and you deliver at 39, don’t forget to add in that extra poundage!

Here’s to a fat and happy fetus!

And if you have stories you’d like to share or questions about weight, feel free to email me or comment on this post!

Thanks for reading,

wwavblogger 🙂

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Posted on March 14th, 2014 by

Or maybe not..especially if your physician’s office has a “no video recording” policy in his/her practice.  Let me just say I catch lots of flack for this!  It’s me who has to enforce it and me who has to hear it when I do.  In this day and age of technological advances where you can pretty much do all things in life, necessary and not, with a smartphone, patients and family automatically whip out that phone and start setting those video options about the time they step foot into my room.

Then I have to be the bad guy.  “I’m sorry, you can’t record.”  Holy cow.  The world stops spinning.  Mouths drop.  Chests puff up.  Attitudes ensue.  I immediately get hit with the following:

“Why not?”

“It’s MY baby!”

“Whose rule is this?”

“Well, the doctor is not in here right now.”

” I want to talk to your manager.”

“They just want you to pay for pictures.”

“This sucks!”

Suck, though it may, if it’s office policy, you don’t really have  a choice but to oblige or step out.  My co-worker has a problem enforcing this law of the land.  She hates confrontation and is always afraid a patient is going to come flying over the table and hold a knife to her throat.  I, on the other hand, don’t really care.  It’s not my rule!  That usually is my first reply.

Then I go into my spiel.  “First and foremost, this is a medical diagnostic exam.  They legally own it.  Yes, it’s YOUR baby but it’s THEIR practice, their machine, I am their employee and this is a service THEY are providing for you.  You can ask your doctor in the room if you can record the heartbeat but I can’t let you in here.”

If someone refuses to put the phone away, I can stop scanning and ask him to leave the room.  I can call for back-up if he refuses…the office manager (you don’t want me to do this).  Finally, I can Tarzan-call the Video Mafia who will drop out of the ceiling and capture the trouble-maker with a fish net.  I haven’t had to resort to such theatrics yet.  It’s simply a matter of time 🙂


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Posted on March 13th, 2014 by

Some patients do not have a filter.  Seriously.  Sometimes the information they divulge is hilarious.  Sometimes it’s unbelievable.  Most often, it’s just too much information.  Regardless, we have to master the poker face  (pa pa pa pa poker face.  I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.  Love her, hate her, meat dress or not, you have to admit she is an amazing talent).  Ok, so enough pop culture and back to TMI..

No, we can’t determine to the day when it was exactly that you conceived, much less pm vs am.  Your sonographer doesn’t need to know you slept with two guys in the same day so you’re just going to wait and see what color the baby is when you deliver to determine paternity…good job.  (Yes, this happened.)  She also doesn’t need to know you had to call the cops on your crazy mother or that your FOB (father of baby) used to date your sister.  TMI.

We don’t need to know what things you put in your vagina, unless of course, they get stuck up there and that is the reason for your visit.  Even still, this information may be necessary for your doc but it’s not something you have to share with me.  Really.  TMI.

There are many other things the entire office, including staff and other patients, also don’t need to what’s going on in your custody battle, that you’re two months late with your car payment or what’s on the grocery list for your post-PAP Smear errands.  And nobody cares who posted what on Facebook.  Some things can just wait until you leave your doctor’s office and nobody wants to hear it.  This is simply one of those places in which cell phones should be banned.

There is such a thing as Doctor Office etiquette; let’s keep it on a need-to-know basis, people.

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Posted on March 12th, 2014 by

Several times a week after I squirt gel on a belly, I usually get a surprised “Wow, that was warm!” or “I thought that was going to be freezing!”  Most doc’s don’t have gel warmers in their exam rooms so most people are pretty surprised when I point to the electric warmer plugged into the wall.

I’m pretty amazed when people say they’ve never heard of such a thing or that it’s such a great idea.  Yes, it is, as a matter of fact!  But the truth is they have been around for longer than I’ve been a sonographer, so new they are not.

Gel, at room temperature, does feel like ice.  Aquasonic 100 is the brand that practically monopolizes the gel industry.  It possesses just the right degree of viscosity that it pretty well stays where you squirt it without running down the sides of mom’s belly, the way mineral oil used to do before gel’s inception.

We go through a gallon or so per week!

Funny gel story:  We sonographers typically hold the bottle upside down and shake, like attempting to coax out that last ounce of ketchup for your fries.  I once did this with a bottle directly over mom’s belly..and the cap wasn’t screwed on entirely!  Yep, you guessed it.  The cap catapulted onto mom’s belly along with a half bottle of gel.  Oops!  :/ Fortunately, she wasn’t hurt and we ended up laughing about it!



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Posted on March 9th, 2014 by

It’s positively amazing to me the power of the fetus.  Our children can melt our hearts in a way no one else can.

So, as a follow-up to my last post, the very same couple who left our office like fire-breathing dragons melted like a hot knife in butter the very second they saw their baby on that monitor.  Total transformation.  It was ooh’s and ah’s and oh-my-gosh-did-you-see-that’s.  It’s hard to stay mad when you watch your unborn child bouncing around in there like she is on a trampoline.  It’s pretty cute.  And incredible.  And surreal, especially if it’s your first.  The awe you feel is an understatement.  Considering what happened the day before (I, fortunately, was not there or witness to the wrath), I decided to play up the moment and took a little extra time to point out flailing arms, hands waving hi and 10mm feet.  Seeing a little nose and lips pretty much sealed the deal.  They were totally in love and forgot all about the circumstances surrounding getting their appointment made in the first place.

In this business, you have to learn how to diffuse a situation with calm words, a smile and professionalism.  When that doesn’t work, Baby will take care of the rest 🙂

Jena's Sweet Pea








These are pics that not just a mom can love!

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Posted on March 7th, 2014 by

So, what do you do when a patient freaks out?  I don’t get it, really.  Who in their right minds yell, scream, stomp feet and curse their OB staff?  Really?  These are the people who are taking care of you in your pregnancy.  These people work with your doc to bring a healthy baby into this world for you.  Moreover, these are the people you have to put your feet in stirrups for..they stick you with needles and shove all kinds of instruments into your nether regions and you are going to tick them off?  Our staff is the utmost in professional to everyone, bitch or not, but  you win more bees with honey.  I’m just sayin’.

Practices, like many other offices, rely on computers to manage all their scheduling.  But humans operate computers.  So you are bound to encounter computer-generated human error somewhere at some point in your lifetime.  Does this mean you should go off the deep end?  When this happens, we truly bend over backwards to try to accommodate a patient’s needs.  Truly.  That means we’ll do whatever we have to do to make it right..stay late, work during lunch or squeeze her between two other appointments.  Alas, we work on a schedule (even though we all know how that schedule can go awry in a doctor’s office) and most of us have a life outside of the office that demands our presence, especially when we have kids and families and pets of our own.  So, sometimes we’re limited…our schedules are booked, her doc isn’t here, the sonographer can’t stay.  It’s life.

There is a saying in management among doctors’ office administration..patients are the lifeblood of the practice.  So, of course, without patients, there is no practice.  However, anyone who works with the general public KNOWS that you just can’t please all people.  That is to say, some people are not EVER pleased, ALL of which who also have absolutely no personal accountability.  These are the ones that I’d like to boot right out the front door..pregnant or not.  Good thing it isn’t my practice, I guess!

So what happens when patients are late?  And I don’t mean two minutes late; I’m talking the more than 15 minutes, or 25 or 40 or 1 1/2hrs late.  Their appointments get cancelled or rescheduled to a different time or day.  This is the only option.  Is it fair to boot the person on the table or the one who showed up on time?  Not gonna happen.  Late, late, late with no phone call, explanation or apology just late..and horrendously bitchy.  Often times, these patients present with a mouth white with foam and a spinning head that spews forth obscenities like pea soup from Linda Blair.  It’s not a pretty site.

All I can say to any patient with a mouth like Nicki Minaj and a how-dare-you attitude is don’t expect any favors..I won’t have any openings, no cutting into my lunch and I sure won’t be staying late.   You won’t be making any friends here.  If you’re not careful, you may get dismissed from the practice so they never have to deal with you again.  It’s happened.

Remember, it’s good to have friends in GYN places…bees, honey…it may be cliche’ but there’s a reason that saying has been around longer than ultrasound.

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Posted on March 4th, 2014 by

Don’t you remember the first time you ever saw your child’s heartbeat by ultrasound?  It was so surreal and pretty amazing, wasn’t it?!  It’s one of the first things a parent asks to see.

Home pregnancy tests these days are so advanced and boast being able to tell you your pregnant from your first missed day.  This may be a great advance in pee tests but all it does is make the mom-to-be want to rush out to her doctor’s office for confirmation.  The problem is most OB docs won’t try to confirm a pregnancy until 6 or sometimes even 8wks.  So, mom has to wait..and wait..and wait.

We’ve talked about heartbeat so many times in previous posts.  I will reiterate here that  too early in the pregnancy, we just can’t see it.  The earliest we can see a heartbeat is about 5w6d from LMP or Last Menstrual Period and then only with the most current and modern technology like the mac daddy I use at work.  The only machine better would be used at MFM, Maternal Fetal Medicine, the high-risk OB office.  If your dates vary even by a day earlier, we will likely not see the flicker of cardiac activity.  Even then, it is discernable but sometimes very difficult to measure for a rate.  Waiting a week makes a world of difference in how well we can see, even better after two.  It’s also much easier to measure the embryo for dating the pregnancy.  For these reasons, you must wait to see your doctor and have your first ultrasound.

A fetal heart rate ranges between 120 – 160 beats per minute or BPM.  As an embryo, it starts out slower, really increases over the next couple of weeks and then levels out to the 120-160 range.  I won’t discuss how slow is too slow or how fast is too fast because it depends on GA (gestational age) and how other things look early on as to whether your doctor is concerned about the rate.  Like I have stated numerous times before, some things sometimes have to be deferred to your physician’s interpretation!

Regardless of when it happens in the pregnancy, seeing Baby’s heartbeat for the first time is still an amazing thing to share with parents, especially when it’s a wanted pregnancy and the waterworks ensue.  It’s hard for ME to choke them back, specifically on occasion when you know it’s IVF or this patient has long struggled with infertility.  It’s a really special event to witness..sniff, sniff.  (Note to other sonographers..keep a box of tissues handy!)



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Posted on March 1st, 2014 by

What exactly do I do? Let’s break it down. This information will definitely be helpful to anyone interested in training for a career as a sonographer. Many are fascinated by ultrasound! So, this may also be an interesting read for those who are merely curious about what we do. This may also be a little long, so hunker down with a good cup o’ joe.

Ultrasound is very technical, so attention to detail is of great importance. We work in the millimeters, so spacial concepts and 3-dimensional thinking are necessary. We can visualize mentally what we are only partially seeing on the monitor. For new sonographers, this gets easier with improved scanning ability over time. None of us were great sonographers right out the gate!

So, what am I? I have many names…sonographer, ultrasound technologist, ultrasound tech or technician. A certified sonographer is someone with a couple of years of experience who has passed a Physics exam and one specialty examination (like OB/GYN). You then earn the credentials of RDMS, Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. There are many other examinations for which one can earn more credentials.

We start off with some book knowledge. We learn medical terminology, A&P, pathology (disease) and how it presents, ultrasound physics, biology, and examination protocol, for example. In my particular training, we started clinical rotations where we visited different clinical settings for a period of time. We would follow other more experienced sonographers to observe examinations. I learned a little about the technologist/patient relationship like what to say and (most importantly!) what not to say.

We also learned how to present our examinations to the Radiologist, the reading physician. You better have all your ducks in a row here, people! They are tough. They can and will ask you a hundred questions, and you better have the right answer waiting. Like any other profession, some are easier to work with and offer more guidance. Some, well..don’t. After you are more experienced and have proven yourself time after time, the tough ones let up a little:) They know when a sonographer knows her stuff, and they know when they can trust your skill and ability. It just takes time.

We learned how to handle patients in hospital beds, how to transport them, and how to handle their catheters. Learning to keep urine, vomit, or blood off your person was a good time, too! We also learned what to do if it happened anyway and how to not get sick yourself. It doesn’t help your patient! If you have a good teacher, you also learn how to handle patients with dignity and respect. It’s hard for someone to feel that when they lie in a hospital bed. In an outpatient setting, you learn that patients are the lifeblood of a practice. When dealing with the general public, you can’t always say what you want, and you have to learn to filter.  This is sometimes VERY HARD to do!

A sonographer learns scanning ability with hands-on training with a machine and an experienced sonographer at the helm. Ultrasound machines are very much like most computers. They all have the same basic functions, but some have a few more bells and whistles than others. We learn what something looks like by watching someone else.  S…l…o…w…l…y over time we begin to be able to recognize parts ourselves. Then we take over the probe. We have to learn how to hold it and find the parts ourselves. We learn how to properly measure organs and how to adjust 40 knobs so that the image looks the way it should. Additionally, we have to learn image protocol which includes what images to take and how many.

Eventually, after a few months of scanning, these technical details become second nature. As soon as the probe touches the skin, we set about making our image look as needed without much thought. It is only then that we start to recognize pathology. Sometimes, disease processes present exactly as one learned from the book, sometimes not. Oftentimes, we see something we know is NOT normal, but we can’t exactly put a name to the process. What students need to know is that one of the most important things they’ll learn about ultrasound is to first learn what “normal” is.  Once one scans many normal exams, it is much easier to recognize when something is wrong.

We learn all the above for many different parts of the body! Some aspects of ultrasound include Intracranial and Peripheral Vascular (vessels of the arms and legs), Echo (the heart), Small Parts (breast, testicle and thyroid), Abdominal (all abdominal organs and vessels), OB or Obstetric (maternal and fetal), GYN or Gynecology (pelvic organs in a non-pregnant female), and many others. Ultrasound is also performed on the eyes and in more recent years, muscles and nerves. We also spent a bit of time learning about biohazard waste management and HIPAA regulations that keep patient information private.

Over time and with more experience, we learn how to better manage our patients and case loads. I say it’s a process with a long learning curve, especially for anyone starting out with no medical background. At times, I cursed my choice of career, place of employment, and certain unpleasant physicians. I sometimes cried before and after a particularly hellish workday or weekend of call. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. BUT I did it. And slowly but surely, the puzzle pieces came together. They began to fit in a way that brought light and clarity to every exam I performed. Suddenly, it just started to make sense.

When I began to ask more questions about something I didn’t understand, I received better response from docs I admired for their extensive education, intelligence, and knowledge. You can’t be afraid to ask questions! It’s important to your docs, their practice, and patients. It’s also important to you, the sonographer, for your own developing skill and ability. This confidence grows over time! It’s a great feeling when you finally get to this point.

To this day, I still get a rush when I recognize pathology and all the puzzle pieces come together. It makes me happy when I can explain something to a patient that gives clarity to her understanding. There’s nothing like a “thank you” (or even a hug!) by a patient. And who doesn’t love positive feedback by a physician who says you did a great job? As difficult as my career was in the beginning, I’m still at it after 23 years. And year after year, post all the blood, sweat, tears and pain, I feel I’ve come a long way:)


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Posted on February 27th, 2014 by

So, I wrote this post about two years ago as one of my firsts.  It’s worth addressing again.  Now that I have a few regular readers and since most of you are pregnant, it’s definitely worth repeating!

Basically, you have questions..some we (sonographers) can answer and some we just can’t!


Probably, the most frequent question I get asked is if everything looks okay, healthy, normal, etc.  Wow, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this I could retire by now!!  Usually to the patient’s dismay, this is something NO SONOGRAPHER can ever tell you.  Firstly, not everything that is abnormal can be seen by ultrasound (some chromosomal abnormalities, for example).  No sonographer can ever say that a fetus has Down Syndrome simply by an ultrasound examination alone.  Yes, we look for red flags; occasionally, we see them; sometimes we don’t.  However, other tests have to be done to confirm such.  If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know there are a multitude of tests that your doctor will request at certain times in your pregnancy depending on what the two of you have discussed.

Secondly, only your physician, his/her nurse or doc on call in his/her absence has the legal right to give you these results.  Yes, it is my job to know what I am seeing and to know if something does not appear structurally normal.  That is the scope of my find abnormalities and report them to your doctor.  I have to be able to answer his/her questions about what I am seeing, questioning or diagnosing and how other parts of your baby are functioning in light of the finding.  It’s a big piece of your pregnancy puzzle that helps your doctor determine how your pregnancy needs to be managed.

Regardless of whether it is something relatively insignificant that we see or seriously abnormal, it is NEVER our place to inform you of these findings.  Our job is to share this information or any suspicions with your doctor, your doctor examines the information and concludes whether he or she agrees with our findings and your doctor then shares his/her interpretation of the information with you along with what options he/she recommends next.

The reason it is done this way is because

a) sonographers are not physicians; your doctor went to school for many years to learn how to manage your pregnancy and care and

b) your doctor is the only person who is truly qualified to answer the plethora of ensuing questions when a problem IS suspected.

Finally, you have to remember that it is your physician with whom you have the personal relationship.  Your doctor cares for you and your unborn child and your doctor wants to be the person to break any news to you, console you and inform you.  Occasionally, I will have a persistent patient or spouse who will say, “Yeah, but you KNOW whether you see something really wrong or not.”  I’ll admit that I do but I always defer to the physician’s interpretation.  I know it is simply parent anxiety and a lack of understanding of proper medical protocol that drives the questions.  For the nervous patient, it does sometimes feel like an eternity waiting for results.  My usual response when a patient has asked this question is “Your doctor has to look at all of these images and he/she will discuss your ultrasound when you see him/her next.”

Only your doctor can advise you, calm your fears and reassure you about your pregnancy in a way that no one else can!


As always, feel free to ask me your questions!  If it pertains to the scope of my job, I’ll be happy to answer.  If it’s a question your doc needs to answer, you can be sure I’ll defer to your physician!

Happy pregnancies to you all 🙂

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Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by

Okay, so we’ve talked about how some 3D images are impossible due to fetal position.  When Baby is facing Mom’s back, there is almost nothing you can do to get them to flip over!  These moms (and all family who joined in for the festivities) are totally bummed that Baby wouldn’t show off.  Often times for these exams, that’s all they show..their bums.

However, SOMEtimes babies are just in a fabulous position for 3D images so that obtaining them is just effortless..and beautiful!  This is one of those times!  Mom and Dad were a cute young couple who were so excited to get these great shots and had no problem with me sharing with the world:)

Here’s hoping your baby cooperates like this!



















She is so precious!



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Posted on February 18th, 2014 by

When your feet are in stirrups.  Is there anything really so very important to text about when your feet are in stirrups and a probe is in your vagina?  I think not.  And are people really so tied to their technological communication with other people that this is absolutely necessary during a medical examination?

It’s also rude for other people to be texting during your examination.  It’s distracting and the phone should be off.  This is a time to focus on your exam or for your friend to hold your hand.  If he/she wants to text, they can go back out to the waiting room.

Pregnant or not, there is a time to put away the phone…while you’re behind the wheel, while having your teeth cleaned and any time you’re half naked with feet in the air.  Just sayin’.

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Posted on February 16th, 2014 by

Why do some people have great ultrasound images and some look like fuzz?

Most people know that ultrasound uses sound waves, basically sonar (like a fish finder!) to obtain images.  The sound waves leave the probe, travel through the gel, through skin, fat, muscle, through the uterus and fluid, through Baby and then back up again.  Voila’.  An image is seen on the monitor made up of all the things the waves hit along the way.

The sound waves travel great through water, in this case, amniotic fluid but they slow down as they travel through tissue and don’t travel at all through bone, air and gas.  This is why ultrasound has some limitations and can’t see everything. This is also why we use gel. It acts as water to help conduct the sound waves. Without it, a thin layer of air exists between the probe and skin producing no image…or very little.

Sound attenuates as it goes further into the body..that is, it loses power.  So the deeper the sound waves have to go to get to Baby, the less power they have by the time they get back and the poorer the quality of the image on the monitor.  When a thin person is scanned, the sound waves don’t have to travel very far which usually produces a phenomenal image.  When a heavy person is scanned, the sound has farther to travel and it loses much of it’s power on the way down so it then has very little to send back up to the monitor.  It is simply Ultrasound Physics 101, though we can absolutely not undermine the VAST complexity of this subject to call it simple.

Other things interfere, as well.  If Baby is facing your back, we see very little, especially in the way of cute images.  Maternal intestines or bowel loops contain air and gas and we can’t see past that, either.  For some patients, it is an unexplained body type issue.  I have scanned thin people that ended up a terrible scan and heavy people where I thought I’d see nothing but ended up getting great images.  It all just depends on how much and what kind of tissue lies between the probe and Baby.

It hasn’t happened very often in my career, but every once in a while I’ll get a patient who is not thin and snaps at me because I’m not getting great images for her.  She’ll say something like “My friend had an ultrasound done and HER pictures were great. These aren’t very good at all.  Can’t you get better ones?”  …Like it’s my fault and I am intentionally slacking off or just don’t know how to get these great images like her friend got to take home.  I can’t say what I’d like to here.  Some patients will ask “if their fat is getting in the way” and I’ll just explain the above and that it can interfere…I’d never want to hurt a patient’s feelings.

So, there ya go.  A little ultrasound education on a Sunday never hurt anyone 🙂


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Posted on February 13th, 2014 by

This is an epidemic for most all moms-to-be.  For some reason, the hormones kick in and we can’t remember shit.  No, that wasn’t a professional statement but, nonetheless, very true.  I see it a lot at work when patients are given a cup as they check in.  You know the one.  Pee in it and put it in the little door in the wall.  It is necessary.  Your doc will need some before every visit and sometimes we need an empty bladder for your ultrasound.

I laugh at how many times I’ve called a patient’s name and she gets up with cup in tow.  The same story always follows.  “I can’t believe I did this!  I had the cup in my hand, totally peed all the way and then realized I was still holding the cup!  I swear, I can’t remember anything since I’ve been pregnant!”  Yep, pregnancy brain.

I’d like to say it’s temporary but I really don’t think it is.  You might have a chance of remission after the first pregnancy but forget it after the second comes along.  What happens after that are things like running around the house looking for your car keys with a kid on one hip, grabbing the hand of the other while pulling her lunch box off the counter with your teeth, sweating bullets because you should have left 5 minutes ago and nobody is even buckled in the car yet only to realize they were in hand the whole time.  Oh, yeah.  Wait for it.  It WILL happen.

So, this wasn’t so much ultrasound-related but job-related as pee in a cup is a daily routine.

Until next time!

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Posted on February 7th, 2014 by

No kidding..  A patient requested her anatomy screen examination be cancelled because she went to a facility where students practiced on her and they already did the scan so she didn’t need to have it done a second time.  Huh?

Um, no.  When you have an ultrasound done, it’s because the examination was ordered by your physician and whomever is doing your exam must have in possession a written order or, if in the same facility, see the order in writing in the patient’s chart.  No order, no exam.  Yes, students practice and that’s ok.  Actually, they shouldn’t practice unless they have written permission by your physician but that isn’t carved in stone..just my opinion.  If I was running an ultrasound education program, it’s something I would require.  If I was a pregnant patient and students were going to practice on me and my baby for an hour or two, I’d want to make sure my doctor was ok with that.  I’ve never heard of them NOT being ok with that, but as your care provider, your doctor probably would like to know about it.

A student or many students practicing on your belly does not a formal and official scan any stretch of the imagination.  And why in the world would someone think such?  I have no clue.  I decided to quit trying to figure out what patients are thinking a long time ago.  Students are still struggling to make heads or tails of your fetus, don’t know the function of half of the buttons on the machine and have no idea how to measure something..anything on their own.  One would think that would be obvious to the person being scanned..maybe not.

Anyhow, I’m sure most of my readers will know that your doctor will want a report of your ultrasound from the qualified and experienced facility from where or person from whom he/she ordered it to be performed.  I’m just guessing, but he /she PROBABLY wouldn’t want it signed by so-and-so, sonographer-to-be in several short months if my grades are good.  Just saying.

P.S.  Sarcasm has been a family trait passed down from many generations so, though I try to stifle it, it still manages to come seeping through even my written word;)

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Posted on February 6th, 2014 by

One of my readers sent me a few images of her baby boys!  Enjoy!  And please share yours, too!



Cute profile!



I love baby feet:)



Thumbs up, dude.



NO paparazzi!



A great profile!  He’s contemplating what he’ll do first today. many options.



Oh, I think I’ll just nap..

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Posted on February 4th, 2014 by

Calling all readers!

Everyone, especially me, can really appreciate a great ultrasound image.  So, send me some!!

If you are in possession of really great ultrasound images, please email them to me and I will share with the world.  If you have a great profile or 3D image of your baby’s face, great 2D images of hands, feet or funny things your baby did during your ultrasound, please share!  By the way, you know they’re great when your sonographer tells you so!

Most people love an opportunity to ham it up and, sometimes, so does your fetus!  Show us what you’ve got.

If you don’t have pics but burning questions instead, just click the “Ask Me” page.  Remember!  I’m not your doc and cannot give medical advice but I’ll do my best to fill your brain with ultrasound knowledge.

This was a great profile of Megan.  She’s now about 6 with long curly locks and beautiful:)


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Posted on February 2nd, 2014 by

We start to see the very beginnings and ever-so-slight movements of Baby at about 8wks…when they look like the image below:



You’ll see on the image that they are only about 15mm at this point!  If you watch closely, you’ll see the tiniest of movements which is so amazing to watch considering they are still just little gummy bears at this gestational age.  Each week after this they just keep getting monumentally bigger and movements become greater until they’re bouncing around like little jumping beans at about the 11-12wk time frame.

Most people do not get an ultrasound examination for every week of gestation in the first trimester.  If you don’t, consider it a blessing; it means your pregnancy is uneventful.  Uneventful in a pregnancy is a GOOD thing!  However, if you do and if you are 8wks or so, be sure to watch for Baby’s first wiggle:)  It’s so cool!

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Posted on February 1st, 2014 by

I simply HAVE to give a shout out to my VERY FIRST subscriber overseas!!  You know who you are:)  I’m so happy to know my message of quality sonography is as far-reaching as the UK, a beautiful land with some of the most amazing vistas for the photographer in me (I don’t just enjoy getting a great shot of Baby) and totally on my bucket list!

I will continue to do my best to post informative as well as fun and humorous facts and pics from the world of OB/GYN sonography as I know it.

A fun little fact from overseas:  I once received a report from a patient who transferred her OB care from London.  Did any of you know they call amniotic fluid “liquor”?  Interesting!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. SeussI Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Until next time..


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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 January 23rd, 2014 by

So let’s go way back to right before you found out you were pregnant.  A couple of weeks before your baby started developing, you ovulated.  Most people have a huge misconception about ovulation, ovarian cysts and how your ovaries really function.  Every month your ovary makes a cyst that ruptures and releases the egg..yep, that’s ovulation.

Your LMP (Last Menstrual Period) refers to the first day of your last period.  This is Day 1 of your menstrual cycle.

We also know that most women ovulate between Days 10 and 14.  Some people have over-achievers for ovaries and ovulate sooner; some have late-bloomers and ovulate later.

Everyone starts out with a bunch of follicles (little fluid-filled sacs) on the ovaries.  Each follicle contains an egg.

At some point early in your cycle, one of the follicles starts to get bigger and bigger and ruptures sometime mid-cycle.

Sometimes we feel mid-cycle pain (sometimes resulting in an ER visit) when the cyst ruptures, most times not.

Most of you who stayed awake during 7th grade Health education class have known the rest of the story for quite some time.  The egg travels through the tube and into the uterus.  If sperm is there to fertilize it, great!  I’m in business.  If not, Tampax is and two weeks later you have your period.

I just thought a little clarification was in order because every week people seem surprised to have a cyst on the ovary.  They equate it to something bad.  Although the ovary can make bad things like any other organ in the body, creating a functional cyst is simply a monthly event for most people.  And if your extra special, your ovaries might even make TWO per month.  If you’re one of these special people, you’re also one that probably needed TWO of everything at your baby shower;)

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Posted on January 21st, 2014 by

Or to many patients..the scan where I can tell the gender.  This scan is done typically between 18 and 20wks.  I know I have said this in the past but let me clarify!  This examination has absolutely, positively nothing to do with any need for determining your baby’s sex.  People usually want to tie the two together; “I’m having this scan and now we can find out.”  I have to stress here that you cannot ALWAYS find out gender at this scan and no one will ever guarantee that you can.  Most people understand this.  If any of you read my rant last week, you get it that some people (God help them) don’t.

Let me go back a little bit here.  Ultrasound was initially created as a means of complimenting your physician’s diagnostic puzzle…a little helper, a way for him/her to see a little of what is going on in there so that he can educate you and so that you can be better prepared to make some important decisions in the unfortunate circumstance that something is not developing properly.  Somewhere along the way, ultrasound got better and became the circus that it is today where people show up with herds of family and expect them all to come in for this examination.  At the end of the day, this IS still a medical examination; my job is to find problems and, hopefully, to rule them out.

We have a long list of things to document, meaning we have to find them on your fetus and take an adequate representative image of each organ and measurement.  Some of the things we look for on a routine scan are as follows:

Cervical length – we measure the length of your cervix.

Placenta – we grade it and tell your doctor where it is located.

Amniotic fluid – we do a subjective assessment, general eye-balling of how much is in there.

We measure your baby:

The head from side to side (BPD or biparietal diameter) and around (the HC or head circumference), around the belly (the AC or abdominal circumference) and the femur length (FL).  These measurements estimate a weight which is usually about 8ozs. at about 18wks.

We document internal organs and other structures:

Brain, orbital lenses, face, upper and lower extremities, heart (very basic views), spine, stomach, kidneys, bladder and umbilical cord insertion and vessels.  We check to make sure these things are present, located where they are supposed to be and look the way they are supposed to normally look.  Yes, we have to know the difference!  Some of the changes we are looking for measure literally in the millimeters.  If all parts look normal, we assume they are functioning properly.

After we take all these images, we formulate a report for your doctor in great detail regarding the above parts.  If something is not well seen or limited because your baby was not in a good position, he/she wants to know that, also.  Usually, if your baby doesn’t cooperate to allow us to see everything we’d like, your doctor will typically (at least ours do) send you back in about a month to attempt a recheck.

Let me capitalize the following statement.  ONLY YOUR DOCTOR CAN DISCUSS THE RESULTS OF THIS SCAN WITH YOU!!!!!  NOT me.  Never, never, never the sonographer.  For those of you who have had the terrible experience when we suspect something is wrong, you have a hundred questions and your doctor is the only one who can answer them for you properly.  Your doctor is the one with whom you have the important relationship.  He/she wants to be the one to give you unfortunate news about your baby.  These patients will usually be referred on to MFM or Maternal Fetal Medicine which are doctors who specialize in high-risk OB.  They will scan you again and give your doctor their opinion on what they believe is going on and how your pregnancy should be managed in light of the problem.

So!  Nowhere in the report is there a space to include gender.  That’s because it is not important to the health of your fetus and your doctor doesn’t really need this information.  We know, however, that it is important to those of you who want to know.  And there is nothing wrong with wanting to know!!!  Believe me, I couldn’t wait to find out myself!  I did have to scan myself for 3wks, though, before my own kid would cooperate!  True story.

We love a fun family and love being able to give this news when we can.  What we don’t like are the people who don’t care about anything else, are demanding of us to give them gender information and then ask us 400 times if we are sure of what we see.  As you can see, we have a big job to do which requires time and focus.

It’s okay to find out your baby’s sex.  It’s okay if you don’t!  It’s okay to even have a preference.  It’s just not okay when that’s all that matters.

Questions??  Great!  Email me and I’ll answer what I can!

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Posted on January 19th, 2014 by

Read the email below from a reader who was really hoping for some estrogen in the family after two boys!  Sometimes, wishful thinking prevents us from seeing what is really there..

kb:  At my 17 week ultrasound the tech took a photo saying the baby was a boy pointing to what is clearly the foot in between the legs. She also said the umbilical cord was between the legs. At my 21 week ultrasound the baby was breech with cord between the legs. When asked what we’ thought we saw 2 lines and nothing else… Girl we guessed. The next view she said boy. The one photo has two dots next to each other on the top and one dot directly under the second like this . . . I have two boys already and you could see the scotum and tip clearly. I feel different and not even pregnant . The heart rate was 170, 171, 157. I can’t shake that it’s a girl. Am I wrong and just hoping . What do you think?

wwavb:  Thanks for reading my blog and sending your question!  Hmm, what do I think..  First of all, I think I have not nearly enough information.  Did you mean to upload an image?  I can certainly tell you what I think about the photos but without that it’s really and truly anybody’s guess!  I wasn’t there, didn’t see your scan real-time and don’t know anything about who did your scan or how experienced they are.

As far as “feeling” different, each pregnancy is a different universe in and of itself.  The way you feel with one has nothing to do with how you “feel” in another.  People historically want to contribute that difference to gender but there just is no relevance there.  And baby’s heart rate can vary quite a bit, just as ours does with respect to activity, so you can’t go by that, either.

It’s entirely possible that your sonographer could tell it was a boy but it wasn’t clear to you because the cord was in the way which made it not a textbook image of boystuff and more difficult for you to appreciate as someone who does not read ultrasound.  It’s also possible that you just want a girl so much that it’s hard for you to really “see” boy parts in the image.  If you would like to email me your images, I’d be a happy to try and give you another opinion!

Best Regards,


KB then emails me the images below:

Image 1:

kb:  This is the first picture where I saw the dots


wwavb:  This is not a great image but consider it sort of like a side view.  Baby’s boy stuff sort of looks like a snail.  Where the arrow is pointing is the tip of the penis which resembles the snail coming out of his “shell”, the scrotal sac.


Image 2:

kb:  Where the tech pointed as a pee looks like a foot to me



No foot here!  Where I have the arrows of the legs you are only seeing part of the thighs; the rest of the legs and feet are not in the image.  See edited image below..


Image 3:
kb:  I don’t see the scotum because she said the cord was between the legs.

wwavb:  Holy cow, Krissy, this is totally a boy!  I don’t see any cord there.  All boy!  See my edited image attached below..


Congrats;)  I always say it takes a special woman to be a mom of all boys!  Little boys love their mamas and you have a the perfect opportunity to teach them to be loving, respectful and helpful to their future wives.  Your daughters-in-law will thank you!

Best wishes!


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Posted on January 18th, 2014 by

Yes!  We can see hair on ultrasound!  Especially later in the 3rd trimester and especially if it is long or thick, one can see it floating in the amniotic fluid as I apply and release pressure on mom’s belly with the probe.  We can see it easiest about the nape of the neck and back of the head.  Sometimes, you may also be able to appreciate some hair on top of the head with 3D images.  Mom’s can’t wait to show off their baby’s head full of hair when they come back in to the office for a check-up after delivery.  The baby below has so much thick hair!  It looks like the white fuzzy stuff where you see the arrows pointed.  I told mom to make sure she has tons of bows and I can’t wait to see her in color:)


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Posted on January 16th, 2014 by

Okay, readers, if you are searching for the perfect shot of female genitalia in the 3rd trimester, check out this photo.  This image is shouting “Am I a girl or what?”




This is a great image of labia as seen later in the pregnancy.  Baby has more fat in her skin now and looks nothing like the “3 dots or lines” you saw at halftime.  Now, granted, not every baby girl looks exactly like this one.  We are not all built EXACTLY the same, right?  However, I think no one can argue that this looks nothing like any little boy I’ve ever seen.  This mom and dad are so excited for their second precious baby girl and were so happy to share:)

Now, THIS, people, is a GREAT ultrasound image if I do have to say so myself!!  Doggies (thanks, Dr.C), I just LOVE a great ultrasound image.  I’m such a geek.


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Posted on January 14th, 2014 by

You would vent, too, if it happened to you.  I know, I know; I just couldn’t resist.

So, it’s a RARE occasion that a patient really pisses me off.  Yes, I said it.  She is about 21wks and she was going on and on about gender after I said I couldn’t tell and baby’s legs were closed.  It was the usual rant..

“You’ve got to be kidding me I HAVE to know today I’ve been waiting all this time and I’ll just get up and run around or something but I have to know todayCan’t you move the baby aroundThis is ridiculous!!”  I think she spouted all this in one anxiety-ridden breath without pausing for air…one very looooooooooooong and irritating run-on sentence.

And then I go on MY usual schpiel (correction says this isn’t a word) about how determining gender is never a guarantee and we can’t always tell at this age and we need total fetal cooperation and we can push around and roll you to your sides but we can’t really make baby move and it’s not the purpose of the exam anyway.

Her response??  And might I add, the pièce de résistance..  

“WELL..(sigh), can you get somebody else??!”

OH..  NO..  SHE..  DIDN’T.  Like I didn’t know what I was doing and ANYBODY else would have been able to determine what I could not.  REALLY???  The sheer audacity.  Unbelievable.  I’m telling you that NOBODY in the country, right there in that moment, could have told her what she was having.  It doesn’t take years of experience to determine that the legs are closed, the feet are curled up under the butt and the cord is in the way.  The chic is very lucky I didn’t just set down my probe right then and there, throwing my hands up with a “DONE!”  But I didn’t.  I scanned her for probably ten minutes that I didn’t have to in order to try to find what she so desperately had to know.  Alas, I could never tell for sure.

My thanks?  ..A bitch “sesh” with the nurse because she still didn’t know her baby’s sex!  (I’m being told sesh isn’t a word, either.)

These are the kinds of people I have to deal with from time to time in my line of work.  They simply are the ones that no one can make happy…ever, no matter what you do for them.  These are the people I will not miss when I finally quit.

Welcome to a day in the life of a sonographer.

And if you like my blog, are a subscriber and avid reader and take my advice to any degree, take this tidbit, too, and PLEASE don’t ever be this person!

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Posted on January 14th, 2014 by

Here are two images from a reader who questions if they really represent girl parts..

reader:  Hi!  I was just reading your blog and though I’d email you to see what your opinion is on my 20 week ultrasound picture.  It seems odd to me that her “girl parts” are sticking out a little bit.  Could this really be a boy?  I already have a bunch of girl things and this picture is just making me second guess myself.  Thanks!!

wwavb:  Hi!  First, thanks for reading my blog and writing to me.  If you haven’t subscribed yet, I hope you will!

Now about that image…I have to say it’s not a GREAT image, BUT it does look like girlstuff.  Let me follow that up by saying that because I didn’t scan you live and all I have is this okay image of genitalia to go by, all I can base my guess on is what I can determine by the image provided.  Girlstuff looks like three lines or dots and if it were a boy, you’d see a wee wee (my totally professional term for it) to about where the arrow is located.  So, I am guessing pink tu-tus and dance recitals are in your future.
Check out my previous posts on gender.  You’ll find several images of girls and boys!  Hope I helped!
Thanks again for visiting!

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Posted on January 12th, 2014 by

As promised, a more light-hearted (and even comical, if I do say so myself) post!  I’m going to give you a little test.  What do you see below??




Did you say a smiley face??  If so, you are entirely wrong!  BUT you are among hundreds who have guessed the same.  I cannot tell you how many people have asked, young and old alike, if we were looking at baby’s face or if baby was smiling.  Do our faces really look like this??  I always ask this of myself, to myself when anyone asks this question but then I remember that they can’t read ultrasound and to the lay person it really is like looking at clouds.  You can make all sorts of crazy things out of the images passing by on the monitor.  That’s why you have me, the narrator, to point out what you are REALLY seeing.

This is a cross-section of the fetal abdomen.  Imagine chopping down a tree and looking down at the’s a circle, right?  Same thing here.  On the left is baby’s spine, on the right is the front of baby’s belly.  See my image below for an annotation of all these structures!


ivc = inferior vena cava or main vein in the torso

ao = aorta or main artery in the torso

gb = gallbladder

uv = umbilical vein – we are only seeing a tiny segment of that vessel in the image.

stomach – self-explanatory!  When baby swallows amniotic fluid, the stomach becomes more distended and shows as black like the amniotic fluid is black.  Sometimes, patients will ask, “What is that hole?”  It’s funny how we associate black spots as holes and they are always surprised when I say that it’s not a hole and it’s actually a stomach that is full!

Anything fluid on ultrasound is black, so the blood vessels appear black, as well.  In the gallbladder, you have bile (a fluid) so it presents as black, too.  The other organ that is present in the image is the liver.  It is difficult to outline the liver but it is the gray stuff above and below the gallbladder and above the stomach.


Unbelievable question of the century??  “What is an abdomen?”  No, I’m sure in the heck not kidding.  I’ve gotten this question only a few times but each time it came from some teen or young adult (who should have known better) and each time I’m totally flabbergasted.  Slept through biology, maybe?  There’s your good laugh for the day.

So, next time you go for a diagnostic ultrasound, providing you are in your second trimester and beyond, look for the “smiley face” when your sonographer measures your baby’s abdominal circumference (AC)!

Hope you enjoyed Ultrasound 101 today!

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Posted on January 10th, 2014 by

That may be a reference to the limbo but it’s also a term used for where that head is located in the pelvis as your pregnancy is nearing its end.  Many patients say they feel as if baby has dropped and ask me if their baby’s head is low or if I can tell how low it is.  Nope.  The station of the fetal head is more of a feeling thing that your doctor assesses with a physical examination.  With ultrasound, we can sometimes see that the head is SO VERY low to the extent that we have a hard time actually measuring the head at the proper level.  When this happens, we will say that the head is so low that it is limiting the exam but we can never really “see” how low it actually is.

Either way, at this point in the pregnancy, you know that light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is in your near future.  Yippee!

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Posted on January 10th, 2014 by

Okay.  In all my years of scanning, I have to say this image from a reader takes the cake for awesomely bad ultrasound quality in the most EPIC of proportions.  Who taught this person to scan?  I’m totally serious.  Now, not only will my beloved readers at home appreciate the exquisitely limited value of this image but any sonographer for whom the resolution of an image is important would be absolutely ASTONISHED at how awesomely and epically and entirely bad this image is!  Read on from Giselle..

G:   First off – loved reading your blog – hilarious!

Seeing as you seem to be exceptionally good at your job, I thought I’d send you the image I received from my gender determination image from an elective u/s. I feel like the image is really confusing because I can see what are clearly legs and feet – and then I see the “penis” that the tech referred to – but it looks like it’s in the wrong place. It was a 15 minute scan and that included the 3D sneak peek where my baby looked like an alien lol (I was only anticipating the 2D images). He didn’t point out anything that we were looking at other than “100% Baby Boy Pecker” (yes he did indeed use the word pecker – in front of my mom and grandma no less!). I just thought his feet were at the top of the screen and couldn’t understand why the penis looked like it was far from where it seemed his legs meet his body lol… Is this even a good image to determine gender? I wish I could’ve gotten a good ole between the legs shot like the ones on your blog!


wwavb:  Holy cow, Giselle!!

 That has GOT to be positively THE worst ultrasound image of gender I’ve ever seen! As I am reading this, I am laughing hysterically at your own hilarious comments AND in total disbelief of how awesomely bad this image is.  Let me count the ways.  Wow.  Before I go on, let me say THANK YOU for your lovely comments, thank you for reading and thanks for subscribing to my blog!!  I hope you’ll continue to enjoy hours upon hours of laughter and insightful words of wisdom. lol
First, the legs can barely be discerned from this so-called “pecker”.  And, it may very well be a pecker but you sure wouldn’t bet the family jewels on it (total pun intended).  Where he has the arrow pointed is likely the end of the “said pecker” and I am imagining that on each side is a bit of each leg but baby’s rear is not well seen which would be at the bottom of the image. So, it would make sense that the feet would be at the top of the screen, right?  I’m thinking this is supposed to be an underside shot like baby is sitting on a glass-top table and you are looking up from underneath so I’m doubting your baby will come out looking like a Picasso painting.

My best advice would be for all pregnant patients wanting to know gender to read my post below!
Since you’ve already had this done, though, my best words of wisdom for you would be to simply not paint a nursery yet!  Another bit of advice, ask for a different sonographer to do your next scan.  Just say you’d rather have someone else and you don’t have to say why.  And, I have to ask…was this in a hospital or doctor’s office?  I can’t imagine a male doing what I do in a private practice!  Or maybe it was one of those ultrasound drive-throughs?  Don’t get me started on those.. Well, hopefully, this guy doesn’t work for your doctor!
And as for ma and G-ma, it probably wasn’t the most professional standard of care and I do try my best to not say “pecker” in front of the grands.
Thanks, again, Giselle!  Oh, and keep me updated as to whether it’s really a boy when you get your formal ultrasound exam.  Take that image with you to your anatomy scan.  If she’s been doing ultrasound as long as me, she’ll get a kick out of it!
Best Regards,
G:  I definitely have not purchased a single boy thing due to how little confidence the tech (and his images) instilled in me. Alas, t’was a “drive-through” elective u/s place lol. I will most definitely keep you posted as to the gender of my little bean (which will hopefully happen at the anatomy scan should the baby be cooperative), and you may absolutely use my email and images for a post – that’d be very cool!

Thank you so much for your kind words and prompt reply!

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Posted on January 9th, 2014 by

So, I know that what results in a total disappointment for patients and the whole entourage is a very uncooperative baby.  Fetus, Jr. has a mind of his own and, believe me, you can poke until the cows come home but he will still likely not turn.  Yes, sometimes they’ll kind of fake you out..wiggle a bit and turn the face a quarter of the way..and then back down.  Mom, Grandmas and dads-to-be are all rooting him on, pushing on the belly and talking to him with English he doesn’t yet understand, as if any of this will make him magically move into the position of choice.  Most of the time, they’re not having ANY of it.

I’m talking about 3D scans.  They are a total blast when baby is in a great position and the best time to do them is about 27-28wks.  But it’s sort of all or nothing.  A great position is baby facing upward toward mom’s belly with a great pocket of fluid in front of the face and no placenta, limbs or cord in the way.  Any of the above-mentioned parts will obscure baby’s face in a 3D rendering so that it just cannot be seen, therefore, making a 3D image not possible.  Also, trying to attempt a 3D too far into the third trimester is a mistake.  Baby usually gets that head engaged quite low, obscuring part of the forehead and eyes, and fluid slightly diminishes as you get farther along so that will also make the probability quite low that a good 3D scan can be obtained later in pregnancy.  Now, let me disclose that I certainly have gotten some great images later in the 3rd trimester but it was totally by chance, not the norm and I just don’t recommend scheduling them that late!  And, I can’t really say for sure…  I’m assuming you are now asking, “Well, when is too late??”  I think after 30-31wks, you may be SOL.

If baby is cooperating, it’s tons of fun (as I have a love of photography outside of the daily fetus, uterus and ovaries) and I just click, click away.  Some of the best 3D scans will yield a good 50+ images.   And fun is had by all.  If baby is camera-shy or just plain obstinate, we blame dad and end up turning mom every way but on her head to no avail.  I usually just let her come back the next week to try again..

Try eating a good meal (not m&ms and a Coke -although both are delish, I can’t encourage that!) about 30minutes before your scan.  Schedule it right after breakfast or lunch.  Babies usually get more active after a meal and this may help your 3D be a success.  You don’t want your baby doing cartwheels after a sugar high..this can make getting images more difficult.

Good luck and email me your great 3D images if you have them!  I’d love to share them with everyone in a post and other moms will love to see them!


What a cutie!

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Posted on January 5th, 2014 by

Birthdays are the important dates most of us celebrate remembering when our babies finally decided to enter into this big old world.  As parents, we celebrate this day with parties and cake and presents all focused toward our child and it’s a lot of fun.  As children, we anticipate a couple of things each year..birthday and Christmas.  At least in our family, both were big celebrations.  We’ve been fortunate and our kids pretty much have all the toys and gadgets they could possibly want.

For me, I’ve started counting backwards so right now I’m still 36.  And I’ve BEEN 36 for quite some time now:)

So, today is not so much about ultrasound but the final day of pregnancy we all look forward to..the birth of our children.  Never do we think when we have them that, at some point, we won’t be able to feed them.  So, in honor of birthdays and our children today, I’d like to direct some focus onto our kids who aren’t so lucky and who sometimes have only their school lunch as their only meal of the day.  To me, it’s heartbreaking.  We have a big family, half of it Italian, and all our gatherings include enough food to feed an army! I can’t imagine my child hungry or being a parent that cannot feed her child.  But it happens.  And it happens in our communities and right under our noses.  Your child may go to school with someone who doesn’t have food in the pantry at home and won’t have dinner made for them each night.  Stop to think about what these kids do for meals on the weekends or during summer months!??  I think if everyone who CAN help got involved in some tiny way, no kid would ever have to be hungry.

I’m attaching a link to a website that I’d like to be more involved with one day when I’m retired.  I’m asking everyone who reads this post, today and forever in the future, to make a donation even if it’s only $1.  Read about them, their efforts and how they are helping.  They also provide links to help in your own community if you’d rather do that.  They are working with schools to find out who these children are and are working with these families to make a difference.

If you have always had enough to feed yourself and your child, please help someone else’s.

THANKS FOR YOUR EFFORTS and their little tummies thank you, too!!!!!

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Posted on January 4th, 2014 by patient’s precocious 4 year old son said to me one day.  I wrote a post about it back then.  He was so cute and must have asked about five times to hear his little brother’s heartbeep!

So let’s talk about heart rate today, or “beeps” per minute (bpm).  People want to always believe the old wives’ tale about baby being a girl if the heart rate is high and low if it’s a boy.  I think L&D nurses could probably lend an opionion on this as they monitor the rate for long periods of time and may certainly know something I don’t.  As far as ultrasound goes, it doesn’t mean a thing.  We are only sampling a few seconds of heart motion at a time to obtain a rate and really only need three cardiac cycles to measure it.  The fetal heart rate is like our own in that when a fetus is very active it speeds up and when they rest it slows.

We can first see a heart beat at about 6wks (gestational age – that’s counting from the first day of your last period).  It can start out quite slow..about 100bpm and looks like a little flutter.  If it’s a lot slower on the initial scan, in the low 80s or less or if it’s very irregular, we get a little worried.  It can be an indication that maybe the pregnancy may not progress.  There’s no way to ever know for sure and my docs will usually have their patient come back in a week or two in these cases.  After about 6wks, the heart rate should only get stronger and more easily visible by ultrasound.  In the next couple of weeks after that, it gets really much as 180bpm or so.  After that, it starts to hang out around 120 – 160bpm which is what we call within a normal range.  It can be a tad higher or lower but we wouldn’t expect it to remain there.  Either way, we can’t link it to gender.

Regardless, it’s usually the first thing a patient wants to see or hear.  Siblings get a kick out of it if they’re older.  The younger ones (maybe <2?) get scared by it.  Otherwise, the heartbeep is a pretty cool thing to watch!

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Posted on January 3rd, 2014 by

Well, of course not!  You are seeing cross-sections of the umbilical cord so that they look like floating circles and I get asked that question quite routinely!

I know after they think about it for a second, they must want to smack themselves in the forehead knowing that bubbles are made with air AND there’s no air in there!

Today’s post is short and sweet…and bubbly.

umbilical cord

Below, see Megan “blowing bubbles”.


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Posted on January 1st, 2014 by

Happy 2014 to all my readers and moms-to-be everywhere in this new year!

May your pregnancies be joyful and healthy and lives full with bouncing babies.

Thank you for reading, subscribing and contributing to my blog.

Here’s hoping for a fruitful year ahead with resolutions to all your ultrasound queries!


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Posted on December 31st, 2013 by

Let’s clear up a little misconception I heard a patient exclaim today..

‘If you’re told a boy, there’s more chance it’s really a boy and if you’re told girl there’s still a chance it could be a boy.’

No, no and no!  I’ll say it again.  If you have an experienced sonographer and if your baby is in a great position and if you are far enough along and if she can see really well, gender should be easily determined.  Of course, there’s no way for you, as the patient, to know all these things.  It’s a lot of ifs and no one will tell you to bet the farm.

Unfortunately, until we see the day that no one is ever told incorrectly and novice (or careless experienced) technologists quit doing the quasi sweep of the butt and taking a wild guess, patients will continue to question.

In my mind, I’m looking for mm (millimeter) abnormalities and I consider myself very technical and detail-oriented so if I am so bold as to say pink or blue then commence with the embroidered bloomers or sailboat motif!  Nothing gets my goat more than spending several minutes looking for gender, pointing it out with detailed explanation of fetal position and anatomy, marking it with arrows and taking multiple images…only for the patient to say “Yeah, but I guess it could still be a boy.”  No, in cases like this, unless your baby boy has a micropenis, no scrotal sac and labia, it’s a girl.  And, no, penises don’t automatically sprout at 25wks.

There lies the patient who had her heart set on sailboats.  Sorry, lady, I see lots of shoe shopping, tu-tus, truckloads of hair ties and a wedding in your future.


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Posted on December 31st, 2013 by

As promised..I’ll explain Biophysical Profiles today (as known about the OB office, BPPs for short).  So, pretty frequently we’ll get hit up by one of the nurses with “Can you squeeze in a BPP?”  Our answer is always “Of course, we can..” ..because BPPs are the kind of exam that our docs need that day.  If we can’t do it, the patient has to go to the hospital to have it done.  And why in the world would anybody want to go to the hospital when they can have it done more conveniently (and better, if I do say so myself) in our office.

If a patient comes in complaining of decreased fetal movement in the third trimester, you’re almost guaranteed to have one of these ordered.  We also schedule them weekly after about 32wks for patients who have gestational diabetes, hypertension or a myriad of other maternal or fetal conditions that need to be monitored.  It’s basically an assessment of fetal well-being.  So, if baby is moving and growing and fluid is good, all is well with the uterine world for another week.

So, let’s get technical.  We give baby a score on his/her movements and amniotic fluid.  The maximum score I can give is an 8/8, a 2 for each of the 4 things we look for.  Baby has to demonstrate the following:

  • 3 movements of the torso
  • 1 episode of flexion/extension of the hands or limbs
  • diaphragm movements (or what we call fetal breathing movements) lasting 30 seconds.  The breathing movements only mimic real breathing and it’s something they do every once in a while…it’s only practice!  Ask your sonographer to show’s really cool to watch:)
  • AFI, which I talked about yesterday.  If baby has enough fluid, we give a 2 for that.


It’s not uncommon for baby to not perform the breathing movements.  We see it all the time and it doesn’t mean baby isn’t doing well.  If all else is good, it just means we have to give baby a 6/8 instead and sometimes your doctor will do an NST or Non-Stress Test in addition to the BPP.  The NST means you have to sit with a monitor around your belly and press a button every time baby moves.  A strip will print out a tracing of baby’s heart rate and your doctor will evaluate it.  If good, baby gets an 8/10.  If the tracing is not to your doctor’s liking, it usually means a trip to L&D for extra monitoring.

That’s BPPs in a nutshell.  Now if you need one, you kinda know what’s going on!

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Posted on December 30th, 2013 by

I’m asked all the time by the patient if she has enough fluid or if fluid is too low or too high because either this was the case in a prior pregnancy or a friend had the problem. I’m going to speak very generally here!

There is a large range of normal for amniotic fluid volumes!  For most of the pregnancy until about the third trimester, the amount of amniotic fluid is basically “eye-balled”.  It’s a very subjective assessment, as is most of what I do, but we can basically determine whether baby has enough just by doing a quick sweep around the uterus.  We should basically see a decent amount of fluid or “black” around baby.  In the third trimester, we’ll start to quantify the amount of fluid.  It’s usually about this time that we’ll start to see more or less.  We divide the uterus into four quadrants and measure the deepest pocket of fluid in each one.  This gives us a number in centimeters, called the AFI or Amniotic Fluid Index.  Your doctor decides if the amount is too much or too little.  Sometimes we see excessive fluid in women who have gestational diabetes.

Whether too much or too little, usually it warrants a follow-up in some way and your doctor will probably want to monitor the amount.  Routinely, we will do weekly Biophysical Profiles (or BPP) for patients who fall into this category.  I could have sworn I posted something about BPP’s in the past but I can’t find it!  OK, so tomorrow I’ll explain that one in more detail.  For now, as a quick explanation, it’s just an ultrasound that examines baby’s movements and measuring AFI is part of that exam.

Check out the images below of an AFI.  Hope this helped!  Until tomorrow..




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Posted on December 19th, 2013 by

Yes, it should be a thing..a short briefing by your physician, maybe.  For some, an entire class devoted to the subject would be necessary.  And signs don’t do the trick.  I feel it’s coming to the point in my job where I have to run through the whole list of things that need to take place before I start an exam, like a flight attendant.  “Turn it off.  No, really, turn it off.  Really.”  Between the plethora of cell phone text beeps, email pings, call ringtones and tablet games, does anyone feel my pain when I say I need to focus?  Don’t even get me started on all the family members and friends who carry on their own conversations through the ENTIRE exam, especially when they talk over me.  Dads or Grandmas correcting children or reading stories or playing googoo-gaga with them t h r o u g h o u t  t h e  e n t i r e  e x a m.  For as long as I’ve done this, I still have come up with no real good way of telling visitors to shut their traps.  For the life of me, I don’t get why some people think the ultrasound is merely showtime.  What we do requires a great deal of concentration.  It also takes us longer to complete your exam when we are distracted.  Distracted, in my job, is not a good thing.  I understand the excitement and some of that is great as we say our hellos and get settled in the room but I feel when probe touches belly, silence should be automatic. Momma and baby come first, right?

So, please, your sonographer a favor and next time you have an ultrasound exam and you have a bunch of yammering friends with you, can you please be the one to pipe up and ask them to button up?  Pass it along!  If every patient I have would do that for me, it would be the greatest Christmas present ever.  Or maybe I just need a handy roll of duct tape.

‘Til next time!


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Posted on December 17th, 2013 by

..which is precisely the feeling my patients sometimes have when coming back for another scan later in the second trimester, especially if baby is not in a good position.  We regularly will follow up an anatomy scan that is performed at 18-20wks.  We have a long checklist of fetal detail to document and whatever is not seen the first go ’round will usually warrant a second attempt about a month later.  It’s great if baby is on his/her back and looking up, not so much if he or she is curled up in a ball, facing mom’s back or practicing diving skills in the pike position.  In those cases, parents have a hard time recognizing anything on the monitor because all I’m observing is parts.  This is fine for me because I scan in 3D (mentally) so I know how baby is lying and know what the parts individually look like.  For parents, it’s a bit of a let down, especially if the face wasn’t well seen on the last scan and if they can’t make out the face, it looks like nothing to them.

Think about it..the face is pretty important.  Isn’t that how we greet one another?  We relate to each other by looking at each other’s faces and this is also true during an ultrasound.  When people meet their babies, they want to see his or her face and the profile is the best way to see it.  At this angle, you can see soft tissue features like the nose and lips.  So cute!  From the front, only bony features are seen so it looks a little more skeleton-like…a little scary for most!

Ya know, they all just have their own personalities in and out of the womb.  They are either posing for or hiding from the camera..NO paparazzi, please!

It really stinks to send someone home with only a pic of the foot :/

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