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Ultrasound Gender Determination

Ultrasound Gender Determination ~
Pink or Blue?

 

Ultrasound gender determination can be tricky! Especially too early in pregnancy. Or any time they just won’t cooperate!

gender determination

Female Gender 16 Weeks

male gender, 16 Weeks pregnant

Male Gender 16 Weeks

 

How many times have all you moms out there, young and old, heard the story that goes, “They told her it was a ‘this,’ and they decorated an entire nursery, and it came out a ‘that’! Those ultrasounds are wrong sometimes, ya know!”

A dollar for every one of those comments would buy me my dream cottage on the Amalfi coast! However, I understand why this happens, and sonographers everywhere need to apply more discretion. First of all, you may already know that it’s not the machine that’s wrong. The sonographer or observer scanning you evaluates what she (or he) sees and determines Baby’s sex. The whole process is entirely subjective! And inexperience sometimes causes sonographers to excitedly guess or, otherwise, cave to the pressure from anxious parents. Unfortunately, sometimes guess incorrectly.

Advice Regarding Gender Determination for the New Sonographer

First rule of thumb for any newbie sonographer out there…don’t guess! Don’t put a percentage on your guess, and don’t say “I think.” Also, don’t say “It kinda looks like ‘this,’ but let’s wait until next time.” Parents may want you to guess, but they also want you to be right! Just a word of caution here – some patients may become upset with you if you don’t guess. But if you’ve exhausted your bag of tricks and you still are not sure of what you are seeing, you owe it to the patient to explain this. It’s something you have no control to change, and you would rather they not become attached to the wrong sex. Hopefully, they will understand!

Psychologically and emotionally speaking, most parents start to really become attached to one sex or the other. They begin to envision the first dance recital or baseball game by the time the next ultrasound exam rolls around. On more than a few occasions in my career, someone else guessed incorrectly (usually, too early!), and I had to be the bearer of bad news. After witnessing the affects of “mistaken identity” (shock, anger, tears, sadness, guilt), I adopted a personal policy long ago to only offer a guess when parts were obvious. In other words, Baby had to be in a great position to easily see a penis and scrotum or labia/clitoris. Even though my policy upset a number of my patients in the past, I truly believe refraining from tossing out any old guess is in their best interest and can save them some heartache later.

True Story!

One grandmother, so excited by the doctor’s early guess, flew right out and bought thirty-two dresses! Yep, 32. She did so despite the doc’s warning about his level of confidence and told her to wait for the sonogram with me. Fortunately, he got lucky with his baby girl guess, and grandma was a very happy woman (and a little less rich)! However, you can imagine the disappointment in returning all those frilly frocks if doc was wrong. I always hated giving such news!

Please, all you excited moms-to-be, remember your sonographer doesn’t withhold information about fetal sex just because! We’d actually really rather all our babies cooperate quickly and easily! It’s such a bummer for us both when they won’t. You can’t plan all the fun things you imagined you could. Shopping, party planning… And believe me, I always preferred when my patients left my room hugging me instead of cursing my existence. A magic trick to make Baby flip on command? It’s too bad we aren’t bestowed with super powers upon certification!

 

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Female Gender on Ultrasound

Female Gender Pics

Patients, in general, tend to believe that determining male gender should be very easy any time, and the only way to determine female gender is the lack of male parts. Wrong! But can we see the uterus and ovaries of a female fetus? Read an email below from a mom with this very question.

mama-to-be:  Is it possible to see Baby’s ovaries and uterus with ultrasound? I’ve read these organs are formed around 20/22 Weeks. I was thinking it was possible to see them at 22 Weeks or later?

wwavb:  A fetus is fully formed at 12 Weeks. And, no, a uterus and ovaries cannot be seen in a fetus anytime in pregnancy as they are simply too small and gender can only be determined by examining external genitalia.

***

Second Trimester

See below for great, textbook female gender images!

female gender, 16 Weeks pregnant

This image is of a baby girl at about 16 Weeks. Here, you can only really see Baby’s bottom but not her legs…imagine Baby is pulling her feet up to her nose. Looking up from the underside, only cheeks and girly parts will be seen, right?

Note the three arrows which point to three white lines representing the labia on the outside and clitoris in the center. Sometimes the lines look more like white dots depending on the angle. As Baby gets a little bigger, she will start to develop some fat in her skin and the labia will plump up a bit, resembling the “hamburger” to which most patients refer!

female gender, 16 Weeks pregnant

This image is around the 16 Weeks, also. You can see here how the top labia looks more like a dot and the middle and bottom white echoes look more like lines.

Third Trimester

female gender, 32 Weeks pregnant, third trimester gender

Finally, we’ll end out this post with a perfect example of 3rd Trimester female gender! This baby is about 32 Weeks, and we found her sitting in the best position to obtain this shot. Notice how the white lines have morphed into the labia you would expect to see on Baby Girl. Most patients can typically “see” her parts for themselves pretty easily at this stage.

 

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Male AND Female Gender Ultrasound Images

Male and Female Gender Ultrasound Pics!

 

Okay! So, this is a perfect example of how we can sometimes determine gender at less than 17 Weeks! The images below represent twins and their perfect images of male and female gender! It just doesn’t get better than this. You must remember, however, that not all boys and girls look exactly the same at every week of gestational age; so your baby may look a little different from what you see here. You can read more about why everyone’s images look different from one another here.

These babies dated at 16w4d and depict textbook images for boy and girl fetal sex. They make a perfect side-by-side comparison!

These were very easy potty shots. We’ve just gotta love it when not just one baby cooperates but two in the same belly. These babies hardly made me break a sweat. I’ve even labeled their parts for you. So, hopefully, they make for easy reading for you. Check them out below.

Baby girl, on the left, is showing off only her bottom. Imagine her feet pulled up over her head. Flexible little things, aren’t they?

male and female gender ultrasound, 16 Weeks pregnant

Female, left and Male, right – Twins, 16 Weeks

male and female gender ultrasound, 16 Weeks pregnant

Baby boy, on the right, is showing off his thighs and bottom.

Unfortunately, not all babies cooperate like these. Some babies don’t want to show off the goods, and there’s little we can do to make them move. I know we sure would have many more happy mamas out there if we could!

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Elective Ultrasounds – Highway Robbery?

Expectant parents who pay for elective ultrasounds at a nearby drive-through may not get exactly what they are seeking – a definite on the fetal gender front. Take my reader in today’s post, for example. She was 16 Weeks pregnant. Even though guessing sex proves not the impossible task on every 16-Weeker, it is difficult on most that age. My best advice comes down to waiting for the sake of accuracy – the exact opposite of what any anxious mom wants to do. Elective ultrasounds – is it really worth the money? Here’s one reader’s experience who probably will beg to differ.

One Mom’s Email About Elective Ultrasounds

Mom:  Got this elective ultrasound done at 16w2d – sonographer said she was 80% sure girl but had a hard time finding this shot. Just felt like she was throwing something out there for us to go on. She also reminded us that it was early, and I should wait until my 20 Week scan to be sure before buying pink. Well, because of the holidays, I can’t get in until after the New Year to do my scan at 22+ Weeks, and it’s driving me crazy now. I spent $100 on this for her to tell me 80%. I’ve been looking at other pictures and reading and just wondering what you think.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!

elective ultrasounds, 16 weeks pregnant

wwavb:  Thanks for reading my blog and for your question! First of all, and this is just my professional opinion, no one should be offering gender determination scans at 16 Weeks. She’s absolutely right…it is early, so it would have been better to explain this first and then recommend you wait a couple of weeks more for the best chance of determination.

No one can guarantee gender 100% at any gestational age (NOTHING in medicine is 100%), especially not at 16 Weeks. It’s not that you can’t ever make a determination at 16 Weeks. But it’s definitely harder than at 20 or 22 Weeks (providing Baby cooperates!). Also, I never give percentages. Either I can tell or I can’t. No guessing! When a patient asks me to guess I always say, “Do you want me to guess or do you want me to be right?”

I can tell you that ultrasound is tricky! Trying to determine sex from someone else’s frozen shot without scanning you real-time is only a guess. Your sonographer should not have added the annotation of girl then tell you to wait for the next scan. She probably felt it was a girl and just didn’t want to commit due to your gestational age. What the image demonstrates where the arrow is pointed LOOKS like three little white lines. I would say this appearance resembles female genitalia. So, based solely on the image, I would have to say Team Pink has it.

***

The best advice I can give anyone in these circumstances is to buy pink if you really want to start shopping. However, keep the receipts and hold off on painting a nursery until your diagnostic scan can confidently confirm! I personally don’t want to guess incorrectly. Furthermore, I don’t want to cause anyone the distress moms feel when someone guesses incorrectly.

It’s too bad these guys don’t feel the same. If they did, they wouldn’t scan their customers at 12 Weeks. In the whole baby game, is it fair to charge someone any price for something you can’t guarantee? Or is it highway robbery because you advertise that you can?