Posted on November 15th, 2015 by

3D Ultrasound Images – How Good They Can Be!

These were such great fetal 3D ultrasound images that I felt they should be posted again. They are representative of the best of the best!

You’ll see from the captions that this baby was 33 Weeks at the time of the scan. Just know this isn’t the norm! Most babies at this gestational age pose some difficulty because the head is typically pretty low at this point, and fluid begins to diminish a bit. However, this mom had polyhydramnios (or extra amniotic fluid), and baby had his own Olympic-sized pool! The additional fluid allowed better visualization of baby’s face which yielded these most beautiful pics!

In other words, Moms-to-be, the images you see below are an exception to the rule. The best time remains about 25-30 Weeks for most women.

Important Tip When Purchasing Fetal 3D Ultrasound Images

I’m super-focused on safety and educating you expectant Moms right now! I understand the popularity of elective ultrasound today, but be sure to do your research!

Because you don’t want just any images, at least ensure your sonographer is formally trained (that’s right – not all of these places employ real sonographers!). Look for certifying credentials like RDMS behind someone’s name. It doesn’t mean he or she has spent a career in OB or is registered in OB, but at least this person has received proper ultrasound training. DMS means that someone completed a formal ultrasound program, but has not yet passed a registry examination. Only trained sonographers know best how to construct an image, to optimize it with all our fancy knobs, and (most importantly!) to utilize the lowest power settings while scanning your precious little one!

You can read an important message from the AIUM (American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine) on the subject.

Enjoy! His mom and I sure had a fun time taking them:)

Email me with your great 3D images at!

No paparazzi, please!

3D Ultrasound Images


Pucker up!

fetal 3D images 33 Weeks


Sleepy baby;) So sweet!

fetal 3D images 33 Weeks

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Posted on May 10th, 2015 by

A Mother’s Day Wish

My blog is nothing without paying homage to the celebration of life and the incredible women who help to create it!  Hopefully, you are training them right. Because you have a little one on the way, you deserve breakfast in bed and whatever else you command with the tinkle of your handy-dandy little bell (or foghorn, whichever your prefer). All moms deserve to kick back from time to time – and this day is one of those times! Let’s talk about what we can expect to see in a 9 Week embryo.

The 9 Week Embryo

Below is a 3D image of a 9 Week embryo:

9 Week embryo in 3D

You can see little arm buds and leg buds getting bigger.  What looks like a tiny lump on the top of the belly is just part of the cord.

Below is a 2D image of a 9 Week embryo:

9 Week embryo in 2D

Baby is upside down here and you can see from the dimension taken that it is measuring just about a whole inch now!

A scan at this gestational age will very likely be performed transvaginally. At least, this method will provide the best image, by far!

Below is a video of the kind of movement you might see at Week 9: Movement at Week 9

Pretty amazing, right?

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to spend one day a year sans the multiple hats that come with motherhood..chef, chauffeur, maid, teacher, referee (for those of you blessed with more than one little angel). It’s the most difficult, most enjoyable, and most important job any woman will ever have. Shaping and molding our future generation of leaders is no small task! And a pretty exhausting one, too.

To carry them (or not!), raise them, care for them, discipline them, and love them defines us as Mothers. Any woman who puts her all into this job deserves to spend this day any way she pleases! Enjoy it! And for those first time moms-to-be…relish the peace and quiet now – while you still can 😉

If you want to see a post about our embryos at Weeks 7 and 8, just click the link.

Thank you to all moms for reading and subscribing! Feel free to email me at with your questions or comments!

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Posted on November 30th, 2014 by

I have my usual spiel that I deliver to patients when they come in for a 3D scan.  Like most other elective options in life, it’s a service.  You pay your money, the service is provided.  Now you may not be entirely happy with the results of the service (like the facial that left an oil slick behind), but you don’t get your money back. You may, however, receive a coupon for a free facial upon your next visit, and 3D appointments work in a similar way.

What you are paying for, I typically communicate, is essentially the block of time on the ultrasound schedule for the use of the facility..the time, the sonographer and my experience/expertise required to perform the exam and use of the equipment.  We, and no one else on the planet, will ever guarantee that you will get the images you want. This is because we know obtaining the perfect images your best friend got are dependent on so many variables.  I’ve discussed this one before..fetal position, placental location and amniotic fluid volume are all make-it or break-it possibilities.

Baby can’t be facing your back or be plastered into the uterine wall or placenta. And an anterior placenta (one located on the front-side of your uterus) adds to the limitation so that if Baby faces up, the placenta is usually in the way. We need to see a good pocket of fluid in front of Baby’s face with no limbs or cord in front or blocking the face.  Also, the farther along you are the less likely we are to obtain great images.  This is because Baby starts to engage that head into the pelvis, Baby is growing bigger and fluid begins to naturally diminish a bit.  If we don’t get great images, we (and most other places) simply offer to have you come back to try again free of charge the following week.  This is pretty fair in my book. If you don’t go back, it’s your loss! don’t expect a refund. We recommend scheduling at about 27wks.

Is it possible to obtain great 3D images later in the third trimester?! Absolutely! We just know the chances become more slim the longer you wait. I’ve gotten beautiful images at 38wks! This baby was 33wks+ but mom had polyhydramnios, a condition where excess amniotic fluid develops. For this reason, she was scanned every week but it gave us many awesome photo opps!

SONY DSC 3D fetal face, 33wks


So, if you want it, go ahead and try it! Just go into the scan with some education. Know you may not get what you wanted but you should be able to go back and try again. It’s also a good idea to ask about a policy before you have it done!

If all the stars align, you’ll get some fabulous images of your baby like the ones above!

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Posted on August 13th, 2014 by

As promised, I am delivering a second great 3D image of a fetal face this evening.  Yesterday, I posted one where he draped his hand over his nose, playing shy I suppose.  This time he is puckering up for some sugar and I’m sure he’s gonna get it as soon as he makes his grand entrance.

Stay tuned for more and in the meantime, if you have great 3D images of your baby you’d like to share, please email them to me and I’ll be happy to post!  Just click the Ask Me page or use the email address below.  I’d love to see them!

3D fetal face, 33wks

3D fetal face at 33wks GA

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Posted on July 13th, 2014 by

Elective 3D Ultrasound Businesses – How Safe Are They?

This post calls out to all the expectant moms looking for early gender ultrasounds from elective 3D ultrasound, privately-owned, non-medical businesses. Regardless of what they advertise, please read this first before scheduling your visit! Moms, just do your homework. You have a right to know before you go!

3D ultrasound fetal face 33wks

Just look at this shot! It’s so precious, isn’t it? Who couldn’t fall in love with their little one more and more with every great sweep of the probe? Heck, I fall in love with your baby with every image like this that I take!

We, in OB/GYN healthcare, understand expectant parents’ desire for images like this, but the safety of you and your baby is the greatest concern for all of us in the field. And there are a few important factors to take into consideration before having your scan performed by a non-medical facility. As a non-medical facility, they are not required to meet the same standards as your doctor’s office.

Why I Cannot Endorse Elective 3D Ultrasound Non-Medical Businesses

Uneducated Staff

The biggest issue I have with these business is something that may surprise you. They are not required to employ certified staff. Anyone can buy a machine, start a business, and charge you to scan your baby, but they don’t have to be a formally-educated or certified sonographer themselves or hire them. Scary, isn’t it??

Some years back, I was mailed a flyer from an elective 3D ultrasound business. The goal? To sell you your own entertainment ultrasound business by offering a franchise and ultrasound education in a matter of days…for anyone off the street with no prior ultrasound knowledge or training. Before this, I had no idea such a business was even legal.

As a certified OB sonographer for 25 years, I can vouch for the level of knowledge and skill we learn initially and acquire over time, through clinical experience and performing diagnostic examinations. Most importantly, our education and experience also applies to the equipment we use to scan you. Anyone performing OB ultrasound should be utilizing the ALARA principle – and any formally-educated sonographer knows what this is. Basically, we learn how to optimize power settings in order to use the lowest level needed to obtain a good image. This is recommended by the medical community because long-term effects of ultrasound are still being researched. Someone who is not formally-trained likely has no knowledge of how to do this or even know it exists.

Ask about RDMS credentials (or DMS, meaning they have recently graduated).

Equipment Maintenance and Safety

They are not required to maintain safety standards for their equipment. Machines need maintenance to ensure they are performing properly and safely. Cracked probes and cords that are worn, old, and/or not properly cleaned or maintained can be an electrical hazard to their customers. Maintenance is costly, and I just have to wonder how many of these businesses elect to bypass it because they can. You may not necessarily know whether their equipment is safe.

No Physician on Site

Though not a diagnostic exam, a physician is not on site in case a problem is detected. And detecting an obvious problem is much less likely for someone not formally trained.

Unrealistic Promises

Now, let’s address fetal sex. After all, most of you who are super anxious to find out if you can shop for pink or blue want to know as early as possible! Most of these places advertise 100% accuracy of fetal sex guesses from 12 or 14 Weeks. This is irresponsible and something they actually cannot do. They can’t guarantee a gender guess is 100% accurate. They can only guarantee you a refund if they’re wrong. I’m sure you many of you wouldn’t consider handing over your money if you knew this is what they meant by their “guarantee.”

A guess too early in pregnancy is a toss-up. You are paying good money, and in some cases, a lot of it. How qualified is the guess if the person scanning you isn’t certified with a level of OB ultrasound experience? Furthermore, any obstetrician or radiologist will tell you that no ultrasound can be considered 100% accurate. As a matter of fact, even DNA blood tests for first-trimester genetics or amniocentesis cannot boast of 100% accuracy – these tests are 99+% accurate. Ultrasound cannot come close to this in the first trimester.

My advice to a mom- or family-to-be is to keep an open mind regarding a sex guess too early and to wait for your anatomy screen before investing in paint!

They Do Not Perform a Diagnostic Exam

But sometimes they say or advertise that they do. Some of them even call themselves a diagnostic imaging center. They’ll tell you that they’ll scan a little to make sure Baby is okay. I believe this gives the expectant parent a false sense of security. No sonographer can legally tell you your baby appears normal by ultrasound.

Please be aware that no one can call an elective ultrasound scan “diagnostic” in any way! Your healthcare professional must order a diagnostic exam. You must be scanned by a certified sonographer in a medical facility where at least one physician is on site. Finally, an official report must be generated for a physician’s interpretation and signature.

No one scanning in an elective 3D ultrasound business can promise a diagnostic test!

Undisclosed Information

Finally, they don’t have to advertise any of the above! They have no requirements to inform you of any of the issues above. If you ask, they have to answer honestly. So, be sure to ask!


A Message 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 a problem, you are still liable. You are not trained to recognize these problems or how to handle them. How would you handle seeing something you feel is abnormal or that you cannot explain? What would you say? If you cannot call yourself a formally-educated sonograper, you have no business picking up a probe. Most of us who practice OB every day only get slightly better at breaking terrible news. This unfortunate experience will inevitably be yours at some point.

Moreover, you don’t know how to use the equipment safely or optimally. It takes a bit of artistry, (again) proper training, and experience to be able to create good 2D images – 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. Anyone can show you how to press a few buttons. It doesn’t mean you can call yourself a sonographer. If this is your goal, go to school and learn how to do it the right way. Also, it doesn’t mean you are providing a fair service for the money.


Please Do Your Research on 3D Ultrasound Non-Medical Businesses!

Know before you go, ladies! Call in advance to ask if the person scanning you is a certified sonographer with OB experience and not a former used-car salesman. If not, you would be better off with this elective scan at your doctor’s office instead. A sonographer there is far more likely to detect an obvious problem. And your doctor or another physician would be in-house to discuss it with you and answer your questions.

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.

For the safety of the expectant parent, ACOG, ACR, and AIUM do not recommend elective scans at these sites. 

These businesses were borne of the expectant parents’ desire to see their baby at will, to bond with their baby, and to share with their families a special event. We understand this movie theater experience isn’t something you can receive at your doctor’s office, but the first and foremost concern is the health of you and your baby. I think any expectant mom would agree.

Even though this can be a fun experience for the family, the potential for serious issues is real. We can’t tell you not to go, but please do your homework first! If nothing else, ensure the person scanning you is qualified to do so! Educate yourself, and make an informed decision. Giving these places your hard-earned cash may not be worth your while.

Best wishes for happy and healthy!

Email me with your questions and comments at!

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Posted on April 29th, 2014 by

Great 3D Ultrasound Images

Sometimes, beautiful 3D ultrasound pics are just effortless! Well, when I was finally able to get this baby girl to flip over, she was more than happy to pose for the camera. We asked; she listened. What a good baby girl! Let’s hope she listens as well when she’s two! (My youngest one didn’t — such a little pill!)

The result this day was just great imaging. Mom was 27w3d here which proves an optimal time for a 3D scan. Of course, all the other factors have to line up, as well. Every mom hoping for some great 3D pics needs to have a nice pocket of fluid in front of Baby’s face.

2D facial profile, 3D ultrasound pics, 27 Weeks pregnant

Notice the black in front of her face here. This is one of the reasons we can see it so well with 2D imaging. But it’s also why we were able to obtain the beautiful 3D images you see below.

Babies have begun to develop some fat in their skin, so cheeks look a little more plump now.

3D ultrasound pics, 27 Weeks pregnant


3D ultrasound pics, 27 Weeks pregnant


Mom was happy to share:) Thanks, Mom! She’s a keeper!

Email your great 3D ultrasound pics! I’d love to post them on my site!

FYI – Before you visit a non-medical 3D business for your images, please read more on how to educate yourself before making your appointment and paying your money!

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Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by

Okay, so we’ve talked about how some 3D pics 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. They had no problem with me sharing with the world:)

3D pics, third trimester3D pics, third trimester


Do you notice her tongue sticking out in the pic below?


3D pics, third trimester


She is so precious! I will add here that the reason you are not able to see the top of her head is because she had it buried in Mom’s pelvis. The only way to see anything well in 3D is if it is surrounded by fluid!

Here’s hoping your baby cooperates like this!

You can email your pics to!



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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.

More here regarding elective 3D non-medical ultrasound businesses!

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Posted on August 17th, 2012 by

she asked with a condescending tone and a tinge of nasty. Hmm, can I? It’s certainly not required, but most sonographers try to obtain the best ultrasound pictures we can for a patient. When they ask in such a sweet tone (:/), they seem to assume I didn’t try my hardest. This is only slightly irritating.

I am more than capable of taking incredible ultrasound pictures of your baby…if all the stars align. Sometimes, however, the answer to that question is a huge no when all the factors that go into obtaining a good image do not exist. And those conditions are different for each and every scan, regardless of whether it’s the same patient or same pregnancy for a patient.

always tried to give a patient great ultrasound images and would usually give as many images as I could possibly snap. I’ve sent patients out with an au revoir and ten or twenty images when just the right circumstance presented itself. Fortunately for these expectant moms, Baby was showing off, the patient and/or her family were great to work with, and I had plenty of time to play (maybe the next patient cancelled)! I always loved those occasions. However, those three variables change swiftly and drastically like the wind from one patient to the next.

When Ultrasound Pictures Aren’t the Best

Sometimes, the images a patient wants either cannot be obtained at all or appear fuzzy. This can be due to a number of factors.

  • Fetal cooperation IS the name of the game. Without this, cute pics simply are not gonna happen. Especially when baby is facing mom’s back, it then becomes very difficult for me to see the specific organs and structures that I need to document, much less be able to get cute pics for the patient. The prone fetus might look something like this:


breech fetus, prone fetus, ultrasound pictures


  • Baby needs to be facing upward toward Mom’s belly in order to see the face well. But a few caveats exist. If a nice pocket of fluid is found in front of Baby’s face with no placenta, limbs, or the cord in the way, we can typically get some really great shots of the facial profile. After all, we meet someone’s face, right?! And this is what patients want to see most. Without this shot, the patient usually leaves feeling a little empty-handed. Poo. I hate when this happens. I usually apologize and just say their baby simply did not want to cooperate that day. With Baby looking, a great profile might look something like these:


fetal profile, ultrasound pictures

fetal profile, ultrasound, ultrasound pictures


If the placenta is anterior (front side of the uterus), Baby’s face is sometimes smushed into it, like a pillow (this usually depends on gestational age and amount of amniotic fluid). Additionally, if the operator is not educated in ultrasound (some 3D businesses) or if the profile is not perfectly optimal, a profile image might look a little freaky and something like this:

ultrasound pictures, fetal profile

Mom worried about this appearance but wrote me later to say her baby’s face looked entirely normal after birth. Yay!

  • Also, the one major thing that can hamper images…extra weight around Mom’s middle. The more tissue the sound waves have to penetrate, the more fuzzy the image will be on the monitor. Thank Ultrasound Physics, but it’s something we can’t change. So, unfortunately, the more a patient weighs, the less likely it will be that good images can be obtained no matter what position baby is in. Same for 3D. We would never advise a patient not to have a 3D scan, but we know (in some circumstances) it simply will not be a great one. All we can do is just try to optimize the images to the best of our ability.


I know that some sonographers can be just downright unfriendly in their jobs. Believe me, I’ve worked with some of them! I’ve also had a handful of patients say the same about me. Unfortunately, we won’t ever win over everyone. Sometimes, it’s the sonographer with the attitude…difficult patient load, difficult cases, difficult physicians, little time for play. All these things make it tough for a sonographer to maintain a cheerful disposition and give a patient everything she expects. Are those factors the fault of his/her patients? Absolutely not! Until the patient doesn’t get what she expects…

Sometimes, it’s the patient who brings the attitude. A mix of great expectations versus the impossible mission can create a very unhappy patient. But is this always the fault of the sonographer? Again, absolutely not. We have policies to enforce and limited time. And we just can’t always determine fetal sex – for all the reasons above.

So, at the end of the day, we can jiggle, we can belly-poke, we can roll mom from one side to the other and stand her on her head. Sometimes, those stubborn babies just won’t budge!

“Can’t you get me better pictures?” About twenty times a week, I would just smile, apologize, and regrettably pass to her images of a hand and a foot…and a penis, if she’s lucky!


Email me with your comments, questions, stories, and your favorite pics at!


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