Posted on December 11th, 2015 by

The fetal facial profile on ultrasound is one of the shots expectant parents look forward to most. Unfortunately, they are not always possible to obtain! I totally get it. When we meet someone, we meet their face first — it’s entirely understandable the parents-to-be just want to see their Baby’s face.

Oftentimes patients express disappointment with a profile image because “baby wasn’t looking at the camera.” Some think they want the front view of the face, but it looks scary to most parents!

facial profile, fetal face

Just what I thought you’d say…a face only a mother could love! Truly, some moms don’t care and want positively anything we can get! I always tell them that seeing the face from the front mostly yields a skeletal appearance…eye sockets and triangular nasal bones – very “jack-o-lanternesque.”

Unless the shot is a 3D image, the profile or side view of Baby’s face is the one to shoot for in 2D. In this plane we can see the soft features of the face like the nose and lips that look more like a baby.

Since amniotic fluid is ultrasound’s best friend (and mine), we need a nice pocket of fluid in front of your baby’s face to see it well. If baby is facing your back or if it’s smushed into the placenta, unfortunately, face images may not be possible. It will be a “no paparazzi” day for Baby. This means you’ll likely get some precious images of hands and feet to take home. Let me just say I love some baby toes! But patients feel a bit let-down when the little diva doesn’t cooperate.

Great Images of a Fetal Facial Profile on Ultrasound

If you ever felt confused by a profile on ultrasound, the images below provide an explanation of two great ones! Both of these babies were just over 20 Weeks.

fetal profile, facial profile, 20 weeks pregnant

Fetal Facial Profile at 20 Weeks

In the image above, a little more fluid (the black stuff) in front of the face would have been helpful. As you can see, the tip of the nose and forehead just barely touch the uterine wall and placenta in front of it. However, it’s still a great shot!


fetal profile, facial profile, 20 Weeks pregnant

Fetal Facial Profile

How about this one?! PERFECT! This is an absolutely beautiful textbook image of a fetal profile. Can you appreciate how there is more fluid in front of this baby’s face?

Finally, if only ALL the babies I scanned looked like this…SIGH. Such is life. I suppose if every fetus cooperated like the one above, I’d never get any real work done! Mama would sure be happy, though, with a string of pics a mile long. 😉 Who doesn’t love a photogenic fetus?


Here’s hoping you’ll have great pics of your baby come anatomy screen time. And if you need more info on what visitors to take with you along with suggestions for that all-important test, just click here.

Email me with your comments and questions at!


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