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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Posted on May 12th, 2015 by

Fetal Profile Image – An Ultrasound Challenge

Obtaining a great fetal profile image on ultrasound can be a challenge. I’m sure many of you have received questionable images in the past. Have any of you expectant moms shared this mom’s concern, too? Read on for what goes into obtaining a great fetal profile on ultrasound.

When a Fetal Profile Image is Limited

Nervous Mama:  Hi, can you please help me?! At 37 and 39 Weeks, I had ultrasounds done, and the profile looks so bizarre to me that I am nervous something is wrong. I have asked the sonographer and physician, and they don’t see anything wrong with them. However, I can not find anything remotely similar on the internet. Can you please explain what I am looking at? The nose looks odd shaped, and I cannot make out any other features such as the lips and chin. Please email me back before I give birth on Wednesday of next week. Thank you!

fetal profile, fetal face, 2D

fetal profile, fetal face, 2D


Because I only had limited information from these images and because I didn’t personally scan this patient, all I could give her was limited information about what I could see. That said, the profile in the top image is not a good one simply because of positioning. Baby’s face is plastered against what looks like the placenta (they love to do this, by the way!). Because of this, there is no amniotic fluid between the placenta and the face. The fluid helps to outline features like the nose and lips better.

It’s the same principle in 3D imaging. No fluid in front of the face, no image. I never give images like this to patients! When I see babies in this position, I tell Mom that I just can’t see Baby’s face well to obtain a good image. You can see in the second image there is just a bit of fluid (the black) in front of Baby’s face.

Another characteristic of obtaining a great profile is for the sonographer to ensure she is taking a perfect shot directly down the center of Baby’s face.  The images here are not a representation of a “perfect” fetal profile image, per se’.

How We Take a Great Fetal Profile

Imagine taking a marker and drawing a line right down the center of your face. Starting at your hairline, draw a line down your forehead, between your eyes, down your nose, and all the way to your chin. This line splits your face into left and right halves, correct? This makes a perfect profile, and this is where we need to place the sound beam to obtain that view.

What Doesn’t Make a Nice Fetal Profile on Ultrasound

Now imagine that same sound beam as another line which is slightly to the right or left of the center line. Maybe you can imagine how the view would appear different. If the line cuts through your nostril instead of the middle of your nose, the image would not be the same. This may also be why the lips and chin look slightly different in the images above. Additionally, you won’t find anything online about it because everyone’s babies look as different at term on ultrasound as they do in real life!

What To Do If Concerned About Your Fetal Profile Images

All that said, only your doctor can give you peace about something you question on your ultrasound images. If the sonographer is very experienced in OB and feels confident the face was normal, all you can do is trust that all is okay! If you can’t let it go, talk to your doc about it. Perhaps, if they have 3D scan capabilities, maybe the technologist can attempt a front view to ease your fears. Just remember that late in pregnancy, obtaining a good view of Baby’s face can be a challenge due to fetal size and limited fluid levels. That placenta may be a comfy pillow, but it leaves virtually no chance to see that face!

At the end of the day, a perfect angle with great position and good fluid are the only things that help create a great 2D image of a fetal profile!

This reader emailed me after she delivered saying Baby was beautiful with no unusual features or facial abnormalities. Thank goodness! I’m so glad she followed up with me! Not many do 🙁

Great Fetal Profile Images

See below for three of my personal fetal profile images!

profile1jpeg fetal profile image profile3jpeg

They say a photograph speaks a thousand words. This can be especially true in ultrasound. We sonographers all know sometimes good images are impossible for many reasons. So, sonographers, explain why if you feel a good profile is not achievable. And, patients, don’t hesitate to ask your sonographer if you think something looks weird!

We should always strive for the best. The one thing a sonographer shouldn’t do is just take any old image as a keepsake photo. We want moms to cherish them – not to lose sleep over them!

Hope this helps! Feel free to leave your comments below!

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Posted on November 16th, 2013 by

Aw, shucks…there’s nothing better than when my patients ask for me!

facial profile, 18 Weeks pregnant, ultrasound, ultrasound pictures

2nd Tri Facial Profile

If you’ve ever been to the hot and sticky…and beautiful…New Orleans, you might also be familiar with Mardi Gras and some of the best music ever. “They All Asked (pronounced “axt”) For You” by The Meters is one of my faves! If you’ve never been to ⚜️NOLA⚜️, add it to the bucket list now! You just gotta go for some of the best food and music anywhere in the world;)

Now for my topic of the day…

It makes my heart expand three sizes when a patient specifically asks for me to perform her ultrasound. Especially, when that patient is a physician. And her husband is a physician. And they are both super-intelligent. You have to guess that maybe you’re doing something right. I scanned them throughout their last pregnancy, and they wanted no one else for their second. They greeted me with hugs for every scan. We talk. They ask me questions about ultrasound, I answer. They thank me profusely, and declare “Sorry! You are stuck with us forever!” It’s a great feeling. Talk about the warm-and-fuzzies!

I was there for her miscarriages and when she was anxious at the start of her next pregnancy. I was there again when she needed weekly scans in her third trimester. “It’s not just another patient, it’s a relationship.” This  is a quote from one of my favorite docs. Patients like these reaffirm that we excel at what we do. We could all use this affirmation, couldn’t we?). They help justify the daily grind and remind us why we do what we do!

When someone says, “I can’t imagine anyone else doing my scans,” it’s the highest compliment a sonographer can receive. I sure don’t take it with a grain of salt. And suddenly, the ones who curse me when I can’t tell them their baby’s gender simply roll away like water off a duck’s back;)

Email me at with your stories to share!


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