Posted on April 11th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

OOPS! Not a Girl! – The Case of Mistaken Fetal Sex

Yep, it happens…the mistaken fetal sex guess. It can happen to anyone and sometimes does! We all have heard the story somewhere. A friend. Family member. Someone’s friend’s cousin’s sister-in-law… The truth is that the right conditions can make anyone susceptible to an incorrect guess. Consequently, the discovery of the opposite sex inevitably leads to a roller coaster of emotions! This is precisely why I have always been careful and cautious when throwing out a guess to any interested parent-to-be.

In the Eye of the Beholder

I have certainly been on the giving end of that conversation. Most of the time, it’s not pretty. The result usually accompanies shock and wonder at how this could have happened, especially with today’s technology. This is the typical feeling. However, still get the feeling that the general public thinks it’s the machine doing the guessing and not the observer. This would be an incorrect assumption. It always has been and always will be the observer who guesses. The machine does nothing without the operator making it happen. Other healthcare professionals are more experienced and better than others at scanning.

Some docs, nurse midwives, or other healthcare professionals are better than their counterparts at scanning. But I believe all of them in the field would agree that none of them have the skill of a seasoned sonographer. Unfortunately (and unbeknownst to you), some holding that probe are not formally trained in ultrasound at all! Some in the 3D business who are taking a crack at your baby’s sex don’t even come from the medical field. Scary, right?

Factors That Interfere With Fetal Sex Guesses

That said, a whole world of other issues can interfere with the guess of someone who is more than qualified to make it. Factors like fetal position and patient size can both make visualization limited. The laws of Ultrasound Physics dictate how well we will or won’t see a particular object. The more tissue the sound waves have to penetrate, the more limited the image will be once they make their long trek back to the monitor. That said, I could see very well in a few of my heavier patients over the years and definitely struggled in some thinner ones. This is also because air and gas are not our friends in ultrasound. If your intestines are full, it can get in the way of what we need to see…even in the thinnest of people! Yep, poop is a problem.

A Case of Mistaken Fetal Sex

Readers from all over the world email me with their images for a second opinion on fetal sex. This can be very difficult when the image isn’t a great one to start. I always like to play it cautious with my patients and readers. Especially when I’m examining one frozen image, the ability to see from all angles is taken out of the equation and a real disadvantage. The image has to be technically great, or it is simply a wild card.You’ll find one reader’s story below who wanted my opinion, but I was clueless. This baby didn’t look like a boy or girl!

You’ll find one reader’s story below who wanted my opinion, but I was a bit hesitant with this one. She wrote initially expressing her confusion. She was 20 Weeks but couldn’t make out typical girl or boy parts. This was the image below. Same for me, confused mama! The image below is not “textbook” for either sex, though I think most any sonographer would guess “girl” based on this one image alone. Hmm…

fetal sex, mistaken fetal sex

I wrote her back saying this:

Hi, this is not a very clear image but does seem to be a good angle. I don’t see anything sticking out, so I would have to guess girl based on that alone. Maybe a future ultrasound may be more clear? I’m sorry I couldn’t help more!

Best,
wwavblogger, RDMS

She wrote me back a couple of weeks later with a correction:

Everyone said it’s a girl again. I was a little disappointed, but now he is here. Blessed with a baby boy. The family is complete now. Wanted to share this happiness with you. Thank you.

I have to say I was a bit shocked that this was a boy, however, I was so happy for her that she got what she wanted. My reply to her:

Oh, congratulations!! This is precisely why I don’t like to try to confirm sex with other sonographer’s images! Sometimes they just aren’t very good and depend on angle and experience. A lack of something in one shot is not a definite girl! Many blessings to you!

Now, obviously, we all look different from one another and abnormally developing parts can cause confusion on sonography. I surely can’t say her baby didn’t have normal genitalia, but it just goes to show that angle and skill are everything!

I certainly and regrettably have had my share of patients get angry with me for not making a guess, but I’d rather play it safe any day. And this case is exactly why!

Have a great day, Moms, and feel free to email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

Subscribe for more posts about interesting ultrasound stories about mistaken fetal sex, gender reveal ultrasound, and more!

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on April 22nd, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Mistaken Fetal Gender Guesses

It’s possible. We’ve all heard a story or two, right? Being too early in gestational age is one way to ensure mistaken fetal gender guesses. Baby insisting on keeping still in a difficult position doesn’t help, either. 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 as soon as you speak the words. Thoughts jumpstart to dance recitals and her wedding day. Dads immediately daydream of the fishing partner they always wanted, or they 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. Beyond the need to return some beloved items, comes the sometimes feelings of guilt or loss when the true gender is identified.

How “Mistaken Identity” Affected One 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 I picked out a girl’s name. I ended up going into labor early at 30 weeks.

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!

18 Weeks pregnant, female gender, mistaken fetal gender

 

wwavblogger:  Wow! Your story is EXACTLY the reason I implore sonographers to give careful and cautious consideration when determining gender!

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.

 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! It does appear like the typical three lines we see in a baby girl. Just know that I can’t guarantee it, though! PLEASE, send me another image of gender every time you have another scan in this pregnancy, especially since she already has the perfect name!
***
Did you or someone you know experience a case of mistaken identity by ultrasound?
If so, feel free to email all about it at wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

Comments: 5 Comments »