Posted on August 25th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

What’s the purpose of ultrasound gel?

ultrasound gel

Ah…that amazing blue stuff…sometimes shockingly cold, oftentimes warm like a comfy blanket (if they’re nice and keep it in a warmer!). If you’ve ever had a sonogram, you know it’s pretty messy, and Moms usually hate it!

The best I’ve used for most of my career, pictured above, is made by Parker Laboratories and provides the perfect viscosity. In other words, it doesn’t run down the side of your belly when we squirt it. Ultrasound gel is made up mostly of water, gets everywhere, and feels tacky until it dries. However, no one can have an ultrasound without it!

Why do we use it?

The role of gel is two-fold. Most importantly, it’s acoustic transmission gel. This means it helps to conduct the sound waves. No gel, no view! Ultrasound cannot travel through air or gas. Without the gel, there exists a bit of air between the probe and skin which produces no image on the monitor!

Second, it allows the probe to move smoothly over Mom’s belly. Some wonder why we use so much. If we used it sparingly, it dries out. The probe won’t glide over your kin, and the dried gel forms little balls of stickiness. Gross. Better to use a bunch and extra tissue to wipe it off after! Usually, it dries like a fine powder on your skin.

I performed this little experiment one time for a patient who asked, much to her amazement. It’s really cool, actually…touch the probe to the skin with no gel and all you see is black. Add a little gel and Voila’! Baby.

So, there you go. Another lesson in Ultrasound 101.

Have a great day and a healthy pregnancy 🙂

Email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com with your questions!

 

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on April 28th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Reliable Ultrasound Information
for Expectant Moms

Factual ultrasound information can be hard to find. No one knows that better than a newly-expectant mom with loads of questions! How do you know what’s accurate and what’s not? With so much info at our fingertips, too much Googling just seems to lead to more unanswered questions, doesn’t it?

As a sonographer (ultrasound technologist) with formal training and twenty-five years experience in OB/GYN, I am amazed by what I read on other sites about ultrasound. And it’s not just from blogs and forums filled with personal opinion. Misinformation also comes from parent/child sites and even some of the most popular pregnancy books that the general public would expect to be reliable. These articles or posts or books, I realize, are written by authors with no obvious medical training or experience. But their information should be coming from reliable sources. If they interviewed someone in the medical field, facts can become a little lost in translation from interviewee to print.

Five years ago, I ran across a blog about ultrasound…the uses, technical details, what we can see, and how we can see it. The level of wrong in this post left me dumbfounded! It was clear to me that this person had absolutely no medical knowledge whatsoever. It’s not too hard to spot when they use the terminology incorrectly in nearly every sentence. What bothered me the most was that someone left a comment thanking this so-called author for the “valuable” information. It struck me then that many people actually do believe anything they read on this crazy web thing.

So, Where Can You Find Accurate Ultrasound Information?

If you have a curious knack for researching ultrasound on the internet, just be sure to check out someone’s bio. Look at the author’s credentials. Do they reference their experience and knowledge in the field? You can determine whether that individual’s level of experience with a particular subject before taking the information at face value. If an author is not a sonographer, physician, or medical professional with ultrasound knowledge, just know that what you are reading may not be entirely accurate. And if you have questions about what you read relative to your pregnancy, ask your doctor! She or he is always going to be your most reliable source for credible advice on your health and that of your baby.

ultrasound information

9 Week Embryo

My Pledge to My Readers

My desire to create a platform where an excited new mom can find accurate info about ultrasound drove me to create this blog. Hopefully, expectant couples with curiosity about their scans can find a little general info here.

Please feel free to email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com. Ask me your questions; tell me your ultrasound stories. Remember, no blog, no site, no forum can replace the healthcare professional! We are not your doctor, we do not manage your pregnancy, nor do we have any knowledge of the health of you and your baby. Carefully consider what you read, and direct any concerns to your doctor for the best advice you can follow. 🙂

Stay tuned for the release of my first book
about first-trimester ultrasound! 

 

Subscribe to get more great ultrasound information
delivered to your inbox!

 

 

Comments: 6 Comments »

Posted on April 27th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

General Ultrasound Facts

 

Patients have asked me these questions on a regular basis for years. Let’s get some ultrasound facts straight, shall we? I hope it’s helpful!

What’s the difference between ultrasound and sonogram?

Technically speaking, ultrasound is the study of the subject (the field of ultrasound) and a sonogram refers to the examination itself. Although we’re really not picky about what you call it.

 

Is ultrasound safe?

Biohazard testing over the past forty years reveals no ill effects of ultrasound on the fetus, mother, or sonographer. However, increasing levels of heat after scanning for several hours in one area can cause cavitation or the creation of bubbles. This is much longer than the time required for performing a diagnostic test. Since no one can predict the long-term effects, only the prudent and diagnostic use of the technology is recommended by ACOG, AIUM, and ACR. The benefits of the information from diagnostic exams for patient and physician currently outweigh any known risk.

 

Is Ultrasound radiation?

Ultrasound technology uses sound waves, NOT radio waves. I dedicate an entire post to just that subject in the link above. No radiation is emitted by ultrasound equipment or Dopplers utilized by your physician to detect Baby’s heartbeat. X-Ray emits radiation which is why, for example, your pregnant belly would be covered with a protective shield at your dentist’s office for X-Rays on your teeth.

 

Can my baby hear ultrasound? 

Nope, Baby cannot hear the sound waves:) Ultrasound is just that…sound waves that operate at a frequency far beyond human hearing. Human hearing ranges from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. Diagnostic ultrasound operates in the millions of Hertz. Ultrasound probes range from about 2 – 13MHz.

True story ~ I became a little distressed once when a patient asked me if ultrasound sounded like a jet to a fetus. She had just read this in a pregnancy magazine in our waiting room! I reassured her this was inaccurate. This experience marked one of the many reasons I wanted to start my blog–to get reliable info to new moms like you!

 

What’s the difference between 2D, 3D, and 4D?

Almost everyone has seen the gray clouds of 2D ultrasound at one time or another. 2D allows us to see through organs and inside your baby.

Most people are familiar with 3D imaging as a fun way to see the outside of their baby. Additionally, the best and cutest 3D images are obtained later in the 2nd Trimester or early in the 3rd. Baby’s skin has developed more fat at this point which makes for chubbier cheeks! Occasionally, a high-risk practice (MFM or Maternal Fetal Medicine) will usually also use 3D to assist in visualizing a fetal abnormality. We also frequently use the technology for GYN scans to attempt a better look at uterine shape and/or IUD placement.

4D can be described as 3D in motion or a live 3D image. So, where 3D is a still image, a 3D video of Baby moving is actually 4D.

 

ultrasound facts, 3D, 9 Weeks pregnant

3D 9-Week Embryo

Ultrasound Credentials for Sonographers

 

What’s your title? Are you a nurse or in X-Ray?

We’re not nurses, though some of us do cross over from RT (X-Ray) or other areas of Radiology. Sonographer, Ultrasonographer, or Ultrasound Technologist are a few of our titles. We are specifically and formally educated in the field of Ultrasound.

RDMS stands for Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. A sonographer earns these credentials through ARDMS when he or she has passed a registry examination in Ultrasound Physics as well as his/her ultrasound specialty. A certified sonographer typically has at least two years of experience under his/her belt.

DMS refers to someone who has completed some sort of formal or on-the-job ultrasound training but has not yet taken/passed the registry examination.

 

What do you think of those 3D places?

Having posted on this often, I understand a patient’s desire to go, but I’m not a fan. Not everyone who scans an expectant mom in a 3D non-medical business is a certified OB sonographer. Some have no formal ultrasound training whatsoever! I know you may be surprised by this little-known fact, and so was I.

These businesses are not regulated like medical practices. They may not be knowledgeable of or follow guidelines for equipment maintenance. Ultrasound equipment that is not properly maintained can be an electrical hazard for mother and/or fetus! Do your research and at least ensure your sonographer possesses RDMS or, at least, DMS credentials. Please read the post in the link above!

 

Performing Your Exam

 

When can I expect to have sonograms in my pregnancy?

Every practice is different. Most physician’s order a first-trimester ultrasound examination to date the pregnancy. This is usually performed with a transvaginal probe. If no other problems necessitate another scan, you’ll receive your next exam around 18-20 Weeks. Most women know this scan as the anatomy screen where we evaluate fetal and maternal parts for abnormalities.

*Your doc does not order this exam to determine fetal sex!* However, most sonographers will happily provide the info if at all possible (as long as policy allows)! Also, important to note here is that determining sex is never a guarantee nor should it be an expectation. Sometimes, those Little Sweet Peas just won’t cooperate! You can read more here about those limitations. Note of advice for moms: Don’t pre-plan your Gender Reveal party for the same day as your ultrasound! The health of your pregnancy determines whether you will receive more ultrasound scans later in your pregnancy.

 

Can you predict how much my baby will weigh at birth?

While we can measure your baby’s head, belly, and femur for an educated (called EFW or Estimated Fetal Weight) guess for weight at the time of your scan, a large discrepancy for weight determination exists due to fetal position and sonographer skill. We can typically track a trend for large or small babies. We know the average gained weight in the last few weeks is about 1/2 lb per week. However, every baby is different!

 

Ultrasound Facts About Fetal Sex

 

Most expectant moms today already know this little fact. The ultrasound machine is never “wrong” in determining fetal sex. Actually, it is the observer who is incorrect!

Guessing the wrong sex can be due to one or a combination of many factors. It is possible your baby was in a difficult position to see well. Maybe you were too early in your pregnancy for an accurate guess. In addition, an overall poor view can also limit fetal sex determination!

 

Facts About Your Results

 

Yes, the sonographer can read your examination. However, your OB/GYN physician or radiologist must ultimately interpret the images and report we create. Consequently, only your physician can legally give you results! Read more about why here.

However, most of us are more than happy to educate you about what you see on the monitor (minus a diagnosis!). I loved sharing how we measure and pointing out all your Baby’s parts for any inquisitive parents or family.

~*~

Feel free to email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com with your comments or questions!

Be sure to subscribe for more great ultrasound
facts delivered directly to your inbox!

 

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on May 24th, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Today’s post is all about ribs but not the kind we love to bathe in barbecue sauce. It’s all about fetal ribs today.

Bone on ultrasound shows up white because it is very dense. Water, on the other hand, is the opposite and shows up black. Ultrasound cannot travel through bone, so as your baby’s bones become more dense, they cast a shadow behind them. Viewing certain parts behind them become a challenge, like the heart.

Next time you have a scan, notice the appearance of  baby’s bones. Look for the perfect black lines of the shadow behind the bone. Notice we cannot see anything in that shadow. Therefore, anything that lies behind bone is not well seen.

Take a look at the image of this baby’s ribcage below. Notice the arrows pointing to the white dots which represent the fetal ribs and the black shadow that follows each one. Ultrasound 101. You’re quite welcome!

SONY DSC

 

 

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on May 17th, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Ultrasound – One Mom’s Opinion

I love receiving uplifting emails from readers! Your positive feedback inspires me to continue blogging and to look for more ways to inform you about your fetus and you! Accurate ultrasound information and the safety facts that you need to know for the health of mom and baby make up my highest priority for my blog!

facial profile, 18 Weeks pregnant, ultrasound

Additionally, your questions offer great content to share with other readers. I encourage all my readers (subscribers or not) to share your ultrasound stories, comments, images, photos of your fetus, and ultrasound questions at wombviewerblog@gmail.com. Furthermore, your experience may even help another mom-to-be with her search. I hope you’ll read, enjoy, and subscribe to my blog to find answers for all your ultrasound questions!

An Ultrasound Opinion from One Fellow Healthcare Worker to Another

nurse and mom-to-be:  Hello!! I must say I love your blog and wit!! Patients are so lucky to have such a skilled sonographer like you. I must say I’ve experienced both. My last one we met  (18 Week ultrasound) was great, 20+ years experience and worked with higher-acuity patients, too. She respected our wishes and wrote down the sex with a picture for us to open later. She asked us to leave the room so she could analyze the image. We also asked her track record and she says she does not reveal if not sure. She labeled every body part for us and thoroughly educated us, as I’m sure you do, too!! I’ve been a nurse for 10 years so I can only imagine the questions you get!  Love the idea of your site – you really utilize your talent and help us crazy pregnant ladies!!

Best wishes and I’m now a subscriber (and huge fan), yay!

wwavb:  Hi! Thank you so much for reading and your kind words! AWESOME!! I’ve worked two years on content, and I would love to make my site into a book one day!!  I think it would be an entertaining read for anyone and a great shower gift for new moms:) Your great feedback was a great Mother’s Day gift, by the way!

Subscribe for more accurate, reliable ultrasound facts and information for moms to be!

 

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on April 6th, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Studying ultrasound is no easy task. Actually, it was the most difficult and challenging thing I’ve ever done. Check out the email I received from my ambitious Aussie reader below:

reader:  Hi there, I just wanted to start off by saying I love reading your blog!

I especially wanted to message you because, whether I’m the first person to say so or not, mothers aren’t the only readers you have!
I am not pregnant, (or even anywhere near the ballpark of having children!), rather, I am extremely eager to pursue sonography as a career, specialising in Obstetrics and Gynecology so I can do what you do. Showing parents their children for the very first time is such a special moment that it would make all of the hard work and waiting worthwhile.
You truly inspire me and keep me motivated, as currently I’m only starting my path towards becoming a sonographer. That’s because sonography is a post-graduate course, and I am new to university this year. (Thus, about 3 years before I can even begin studying ultrasound)
I hope that you take pride in knowing that your blog is bringing comfort and joy to parents as well as inspiration and motivation to people like me. I really do see you as a role model for the type of professional that I would like to be in the future. Please keep up the amazing work!
You are blessed to have such a rewarding career, even with the ups and downs of pregnancy. I am not so blind as to think that pregnancy is always complication free, especially as a reader of your blog, but I know that the smiles on the faces of just one happy couple could make any day a great day.
I’ll be silently cheering for you to continue blogging!
***
I wish her and every other aspiring sonographer the best in their ultrasound endeavors. Best advice?
 Don’t be afraid to ask questions for as long as it takes to reach clarity.
I’d love to add a message for sonographers, especially those who are new to the field. A quality exam is important. Your thoroughness, accuracy and attention to detail can determine whether your patient goes to surgery or goes home. Ultrasound, being the most operator-dependent modality, requires great experience. I recommend all newly-certified sonographers work in a busy hospital where education and supervision are emphasized. You should NOT try to work in a clinical setting alone right out of training! It will take time for you to recognize pathology on your own. You WILL miss pathology, and it will be a disservice to your patients. I cannot emphasize this enough. Ask questions of your supervisors and physicians. Ask for supervision while scanning. Look up answers. Become informed. Details matter. Talk to your patients and listen. It’s important they feel you care about why they are seeing you. Don’t just be a good sonographer, be a great one. Your patients deserve it. Good luck in your ultrasound career where education and the opportunities to learn are endless. We never know it all so keep challenging yourself!

Comments: 1 Comment »

Posted on March 15th, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Or, rather, Estimated Fetal Weight. This is the approximate weight of the fetus after we measure the head, abdominal circumference and femur.  Our machine takes this information and plugs it into the software to estimate Baby’s weight.  I’ve posted on BPD, HC, AC and FL before so I won’t focus on HOW we get those measurements today, but instead, the accuracy of them.

I am asked several times per week, “Now how accurate is this weight?”  Are we always right on with birthweight?  No.  Are we always close?  Another no.  But MOST of the time, we are.  It is an educated guess and based only on the measurements WE take and there are many variables that play into obtaining those properly.  As baby gets closer to the EDD (Estimated Date of Confinement), Baby gets bigger, the head becomes more engaged, and the fluid can start to diminish a bit. There is only one right way to measure Baby and all of these things make her harder to see and these measurements more difficult to obtain, especially depending on Baby’s position.

Also, Baby is packing it on in the last month!  Average growth is about 1/2lb per week!  If you’re baby is trending heavier, Baby will usually gain more than the 1/2lb and if trending smaller, then less than 1/2lb per wk.  This is why when a patient comes in at 32wks and asks how much I think her baby will weigh at birth, I always say “If I could predict that, I could have retired a long time ago!” Sometimes babies grow in spurts, too.  We might see a huge head at 30wks and a few weeks later see that everything else caught up.  So, NO WAY to predict!

Technically, our software tells us at term to figure plus or minus 1.5lbs. However, IF I feel that I am getting really easy and accurate views of the head and belly (especially the belly since most of the EFW comes from the AC or abdominal circumference), then I feel pretty good to say that I may be over-estimating by about a 1/2lb.

Remember, if you get an ultrasound and an EFW at week 38 and you deliver at 39, don’t forget to add in that extra poundage!

Here’s to a fat and happy fetus!

And if you have stories you’d like to share or questions about weight, feel free to email me or comment on this post!

Thanks for reading,

wwavblogger 🙂

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on March 1st, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

What exactly do I do? Let’s break it down. This information will definitely be helpful to anyone interested in training for a career as a sonographer. Many are fascinated by ultrasound! So, this may also be an interesting read for those who are merely curious about what we do. This may also be a little long, so hunker down with a good cup o’ joe.

Ultrasound is very technical, so attention to detail is of great importance. We work in the millimeters, so spacial concepts and 3-dimensional thinking are necessary. We can visualize mentally what we are only partially seeing on the monitor. For new sonographers, this gets easier with improved scanning ability over time. None of us were great sonographers right out the gate!

So, what am I? I have many names…sonographer, ultrasound technologist, ultrasound tech or technician. A certified sonographer is someone with a couple of years of experience who has passed a Physics exam and one specialty examination (like OB/GYN). You then earn the credentials of RDMS, Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. There are many other examinations for which one can earn more credentials.

We start off with some book knowledge. We learn medical terminology, A&P, pathology (disease) and how it presents, ultrasound physics, biology, and examination protocol, for example. In my particular training, we started clinical rotations where we visited different clinical settings for a period of time. We would follow other more experienced sonographers to observe examinations. I learned a little about the technologist/patient relationship like what to say and (most importantly!) what not to say.

We also learned how to present our examinations to the Radiologist, the reading physician. You better have all your ducks in a row here, people! They are tough. They can and will ask you a hundred questions, and you better have the right answer waiting. Like any other profession, some are easier to work with and offer more guidance. Some, well..don’t. After you are more experienced and have proven yourself time after time, the tough ones let up a little:) They know when a sonographer knows her stuff, and they know when they can trust your skill and ability. It just takes time.

We learned how to handle patients in hospital beds, how to transport them, and how to handle their catheters. Learning to keep urine, vomit, or blood off your person was a good time, too! We also learned what to do if it happened anyway and how to not get sick yourself. It doesn’t help your patient! If you have a good teacher, you also learn how to handle patients with dignity and respect. It’s hard for someone to feel that when they lie in a hospital bed. In an outpatient setting, you learn that patients are the lifeblood of a practice. When dealing with the general public, you can’t always say what you want, and you have to learn to filter.  This is sometimes VERY HARD to do!

A sonographer learns scanning ability with hands-on training with a machine and an experienced sonographer at the helm. Ultrasound machines are very much like most computers. They all have the same basic functions, but some have a few more bells and whistles than others. We learn what something looks like by watching someone else.  S…l…o…w…l…y over time we begin to be able to recognize parts ourselves. Then we take over the probe. We have to learn how to hold it and find the parts ourselves. We learn how to properly measure organs and how to adjust 40 knobs so that the image looks the way it should. Additionally, we have to learn image protocol which includes what images to take and how many.

Eventually, after a few months of scanning, these technical details become second nature. As soon as the probe touches the skin, we set about making our image look as needed without much thought. It is only then that we start to recognize pathology. Sometimes, disease processes present exactly as one learned from the book, sometimes not. Oftentimes, we see something we know is NOT normal, but we can’t exactly put a name to the process. What students need to know is that one of the most important things they’ll learn about ultrasound is to first learn what “normal” is.  Once one scans many normal exams, it is much easier to recognize when something is wrong.

We learn all the above for many different parts of the body! Some aspects of ultrasound include Intracranial and Peripheral Vascular (vessels of the arms and legs), Echo (the heart), Small Parts (breast, testicle and thyroid), Abdominal (all abdominal organs and vessels), OB or Obstetric (maternal and fetal), GYN or Gynecology (pelvic organs in a non-pregnant female), and many others. Ultrasound is also performed on the eyes and in more recent years, muscles and nerves. We also spent a bit of time learning about biohazard waste management and HIPAA regulations that keep patient information private.

Over time and with more experience, we learn how to better manage our patients and case loads. I say it’s a process with a long learning curve, especially for anyone starting out with no medical background. At times, I cursed my choice of career, place of employment, and certain unpleasant physicians. I sometimes cried before and after a particularly hellish workday or weekend of call. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. BUT I did it. And slowly but surely, the puzzle pieces came together. They began to fit in a way that brought light and clarity to every exam I performed. Suddenly, it just started to make sense.

When I began to ask more questions about something I didn’t understand, I received better response from docs I admired for their extensive education, intelligence, and knowledge. You can’t be afraid to ask questions! It’s important to your docs, their practice, and patients. It’s also important to you, the sonographer, for your own developing skill and ability. This confidence grows over time! It’s a great feeling when you finally get to this point.

To this day, I still get a rush when I recognize pathology and all the puzzle pieces come together. It makes me happy when I can explain something to a patient that gives clarity to her understanding. There’s nothing like a “thank you” (or even a hug!) by a patient. And who doesn’t love positive feedback by a physician who says you did a great job? As difficult as my career was in the beginning, I’m still at it after 23 years. And year after year, post all the blood, sweat, tears and pain, I feel I’ve come a long way:)

 

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on February 7th, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Can you skip your anatomy screen?

Of course, a patient has a right to refuse any test! I’d recommend a discussion with your obstetrician, however, so your doc understands your reasoning. Your doc will want to clear up any misconceptions you may harbor and ensure you understand the consequences for your decision. However, students practicing ultrasound on your fetus does not constitute a replacement! Here are all the reasons why.

True Story…

A patient requested her anatomy screen examination be cancelled because she went to a facility where students practiced on her. She stated they already did the scan, so she didn’t need to have it done a second time.

 Students practicing on your belly is not a formal or official scan; it’s just practice;)

Your diagnostic examination was ordered by your physician and must be performed in a medical facility with a written order by your doc. No order, no exam. That examination must be performed by credentialed sonographers, must include specific documentation, and must be interpreted by a radiologist or your physician. Click on the link above for more info about what you can expect from your anatomy screen!

Can students practice?

Yes, ultrasound students routinely practice on pregnant bellies, and that’s okay — as long as it’s also okay with your doc! I always recommended they have written permission from your physician, but that isn’t carved in stone (just my opinion!) And I personally recommend waiting until after your real anatomy screen is complete — if anyone is going to question a problem, you’d want that to be your doc…not a student or instructor.

Holy cow…me as a student…you would not have wanted that to count as your official study! Actually, that goes for any student. They should have a supervising instructor guiding them, but their casual practice is no substitute for the real thing…medically, ethically, or legally. Students are still struggling to figure out what’s a head and a butt on your baby and how all the buttons work. “Hmm, where is that knob again to make the image brighter?”

Yep, there’s a L O N G learning curve to ultrasound, and no one knows that better than me! Whew,  excruciatingly painful.

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on January 23rd, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

What Exactly is Ovulation?

So let’s go way back to right before you found out you were pregnant. A couple of weeks before your baby started developing, you ovulated. Most people have a huge misconception about ovulation, ovarian cysts, and how your ovaries really function. If you have a period every month, then every month your ovary makes a cyst which ruptures and releases an egg…yep, that’s ovulation!

What’s LMP?

Your LMP (Last Menstrual Period) refers to the first day of your last period. This is Day 1 of your menstrual cycle. We also know that most women ovulate between Days 10 and 14. Some people have over-achievers for ovaries and ovulate sooner; some are late-bloomers and ovulate later. You might know which camp you belong to if you have really short cycles or really long ones!

Some people don’t have regular periods. Some may even skip several months at a time! If you are one of those women and you desire a pregnancy, you may need to see your gynecologist/obstetrician. Your eggs may need a little coaxing to get on board with the plan!

The Functional Cyst ~ Not All Cysts Are Bad

Everyone starts out with a bunch of follicles (little fluid-filled sacs) on the ovaries. Each follicle contains an egg. At some point early in your cycle, one of the follicles starts to get bigger and bigger. A follicle that reaches about 2.5 cm is considered a cyst. A functional cyst is expected to rupture once it reaches the 3 cm mark (or slightly greater) — aka, ovulation. One example of a follicle and functional, or ovulatory, cyst are pictured below:

ovulation, functional cyst, ovulatory cyst

Functional Ovarian Cyst – wombwithaviewblog.com

Sometimes we feel mid-cycle pain (sometimes resulting in an ER visit) when the cyst ruptures, especially if it is larger than 3 cm. However, most women never know when they ovulate.

When Cysts Are Not Ovulatory

Many patients equate a cyst on the ovary to something bad. After all, it’s what we hear about most. The ovary can make bad things like any other organ in the body. Not all of them are malignant, or ovarian cancer. They can be non-cancerous (or benign) but may require follow-up or even require surgical removal depending on its size and other circumstances of your particular case. Of course, only your doctor can answer these questions for you!

Egg on a Mission

Once your functional cyst ruptures, the egg sets out on her journey. If she stays on her course, your egg travels through the tube and into the uterus. If sperm is there to fertilize it, great! I’m in business. If not, Tampax is, and two weeks later you have another period. Oh, joy.

I don’t care what any commercial claims… Unless you’re wearing a diaper, you’re better off leaving those white shorts folded safely in your dresser. Don’t even think about it! Ever wonder exactly how many panties, shorts, and sheets we women ruin with our monthly friend? 😵 It’s a conspiracy!

***

So, I hope this post helped you understand the whole monthly thing. Many of my patients seemed to be surprised to have a cyst on the ovary or worried it was something concerning. Creating a functional cyst is simply a monthly event for most people.

And if you’re extra special, your ovaries might even double the fun. If so, you just might need TWO of everything at your baby shower! 👶👶


8 Week Twins, Week 8 twins, di/di twins, ovulation

Any questions for me? Great! Email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

 

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on January 18th, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

fetal hair

Yes! We can see fetal hair on ultrasound! Usually later in the 3rd Trimester, especially if it is long or thick, you might be able to see your baby’s hair floating in the amniotic fluid. It can be pretty funny to see it waving as your sonographer pushes on your belly with the probe!

We can see fetal hair easiest about the nape of the neck and back of the head. Sometimes, you may also be able to appreciate hair on top of your baby’s head with 3D imaging. Moms are often surprised! They can’t wait to show off their baby’s head full of hair when they come back for their post-partum check after delivery.

This baby below had so much thick hair! I often joke with parents that their babies will either come out with pigtails or needing his first haircut.

On ultrasound fetal hair appears a lot like white fuzz where you see the arrows pointed. Mom and I enjoyed lots of laughs during this scan, and I told her to make sure she invested in lots of bows! I can’t wait to see her in color. 🙂

Feel free to email me with your ultrasound pics, stories, questions or comments at wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

 

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on January 10th, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

That may be a reference to the limbo, but it’s also a term used for where that head is located in the pelvis as your pregnancy is nearing its end.  Many patients say they feel as if baby has dropped and ask me if their baby’s head is low or if I can tell how low it is.  Nope.  The station of the fetal head is more of a feeling thing that your doctor assesses with a physical examination.  With ultrasound, we can sometimes see that the head is SO VERY low to the extent that we have a hard time actually measuring the head at the proper level.  When this happens, we will say that the head is so low that it is limiting the exam but we can never really “see” how low it actually is.

Either way, at this point in the pregnancy, you know that light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is in your near future.  Yippee!

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on November 19th, 2013 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Pain during ultrasound should not happen. Regardless of whether you are having a transvaginal scan or an abdominal one, it should never really hurt. Now sometimes a patient may come in with some pelvic pain already. That may even be the reason for the examination. In this case, it may be uncomfortable but should never be painful. I always tell my patients to be sure and let me know if she is hurting with the degree of pressure I am applying. Patients tend to NOT want to say anything. They want to tough it out.  They fear they will not get an adequate exam, or they don’t want to keep me from obtaining the images I need.

I will say that we tend to get quite focused on the task at hand which is to find that often ever-elusive ovary or to obtain that perfect measurement. It’s true to some degree that the harder we push, the better image we obtain. However, we cannot forget there’s a human under that probe!

So, next time you have any scan performed and you feel like your sonographer has perforated your uterus, speak up! It’s okay to tell her to ease off on the pressure. In fact, the sonographer needs to know she is too heavy-handed. It’s like I always say…we don’t have to scan your tonsils!

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on March 4th, 2013 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Your’re 12 Weeks pregnant! And so is the uterus below:) Everyone has just worked so hard to get to this point…so much growing and developing! The twins are 12w1d now, fully formed and just have to keep growing from this point. They really look like babies now and not so much the alien they used to resemble. Tiny hands and feet are distinctly recognizable now as you can see in the photos below. Awww!

Some organs can be seen at this point like the stomach as it fills due to baby’s swallowing of the amniotic fluid and the urinary bladder as it becomes more distended due to functioning kidneys. The stomach and bladder appear as black because fluid shows up black on ultrasound. The brain can be seen but is still developing at this point and the heart is a beating machine but still too small to see much detail. All of these things and more will be evaluated around the 18-20wk timeframe or as your doctor orders.

Notice, in the image of the itsy-bitsy bottom of the foot, the scale in centimeters on the right-hand side. The foot measures about 1cm or less than 1/2 an inch right now!

Baby A is showing off today and waving to Mom. Bye-bye ’til next visit!

Comments: 13 Comments »

Posted on February 23rd, 2013 by wombwithaviewblog.com

What can you expect to see at 11 Weeks?

At 11 Weeks pregnant, take a look at what you should expect to see by ultrasound!

 

11 Weeks pregnant

11 Weeks pregnant

 

These images depict Baby B at 11 Weeks! Both babies are slightly bigger = about 4.3 cm now or almost two inches! The second trimester starts at 14 Weeks. So, the first trimester, thought of as the most crucial one for growth and development, is nearly over. Babies can be seen doing a lot of quick jerky movements at this point. They can be quite active and actually mimic little jumping beans! In the second image, you can see little legs quite distinctly.

 

Comments: 3 Comments »