Posted on September 14th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

What is the Yolk Sac?

In this post, I’ll explain the yolk sac, its role in your pregnancy, what you should expect to see, and when we can expect to see it. Additionally, I’ll share an email I received from an anxious mama regarding an image her doctor gave to her. She didn’t see a yolk sac and was concerned one may not be there.

anxious mama: I recently received an ultrasound at 7 weeks 5 days. My doctor said everything looked great, and we were able to see its little heartbeat. When I got home and looked at the photo a little closer, I couldn’t find a yolk sac. Would you mind looking at it and letting me know if you can see a yolk sac or anything else you may notice? Thank you so much. This is my first pregnancy after having a miscarriage and I am slightly protective. 🙂

***

In short, if there’s an embryo, a yolk sac must exist! I didn’t see a yolk sac in her image, either. That said, it may be positioned on either side of the embryo, in which case you may not be able to see it in your particular image.

What’s the Role of the Yolk Sac?

The job of the yolk sac provides nutrients for the embryo until the placenta develops. No yolk sac, no baby. Your baby cannot develop without it! So, if your doctor said all looks good and you see a heartbeat, there has to be a yolk sac in there somewhere.

When Can We See a Yolk Sac?

The yolk sac is typically seen somewhere after 5 Weeks gestational age, before we ever see an embryo at Week 6. We normally continue to see the yolk sac every week until somewhere around Week 12 or so, maintaining its same appearance. As we near the end of the 1st Trimester, however, we are less concerned about identifying the yolk sac. As long as Baby is growing appropriately, documenting it is not as important as it is in early pregnancy.

What Will You Expect to See on Ultrasound?

A yolk sac looks like a tiny white circle. Most often, you will see your embryo cuddling up against it. Below is an image of an embryo at 9 Weeks and a great image of the yolk sac right up against Baby’s bottom.

 

9 Weeks, 9 Weeks pregnant, pregnancy Week 9, yolk sac

Embryo – 9 Weeks

However, sometimes we are not able to obtain the yolk sac in the same image with the best view of your embryo or fetus. Check out the image of the twins’ yolk sacs below.

Yolk Sac, twins

Twins’ Yolk Sacs – Week 6

Here you can see an image below of the same scan with just the embryos shown.

6w6d Dichorionic/Diamniotic Twins, 6 Weeks pregnant, 6 Weeks, 6 Week Twins

Twins – Week 6

I will also add here that I understand how frightening and what an anxious time it is for women to try again for Baby after a pregnancy loss. No matter how early someone miscarries, it’s still a loss and emotionally draining.

When a miscarriage happens very early in one’s pregnancy, we call it nature’s way of taking care of something which was not developing properly. From a human, spiritual, or emotional viewpoint, I like to think that Baby decided he or she needed a little more time! I always say our babies come to us when they are ready, not always when we are ready for them. They have to be ready for this great big world, too!

As providers, we don’t take special pains to give you an image of the yolk sac. It’s just not as doggone cute as your Little Sprout! 🙂

You can email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com
with your questions or images, too.

 

 

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Posted on September 7th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Babies do not actually breathe in utero. They do, however, practice breathing movements.

But what are fetal breathing movements?

Fetal breathing movements is a phrase we use when we see your baby’s diaphragm involuntarily move back and forth intermittently. Now for Diaphragm 101 in case you didn’t already know! The diaphragm is essentially a sheath of muscle that separate our chest from our abdomen.

Also, it plays a key role in respiration as soon as breathing air is a necessity. When we want to take in a deep breath, our diaphragm pushes our abdominal organs down to make room for our lungs to expand and fill with air. Incredible, right? See the image below for a cross section of Baby’s belly. The diaphragm is the faint gray line between the three arrows.

fetal breathing movements, fetal diaphragm

Very often patients notice that my probe is fixed in one spot as I watch the diaphragm move. Naturally, they want to know what I’m doing and what they see moving on the monitor. When I respond that I’m watching fetal breathing movements, they usually reply with, “I didn’t know babies can breathe in there!”

And then I explain that Baby’s lungs are the last organs to mature, so a fetus cannot actually use their lungs until they’re born. Moreover, because they are surrounded by fluid, babies cannot take the fluid into their lungs. What typically follows is a sheepish, “Oh, of course. Don’t I feel dumb!” No way. Who would know if you didn’t study a fetus for a career?!

When can you see the breathing movements?

I’ve personally noticed fetal breathing movements as early as 14 Weeks, but we expect to witness them routinely from 32 Weeks. We also refer to them as respirations. These fetal breathing movements are part of the criteria to determine fetal well-being as a part of a BPP or Biophysical Profile.

Sometimes, we don’t see these movements when we expect to see them when performing a BPP. It’s often not a cause for concern. We do not expect to see continuous breathing movements while Baby lives in the warm comfort of his temporary home. Until they make their grand entrance and need to take their very first real breath, it’s only practice!

Just one more of the cool aspects of scanning your baby. 🙂 We all learn something new every day, right?

If you have a video of your baby practicing respirations on ultrasound,
I’d love to attach it to this post!
Just email it to wombviewerblog@gmail.com.

 

 

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Posted on September 4th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Pregnancy Labor Isn’t Loved By All

Don’t worry that you’re all alone in this boat. Pregnancy labor and delivery isn’t fun for every mother. Some conquer it like Wonder Woman while others vow to never go down that road again. It’s all personal and relative, and no feelings are wrong or right…just your own! 🙂

I ran into a patient of mine who recently delivered her first baby. She couldn’t wait to show her off. “She’s finally here!” She was so sweet and told me how much she loved having me as her sonographer every week. I love it! And, of course, her baby was absolutely beautiful.

She took a minute to vent about her L&D experience, of which she was NOT a fan. She said, “Nobody told me what it was REALLY going to be like. I’m never doing this again!” I laughed and expressed I was not a fan of mine, either, but that it’s different for everyone. Some people actually call it easy or loved the experience. I guess this is why some beloved souls do the pregnancy thing over and over! Well, that and they must either have really good babies or the patience of a saint. God bless the fruitful mothers, but my personal limit was two.

Moreover, they’re incredibly expensive! After diapers, extra-curricular activities, cars, insurance, and college, it all adds up to a luxury house in the end. But I digress…I love motherhood, love my kids, and I wouldn’t trade them for a thing in this world. Change that. Between the ages of two and four, I did consider either

selling my younger daughter on the black market or duct tape for her mouth. Alas, I opted for the duct tape, and (what do ya know?!) she became a hard-working, compassionate, and loving young woman.

You can read her blog post here!

pregnancy labor

We seriously have no idea where she puts all the food she consumes…

 

And for those of you who don’t know me, said daughter would be laughing hysterically at this last comment. She can attest to the lack of duct tape for discipline…though it would have been effective. If what goes around comes around, I have no doubt she’ll need it for her own kids one day!

We go through pregnancy for ourselves, our spouses, and to create that family unit for ourselves. It’s the love we put in and the love we get back that makes it worthwhile. And when our kids are bad, we stick them in a corner because we sure can’t shove them back where they came from.

I sometimes say I’ve made my contribution to Mother Earth with my twice-inhabited uterus. For my patient and many like her, it’s one and done! So many of my 3rd Tri patients begin to express anxiety at the thought of labor. It’s understandable. Every labor can be entirely different from your prior experiences, and we always fear the unknown. My advice to them?

Nature has a unique way of preparing us to take on the unknowns of labor ~
the complete exhaustion of pregnancy!

Well, that and finally seeing our babies in living color:)

3D fetal face, pregnancy labor

Happy and healthy labor and delivery, Everyone!

You can email your ultrasound and L&D stories to wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

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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!

 

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Posted on August 15th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

6 Week Ultrasound – Twins!

 

Whether one baby or more, we have great expectations for your 6 week ultrasound! Not everyone can expect to have an ultrasound at this early gestational age. If you do, however, the first thing you can expect is a transvaginal ultrasound. Yep. Babies are just too tiny as you’ll see below, so we need the magnification and better resolution of the vaginal probe.

We expect to see some pretty amazing changes brewing! This post is dedicated to 6 Week babies x 2, aka twins!

Twins at 6 Weeks

If you have followed the twin pregnancy from Week 5, this post is a continuation. Did we see two babies? Two heartbeats? YES! Yay! This was a great milestone! This is a dichorionic pregnancy, meaning both babies came from two separate eggs. This particular pregnancy produced “fraternal” twins. This, of course, means these babies can either be the same sexes or one from each camp, Teams Pink and Blue. Woohoo – that would be a fun shopping trip!

The gestational sacs at the 6 week ultrasound were still discrepant from one another. We could not explain why the gestational sac of Baby A was smaller or why that of Baby B was larger. This finding still concerned us. However, the fact that we saw two strong heartbeats and two babies who measured essentially the same were both very reassuring! See the images below for measurements of the embryos.

 

6 Weeks, 6 Weeks pregnant, twins 6 Weeks

Baby A Embryo

You’ll note here that Baby A was measuring a whopping 3.5mm!

 

6 week ultrasound

Baby B Embryo

Baby B measured about the same at 3.4mm.

 

Now check out the heart rates!

6 Weeks, 6 Weeks pregnant, twins 6 Weeks, heartbeat 6 Weeks

Baby A Heart Rate

This is the heart rate for Baby A. Note that it measures just over 100bpm which is a great start!

 

6 Weeks, 6 Weeks pregnant, 6 Weeks twins, heartbeat

Baby B Heart Rate

Baby B’s heart rate was just a tad faster at 109bpm. Both heart rates were just what we want to see – strong, steady, and rhythmic.

If you want to follow these twins, this link combines Week 7 and Week 8. You will be impressed at how much bigger they look in only one week’s time!

~*~

Best wishes for healthy, and feel free to comment below!

~You can email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com with your questions~

For your most reliable ultrasound information, subscribe here.

 

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Posted on August 13th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Ectopic Pregnancy Explained

 

An unfortunate circumstance of pregnancy, especially a desired one, is the ectopic pregnancy. In this post, I’ll talk a little about what we look for with transvaginal imaging, and how they can sometimes be extraordinarily difficult to diagnose.

What’s An Ectopic Pregnancy?

An ectopic (pronounced ek-top’-ik) pregnancy is one that is displaced. This type of pregnancy is one that implants somewhere other than within the lining of the uterus – where it’s supposed to be. An ectopic frequently occurs within the tube, commonly referred to as a tubal pregnancy. I’ve also seen them within the adnexa, usually the area between the ovary and uterus. Very rarely, a pregnancy attaches abdominally. (Rare and bizarre!)

How Do We Know to Look for an Ectopic? Your low hCG Levels

One sign that leads us to look for an ectopic with ultrasound is a very low hCG level. Now, this alone is not alarming. It is, however, when combined with other factors. Your level of hCG should essentially double every two days in a normally-progressing pregnancy. If this isn’t happening, we become concerned that your pregnancy is not a good one.

LMP Dating Doesn’t Measure Up

Many women are unsure of their LMP. Maybe their periods are very irregular. However, if your periods are like clock-work and you are very sure of the first day of your last period, not seeing a pregnancy within the uterus at a time when we would expect to see one would worry us. For example, from about Week 5 on, we would expect to at least be able to confirm the presence of a gestational sac within the endometrium (lining of the uterus). See the image below for a super-early (~4 1/2 Weeks), normal intrauterine pregnancy:

ectopic pregnancy

If You Have Pain

If the above factors come into play and you also have pain, we increasingly become concerned for the possible presence of an ectopic. Too early in your pregnancy, even with an ectopic, you may not experience pain immediately. Even if you don’t, the other factors are enough to raise an eyebrow and spark the hunt. Typically, the pain occurs on the same side as the ectopic. You may be watched very carefully and followed with blood work and serial ultrasounds until we’ve either proven or disproven the ectopic. Physicians want these patients treated as soon as possible because they can pose a serious health risk for mom.

If We See Bleeding in the Pelvis

Another characteristic of an ectopic via ultrasound is the presence of free fluid or bleeding in the pelvis. A large collection of blood can be seen around the uterus and ovaries when the ectopic starts to bleed. We tend to raise both eyebrows when we see this and all the other factors mentioned above are part of the equation. The extra fluid tends to cause an increase in pain.

If We Find an Unexplained Mass in the Adnexa or Tube

Most of the time these pregnancies present as a mass somewhere outside of uterus, usually in the tube between the uterus and ovary. Either the pregnancy implanted in the tube on its journey to the uterus or it never made it to the tube at all. In these cases, the egg was released, but the “fingers” at the end of the tube failed to catch the little guy. Most often, these masses do not look like the typical normal pregnancy. The masses can be vague and difficult to see depending where in the pelvis they are located.

If You Have a History

Moreover, your doc may consider you at an increased risk of an ectopic if you present with all the above findings and a history. Your chances of having an ectopic may increase if you also have a previous history of an ectopic pregnancy, a history of endometriosis, a history of a tubal ligation, or get pregnant with an IUD in place. This may not be a complete list of risk factors.

My Experience as a Sonographer with Ectopic Pregnancy

I have had patients in the past where we just knew she MUST have an ectopic but try as we might, we just couldn’t see it right away. After a second, third, or even fourth scan were we finally able to confirm what we suspected.

I have also had the misfortune, only a couple of times in my whole career, of finding an ectopic pregnancy with an embryo and a heartbeat. Unfortunately, these pregnancies cannot be saved. They have to implant on their own and can’t just be “placed” inside of the uterus.

These scans can prove very challenging and definitely put one’s ultrasound ability and expertise to the test. Knowing what to look for and where is the biggest piece of the puzzle for all you newbie sonographers! (Google images of ectopic pregnancies. They will definitely help you if you’ve never scanned one before.)

What To Do

As I’ve said many times before, I cannot give specific pregnancy advice. However, I can confidently advise this. If you know you are early pregnant and begin feeling pain in your pelvis or back, call your doc ASAP! They will determine how soon they want to see you!

Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy!

Please email comment below if you found this post helpful!

And, as always, you can email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com.

 

Feel free to leave your suggestions for topics you’d like me to address
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Posted on July 25th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

The Ultrasound Bladder Prep
~ What Is It?

 

To drink or not to drink! That is the dilemma, and the facility performing your test has the answer to your ultrasound preparation questions. Being required to fill your bladder depends on a few factors…how far along you are if you’re pregnant, the type of ultrasound exam performed, and the protocols of your doc’s office, hospital, or out-patient center where the ultrasound will be conducted. The protocol or policy for how to conduct your test varies from place to place.

I know what you might be thinking. Every site says something different. You’ll find the most comprehensive info here. Why? Because I performed these tests for years. The info here is accurate, and reflects most all scenarios. However, at the end of the day, the facility where the exam will be performed should be able to tell you exactly what ultrasound preparation they want you to follow. And only what they say matters!

The Prep

The dreaded bladder prep may vary a little from one place to the next, but goes something like this:

 

  • Empty your bladder 1.5 hours prior to your exam
  • Drink 32ozs of fluid (preferably nothing carbonated) within 30 minutes
  • Have all fluid down 1 hour prior to your exam
  • Do not pee until exam is complete! 😩😵

 

To clarify, let’s say your appointment is 10am. You will pee at 8:30am, drink from 8:30 to 9am, and have all the water down by 9. Most bladders require the full hour to fill completely. Do not pee before your appointment time! This action, of course, defeats the whole purpose for drinking, but you would be suprised at how many do.

Will you feel like you have to pee before this hour is up? Oh, yes ma’am! Not many people allow their bladders to fill to this capacity before they feel the urge to tinkle. It might very well feel like the L O N G E S T hour of your life. Don’t even look at one of these 🚽, or listen to this 🚰 or this 🚿. I promise. You won’t be happy if you do!

There is a bit of good news to all this. Once full, the exam (for a very experienced sonographer) is pretty quick…5-10 minutes in most easy-to-see negative cases.

But Why a Full Bladder?

ultrasound preparation

Full bladder pelvic ultrasound

Blame the laws of Ultrasound Physics for this one. Sound waves travel more easily through fluid than tissue. Think of your pelvic anatomy from front to back. First is skin, then fat, then muscle, then intestines or bowel, then your bladder. Your uterus sits behind your bladder. So, if you drink lots of water and fully distend your bladder, it provides a window to the uterus. Also, your bowel contains air and gas which can limit what we see. Filling your bladder pushes the intestines aside. It’s actually kinda cool, but not so much if you’re the one doing the drinking.

Additionally, the uterus of most women tilts forward (anteverted) or toward the front of your belly. Filling the bladder aids in pushing the uterus backward a little – not up or higher, as I’ve read in some pregnancy books or sites. When the top of the uterus tilts back a little, a better angle is created to see more clearly. Occasionally, a uterus decides to go rogue and tilts too far backward instead (retroverted). Sometimes it tilts so far back that it folds over on itself (retroflexed). This is a totally normal variant. Often, however, the full bladder only helps minimally in these circumstances.

Transvaginal Ultrasound (Endovaginal) Approach

TV probe, how much water to drink for your ultrasound

 

Whether you are pregnant or not, the rules are the same for a transvaginal ultrasound exam. An empty bladder is required. The TV provides a more magnified view, so a full bladder just gets in the way. Inside the vagina, the probe is closer to your organs allowing us to see them more clearly. AND we don’t have to fight to see past your bowel like we do with the belly approach.

If you’re early in your first trimester, usually less than 11 or 12 Weeks, you will (9 times out of 10) have a TV. This is, BY FAR, the best way to see so early because Baby is so tiny. If your uterus is enlarged with fibroids (very common muscle tumors), your sonographer may try to scan you with TV first. However, if your uterus is too large to see well with the TV probe, she may end up attempting the abdominal approach. If this happens, you may or may not need to drink. Quite often, we can see what we need without making you drink an ocean of fluids.

I can’t speak for all private practices, but we only required a bladder prep for some GYN studies. Only those who were not sexually active or refused the TV exam needed to fill!

Trans-Abdominal Approach

In most hospitals and out-patient imaging centers, you’re going to be drinking, sister! Your exam is typically read by a radiologist in these facilities.

Most of the time, radiologists are of the mindset that certain anatomy will be better seen with a full bladder EVERY time and on EVERY patient. This isn’t necessarily true, but most of these docs want to start with a full bladder first. Commonly, they’ll have you empty for a vaginal scan if they want a better look. To be fair, I haven’t worked in the hospital setting in 15 years. Maybe they’ve adopted more modern policies! If they haven’t, they should.

Filling the bladder has long been the standard practice, and radiologists are set in their ways (sorry, guys, you know you are!). They like to start with a full bladder, but the experienced sonographer knows how best to scan to obtain the images needed. I think the protocol should be opposite…TV first and only make the patient fill if absolutely needed! Unfortunately, I don’t make their rules.

Many of these places will also still require you to fill for your anatomy scan at 18-20 Weeks or even for ultrasound exams in the 3rd Trimester. In my opinion, that’s just pure evil. Expectant moms have enough pressure on their bladders as it is! A little fluid in the bladder may help us to evaluate the cervix. But most patients have a little fluid in there anyway. In cases where the cervix isn’t seen well, our friend, the TV probe, is called to action.

Cons to Filling the Bladder

  • Elderly patients (for GYN exams) have a hard time holding their urine
  • Most OB patients have a problem holding it due to pressure from Baby
  • Drinking the water too fast often causes the patient to vomit it right back up!
  • Many do not follow the ultrasound preparation properly. They either do not drink enough water, they don’t have it down in time, they drink more than they needed which results in over-filling the bladder, or they drink all the water then pee right before the exam
  • Not following the prep usually results in drinking more fluid or being rescheduled
  • Some say they weren’t given a prep
  • Sometimes schedulers really do forget to provide the instructions
  • Some patients are dehydrated, so the fluid tends to go where it’s needed and not the bladder
  • But most importantly, it’s MISERABLY painful for the patient!!

 

In my opinion, the cons far outweigh the pros for drinking water for an ultrasound exam. However, your facility could care less what I think and dictates what ultrasound preparation they want you to do for your test! Being able to pee when you want is a luxury. You just don’t realize it until somebody tells you that you can’t! When in doubt, ask if you’re free to pee!

Best wishes for a healthy sonogram (with no bladder prep!)

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to comment or email me with
your questions at wombviewerblog@gmail.com.

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Posted on July 18th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

The Ultrasound is Radiation
Misconception

First, let me help some of you moms out there relax right off the bat. This is a complete myth, rumor, or misconception. Anyone who has studied ultrasound, as well as every physician, engineer, and manufacturing company in relation to the technology can attest that ultrasound is most definitely not radiation. Those who have conducted biohazard testing in the field over the past forty years can do the same.

Despite what you may have read or heard, regardless of where, this is a total falsehood. Read more about it here below! And please do not let this scare you away from your diagnostic scans.

What Exactly is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is just that. Ultra Sound, or sound waves that work at a frequency far beyond human hearing. Like a fish-finder one might use on a boat. Or sonar used by the military. Human hearing ranges from about 20Hz (Hertz) to 20,000Hz (or 20kHz). When it comes to creating an ultrasound image, we work in the MHz range or millions of Hertz. An OB probe ranges from about 2MHz – 13MHz.

Ultrasound is a department of Radiology within a hospital, but it does not emit radiation.

Someone Is Spreading the Wealth

The heading is meant to be facetious. Unfortunately, someone is spreading only fear and proliferating ultrasound misinformation. Apparently, she is also someone who hasn’t done her homework. I was floored recently while doing research for my book when I came across a very popular pregnancy book (which will remain nameless) who actually wrote that ultrasound is radiation. If you have read this book, you know who I am referencing here.

She also claims that the Doppler used by physicians to obtain heart tones emits more radiation than scanning equipment! Wrong again, Doppler is ultrasound.

How does this happen? After all, she supposedly had the help of “knowledgeable” medical resources to write the book. Are they the only healthcare providers on the planet who don’t know Ultrasound is not X-Ray? And if not, why not?

I am unaware if this author has since recanted her falsehood. If she did, I give her credit. If not, she owes an explanation and apology to her faithful readers and social media followers. She is incorrectly influencing millions of parents-to-be with this misinformation, and it’s not okay. She is adding needless fuel to the fire, and moms worry about enough as it is.

Additionally, she then goes on to advise moms to only have an ultrasound if they really want one but to not have more than they need. To me, this begs the question…is it radiation or is it okay?

I would like to think she did not intentionally mislead her readership. But as a published author, ignorance is no excuse.

What is Radiation?

It is a transfer of energy that also travels in waves. For example, radiation is found in light from the sun, microwaves, and X-Rays. But not sound waves. And, yes, exposure to radiation can cause cancer. One example is skin cancer from too much sun exposure.

Consider this. When you go to the dentist, what is the first thing asked of any woman? “Is it possible you might be pregnant?” If the answer is “Yes” or “I’m not sure,” they shield your belly to protect Baby from the minuscule dose of radiation from the super quick X-Ray of your teeth.

If an obstetrician’s job is to manage the health and care of Mother and Baby, and it is, why then would docs expose their patients directly to radiation? And what about sonographers? We all would be directly exposed numerous times a day, every week for the duration of our careers. None of us, patients nor sonographers times decades, have died from cancer due to ultrasound exposure.

Is Ultrasound Safe?

So far, with the prudent use of commercial technology, there have been no known bioeffects on the fetus, mother, or sonographer. Biohazard testing over decades has demonstrated the creation of heat in fetal tissues during higher than recommended settings and extended scanning times. The long-term effects are still being studied. Therefore, it is the feeling of ACOG (the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ACR (American College of Radiology), and the AIUM (American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine) that the benefits outweigh the risk, and they justify the use of ultrasound only for diagnostic purposes.

They do not endorse the private entertainment ultrasound scan in the strip mall near you. These facilities are not regulated to maintain the same standards as medical practices for patient safety. They are not required to hire formally-trained and credentialled sonographers or to properly clean or maintain ultrasound probes or equipment. Be sure to do your research prior to scheduling your appointment in one of these facilities!

My Two Cents

One of the reasons I started this blog five years ago is because patients were misinformed – by Dr. Google, family, or friends. I expect as much from a random non-medical blogger, and I became even more enraged to find misinformation doled out on popular pregnancy sites. But in a published book? Unforgivable.

It’s one thing to express one’s opinion. But when you’re making tons of money by persuading expectant moms to adopt your line of thinking, you have the responsibility to get your info right. No one says anyone has to be a fan of ultrasound. And as a mom, you have the right to decline. Before you do so, speak with your provider. You need only to understand your choice. Any mom who ever delivered a baby with serious problems was happy to know about it in advance for planning and educational, emotional, and delivery purposes. This, in fact, is the purpose of obstetric ultrasound.

And if you’re all about moms and choices, and those choices are power? The power only comes from a parent who makes an informed choice, not one based on misinformation. It is my wish and goal to simply and accurately explain ultrasound for moms-to-be and stamp out the misconceptions. Understanding is also power:)

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and informed pregnancy!

As always, thanks for reading!

Please feel free to email your comments or questions to me
at wombviewerblog@gmail.com.

 

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Posted on July 5th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Baby Gender ~
How Do We Know?

 

Determining baby gender by ultrasound is not as easy a task as most think. Actually, gender misconceptions pertaining to ultrasound are so common that I thought it worthy of yet another post.

Making a male vs female determination requires far more expertise than just sticking probe to belly. And babies do not just automatically cooperate! Baby’s legs need to be wide open and other parts cannot be covering over external genitalia. If so, the chances of holding that “reveal” party are slim to none.

Another common misconception is that we can force Baby to move. I promise you that every sonographer on earth would use a magical “make Baby flip” button. A girl can a dream, but I think this technology lies in our distant future. Unfortunately, babies get comfy and only move into another position if they get the urge. And not a moment sooner!

Determining sex accurately is all about angles. Being far enough along with Baby in the right position is only part of the task…when I’m the one scanning, that is! Most of my emails come from people who want a second opinion. However, most of the time, it’s one I cannot give! Either Baby is too early or the image it’s just plain, well…terrible. In these scenarios, the truth is I just can’t comment on what I can’t see.

Most sonographers don’t mind telling you your baby’s sex, by the way! The problem for us comes when we can’t see what our patients want to know. Even if we explain all the reasons, patients sometimes become upset or angry. I have scanned tens of thousands of babies. Anyone who has scanned as much can recognize when gender is obtainable and when it isn’t.

Tips For Your Baby Gender Ultrasound

So, here are a few recommendations for you to follow before your next ultrasound. No guarantees! But if you are busting at the seams to find out what you’re having, these tips just might work!

  • Try eating or drinking something about 30 minutes prior to the exam. Baby typically becomes more active after eating. Now, I’m not condoning a double espresso and Snickers combo (yummy, yes; smart, no). We don’t want your fetus launching into orbit. Instead, try enjoying a hearty and healthy lunch or breakfast prior to your scan.
  • Keep an open mind! Understand that not seeing the sex is definitely a real possibility. Whatever you do, not planning a gender reveal party for the same day is a smart idea.
  • Don’t shoot the messenger! In other words, your sonographer can only tell you what she sees. If that is an uncooperative fetus or if visualization is poor, she may not want to risk a guess. Remember, that you want an accurate guess, not just any guess. Most importantly, an experienced sonographer knows when not to guess. I so hate it for parents when they get excited about one sex, only to discover differently on a future scan!

Believe me! We would love to do our part to help you plan your party, shop for baby clothes, or decorate a nursery. It’s the most fun when we can! And when we cannot, it’s a real bummer – for you, because you leave disappointed and for us, because we’re (sometimes) blamed as the party poopers.

Textbook Baby Gender Images

I’ve posted these before, but below are a couple of really great images of external genitalia, first boy then girl.

male baby gender determination ultrasound

male fetal sex, around 28 Weeks

female baby gender determination ultrasound

female fetal sex, mid-second trimester

Also, if you send an email asking for a second opinion earlier than 18 Weeks, you may receive the links below to other posts containing very easy, no-mistake pics of boys and girls!

Female Gender Scan

16 Week Ultrasound

Boy vs Girl Ultrasound

Twin Gender Ultrasound

3rd Trimester Ultrasound – Male

Thanks for reading!

You can email me with your comments at wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

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Posted on July 1st, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Pregnancy Wives’ Tales – Are They True?

We’ve all heard them – pregnancy wives’ tales. As a result, maybe you’ve Googled your fingers to the bone researching them. What wives’ tales do you have to share? I’ve heard them all and can say that NO one tale is consistently true! However, you can’t make your grandmother believe it.

So, let’s address a few of the old wives’ tales patients asked me about the most!

The Chinese Birth Chart

Nope, not even this. The Chinese are responsible for some really delicious egg rolls, but I’m afraid their birth chart is not 100% accurate. What I do believe, however, is that I could probably eat fried rice every day of my life. 🙂

The ring or needle test can determine gender and number of kids you will have…

FALSE, but it is still fun to play. If you’re not familiar, you string a piece of thread through the eye of a needle or your wedding ring. Hang it over your belly, holding it by the string end. If the ring or needle moves back and forth in a line, you are carrying a boy. A circular motion means your baby is a girl. The number of different patterns of movement is supposed to define the number of kids you’ll have. Mine was wrong and right. It determined I would have two kids, the first a boy and second a girl. I had two girls.

So, I wonder. How is a destiny of seven daughters determined? Does the needle just make an infinite circle pattern for seven minutes? Hmm…

The Drano test can determine sex…

FALSE! I have no idea where this originated, and I can’t even recall what means boy or girl. It just seems the Drano was supposed to change color for one sex and stay the same for the other. What I do know is this. Don’t do it! This drain unclogger should not come in contact with your skin and can also cause some caustic fumes which could be harmful to you and your baby.

Experiencing heartburn determines whether your baby will have hair…

FALSE! Lots of patients with heartburn have bald babies and vice versa. Women often begin to feel the effects of some serious heartburn later in the 3rd Trimester. This is typically because your uterus is growing up as well as out! This puts pressure on your poor stomach, so it has much less space than normal. You feel full sooner when eating, and that pressure causes our much-dreaded indigestion. I remember all too well that Tums turned into a staple of my daily diet with both my girls. Unfortunately, the egg rolls didn’t work.

With ultrasound, hair can be easily seen at the nape of your baby’s neck as long as there is a good pocket of fluid there. If so, it’s pretty funny to watch it float when pushing on Mom’s belly, especially if it is long and thick! Ask your sonographer if your baby’s head is in a good position to see if your baby will have a wig full of hair at birth!

How you “carry” signifies whether you will have a boy or girl…

TRIPLE FALSE! Most noteworthy, I’ve encountered this one most often. I don’t know whoever decided to link these two things together, but they could not be more unrelated. How you carry has more to do with your stature, torso length, belly size, and whether you’ve done this before. The more pregnancies you carry, the weaker the muscle tone becomes. Of course, everyone is different, but Baby may feel a little lower with each pregnancy. And last time I checked, the lucky little swimmer who made it to your egg first still has final say!

You can determine Baby’s sex by which side your placenta is implanted, left vs right…

Hmm, this is something I started being asked about within the past couple of years ~ the Ramzi Theory, named after the guy behind. However, it’s been disproven. Furthermore, the placenta can implant anywhere in the uterus. The most common position is posterior, or along the back side of the uterus.

But what about the placenta on the front side of the uterus (anterior)? Or along the top (fundal)? What about the complete previa (covering the cervix and bottom of the uterus)? And there are all sorts of variations of placental location in between — meaning they can be a combo of two or more locations. My advice is not to rely on this one!

The Nub Theory

pregnancy

12 Week Female Fetus

While this one is not so much a wives’ tale, it has been getting lots of hype lately, so I’ll address it. Basically, at about 12 Weeks, external genitalia either sticks up, if a boy, or out, if a girl. The angles and skill of the sonographer as well as Baby’s position all factor into this appearance and guess. You can read more about the Nub Theory here.

At the end of the day, this theory is only about 73% accurate. Personally, I wouldn’t paint a nursery based on 70ish percent…but that’s just me.

A Local Favorite Pregnancy Myth

My mother always swore by this one, and her deep Sicilian roots tell her it’s true. Her little old Sicilian friend down the street, Mrs. Camilla, predicted every one of her children’s and grandchildren’s sexes…by the moon. Mom doesn’t know a thing about her methods, just that she got it right every time. There’s simply no arguing with a sixth sense, right? Or a Sicilian mother. Take my word for it. Don’t waste your breath. Don’t even try. 😉

***

Right, wrong, or indifferent…share your own experiences with pregnancy wives’ tales and funny stories here! I’d love to read about them and, so would other moms. Just email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

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Posted on June 28th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Email Your Ultrasound Images!

ultrasound images

3rd Trimester Feet!

Got Some Precious Ultrasound Images?

Okay, so what do all you moms-to-be out there do before Baby gets here? Show off your great ultrasound images, right?!

Well, I’d love to see them, too. Email me those shots near and dear to your heart to wombviewerblog@gmail.com, and show off your little punkin’ to the world at the same time. Baby’s face, profile, 2D, 3D, hands, feet, or even your 4D video clips would all be perfect to post. And if you also have great shots of male or female fetal sex, send those, too!

I’ve personally taken some really great pics over the years. Baby yawning, sticking out the tongue, puckering those lips, and even flipping the bird! Who doesn’t love a cute set of baby toes? How about a ton of hair? If you got it, flaunt it! We moms like to brag on our cute kids, so it may as well start before they even get here.

(Full disclosure! Uploading your images means you consent to my using them for promotion of my blog or future books. As always, I keep your privacy private omitting all identifying info. Can’t wait to see them!)

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Posted on June 23rd, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Ultrasound Gender Determination ~
Pink or Blue?

 

Ultrasound gender determination can be tricky! Especially too early in pregnancy. Or any time they just won’t cooperate!

gender determination

Female Gender 16 Weeks

male gender, 16 Weeks pregnant

Male Gender 16 Weeks

 

How many times have all you moms out there, young and old, heard the story that goes, “They told her it was a ‘this,’ and they decorated an entire nursery, and it came out a ‘that’! Those ultrasounds are wrong sometimes, ya know!”

A dollar for every one of those comments would buy me my dream cottage on the Amalfi coast! However, I understand why this happens, and sonographers everywhere need to apply more discretion. First of all, you may already know that it’s not the machine that’s wrong. The sonographer or observer scanning you evaluates what she (or he) sees and determines Baby’s sex. The whole process is entirely subjective! And inexperience sometimes causes sonographers to excitedly guess or, otherwise, cave to the pressure from anxious parents. Unfortunately, sometimes guess incorrectly.

Advice Regarding Gender Determination for the New Sonographer

First rule of thumb for any newbie sonographer out there…don’t guess! Don’t put a percentage on your guess, and don’t say “I think.” Also, don’t say “It kinda looks like ‘this,’ but let’s wait until next time.” Parents may want you to guess, but they also want you to be right! Just a word of caution here – some patients may become upset with you if you don’t guess. But if you’ve exhausted your bag of tricks and you still are not sure of what you are seeing, you owe it to the patient to explain this. It’s something you have no control to change, and you would rather they not become attached to the wrong sex. Hopefully, they will understand!

Psychologically and emotionally speaking, most parents start to really become attached to one sex or the other. They begin to envision the first dance recital or baseball game by the time the next ultrasound exam rolls around. On more than a few occasions in my career, someone else guessed incorrectly (usually, too early!), and I had to be the bearer of bad news. After witnessing the affects of “mistaken identity” (shock, anger, tears, sadness, guilt), I adopted a personal policy long ago to only offer a guess when parts were obvious. In other words, Baby had to be in a great position to easily see a penis and scrotum or labia/clitoris. Even though my policy upset a number of my patients in the past, I truly believe refraining from tossing out any old guess is in their best interest and can save them some heartache later.

True Story!

One grandmother, so excited by the doctor’s early guess, flew right out and bought thirty-two dresses! Yep, 32. She did so despite the doc’s warning about his level of confidence and told her to wait for the sonogram with me. Fortunately, he got lucky with his baby girl guess, and grandma was a very happy woman (and a little less rich)! However, you can imagine the disappointment in returning all those frilly frocks if doc was wrong. I always hated giving such news!

Please, all you excited moms-to-be, remember your sonographer doesn’t withhold information about fetal sex just because! We’d actually really rather all our babies cooperate quickly and easily! It’s such a bummer for us both when they won’t. You can’t plan all the fun things you imagined you could. Shopping, party planning… And believe me, I always preferred when my patients left my room hugging me instead of cursing my existence. A magic trick to make Baby flip on command? It’s too bad we aren’t bestowed with super powers upon certification!

 

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Posted on June 7th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

The Myth of Early Fetal Sex Determination

As a sonographer of many years, I know that ultrasound is subjective, but expectant moms seem to continue to be surprised by incorrect early fetal sex determination. And I seem to be receiving more and more emails about this ever-growing problem. Nothing makes me angrier than when another sonographer tries too early to hand out a sex guess! I get angrier still when some businesses make this promise as a marketing ploy.

It just isn’t fair to the patient or customer. I feel these facilities take advantage of pregnant anxious moms who have a desire to know the sex of their baby as soon as possible. After all, it is one of the most anticipated events in pregnancy! However, these mothers-to-be wouldn’t spend their money on an ultrasound if 3D non-medical businesses didn’t exploit that desire. They advertise a promise or guarantee for early fetal sex determination at 12+ Weeks! So, what is the public to believe except that they can deliver on that promise? The truth is they know it’s only a guess. If they guess right, they got lucky. If they guess wrong…oh, well. Here’s some of your money back.

I think developments in the technology have yielded a little too much ambitious guessing in the fetal sex department. Resolution has improved so greatly over the years that we see better than ever with the most modern equipment. But just because we can see “a little something” sticking out, in no way or shape or form, means you’ll be investing in blue paint.

I want to educate every fertile, human-growing woman or parent-to-be out there that even the best ultrasound equipment on the planet cannot differentiate a boy from a girl. To this day, determination of sex is still dependent on the experience and skill of the person holding that probe to your belly. But also know that a sonographer’s skill doesn’t mean squat when external genitalia has just begun to grow. It’s anyone’s guess!

We have all heard a similar story. A customer pays for an early scan and is told one sex. “Congratulations! I’m 100% sure!” Lo and behold! At the mid-pregnancy anatomy screen (or later), the penis has magically fallen off and now all the sailboat motif and cute suspenders have to go back. Or vice versa. The question I always get is, “How did this happen???”

 

Loads of Room for Error

So, just how DID this happen?

Easy. It’s the scanning observer’s opinion, but it’s still just a guess. You assume he or she is experienced in making this determination…maybe, maybe not. Especially when this person displays such confidence in his/her guess, you feel sure that they must be correct in their guess. But it doesn’t mean they are; they can still be very confidently and entirely…wrong.

This is why!

External genitalia is just starting to develop later in the first trimester, and it will continue to morph and change in appearance over the next several weeks. All babies have a little something sticking out at 12 Weeks. But if Baby is a girl, that tissue will shrink and become recognized as a clitoris later on, with labia seen on each side. If a boy, this part grows a little larger and becomes a penis. The scrotal sac develops over the next few weeks but is still quite small. And we cannot see testicles until somewhere around 28 Weeks (or maybe slightly earlier).

 

The Nub Theory?

early fetal sex determination

12 Week Fetus

Most readers ask if this test has any validity. The answer is “some.” If (and, again, subjectivity comes into play here), if an observer knows what fetal angle to obtain and how to read the angle of the nub, you might have a 70% accurate guess. But that’s a few IFs. The observer also has to know when the angle is equivocal, meaning the protruding part is not one way or the other but somewhere in-between. In these cases, a guess cannot be made. Keep in mind here that even if the angle is perfect, there is still a ~30% chance of an incorrect guess! In other words, it’s not a hugely reliable predictor.

 

So, What’s the Best Advice?

Later is better! Wait for your mid-pregnancy anatomy screen at 18 – 20 Weeks. Below are great images of typical and normal-appearing external genitalia of each sex at this age:

male gender, 2nd Trimester

Male Fetus

female gender, 2nd Trimester

Female Fetus

If Baby isn’t cooperating, don’t put the heat on your sonographer to guess anyway. Part of a good sonographer’s job is also to know when NOT to guess.

The truth is that no one should be providing a guess for sex determination much earlier than this in pregnancy, especially for a fee. And certainly not with a 100% positivity attached.

Just because someone says she is 100% sure, doesn’t mean she is right.

Business is business. As long as parents will pay for it, someone will take your money and offer a guess. This is the unfortunate bottom line in the non-medical ultrasound business. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to one of these places. Maybe you just want to see a heartbeat and bond. This is understandable. But I caution you to pay for fetal sex determination earlier than 18 Weeks.

Advice Regarding Early Fetal Sex Determination

All you moms who are thinking about paying for an early scan at a strip mall near you (or anywhere!), please first consider the above info. It might just save you a few bucks and some disappointment later. Alternatively, if you are the kind of person who can remain entirely neutral about any sex guess and just want to have some fun watching Baby move, go for it. Have a blast.

The biggest issue here is our own nagging, relentless, compelling need to know as soon as possible. But more of the same will keep happening. Businesses won’t quit selling early fetal sex determination as long as pregnant moms are buying. Let’s pass the word around, ladies. Just don’t buy what they’re selling!

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Posted on April 29th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Diagnostic Ultrasound In a Nutshell

Ever wonder about what us sonographers really do when we perform your sonogram? Or why your paperwork called your exam a “diagnostic ultrasound?”

What Does Diagnostic Mean?

Anything “diagnostic” describes a test performed to try to find a problem. So, diagnostic ultrasound is ordered to rule out problems in pregnancy for Mom and Baby. Most people are very familiar with ultrasound but most consider it a fun and exciting event allowing you to see your baby and determine gender. And, yep, it can be all those things. However, first and foremost, ultrasound is a very important diagnostic tool used by your doctor to find structural abnormalities, follow fetal growth, and determine multiples. And this only scratches the surface!

What Do We Look For?

In a nutshell, my job requires me to document what I see and to make a report about it. More intricately speaking, I have to document with images and measurements everything I can see relative to fetal and maternal anatomy. Of course, what I can see and need to document all depends on how far along you are–your gestational age. Once I write a detailed report, I can present a complete ultrasound picture of your case to your physician.

What Things Can I See on Mom?

A few organs and measurements we try to see on mom are as follows:

  • The uterus and some types of pathology (like fibroids which are muscular tumors and very common)
  • The ovaries (those become obscured later as the uterus gets larger)
  • The cervix, which holds in the pregnancy and is sometimes observed for length in the 2nd trimester

What Things Can I See on Baby?

What parts we can see on Baby varies greatly depending on your gestational age. But a few things we look for are:

  • Baby’s size, to determine age or follow growth
  • Internal organs, depending on age, include the brain, heart, stomach, bladder and kidneys
  • Upper and lower extremities (arms and legs), again, depending on age. We try to see fingers and toes on your anatomy screen, but they can be a challenge–especially if the fists are closed in a ball.
  • Baby’s spine
  • Baby’s umbilical cord
  • The placenta and where it’s located
  • And last but not least! Maybe, possibly, if all the stars align and Baby cooperates, you just might be able to find out fetal sex.

How Does It Work?

Ultrasound is just that…sound waves which operate at a frequency far beyond human hearing. Ultrasound is not radiation. Sound waves, much like a fish finder, are sent from crystals in the transducer (the probe placed in the vagina or rubbed on your belly) and transmitted with the help of the ultrasound gel. The waves penetrate the tissues directly below the probe until they reach Baby. They bounce back and create the image you see on the monitor. Factors like the size of the patient and fetal position can limit what parts we see and how well we can see them on the examination.

Additionally, many other diagnostic ultrasound examinations are performed on various other parts of the body, as well. Ultrasound is THE most technologist-dependent modality there is. This means the machine does nothing without someone operating it. This precisely explains why some mamas receive a “baby girl” guess only to discover a little wee wee later on in the pregnancy. If the operator, or person holding the probe, lacks experience scanning fetal sex–oops!–wrong guess. And we’ve ALL heard those stories, haven’t we?!

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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! 

 

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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!

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Posted on January 16th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Your Week 10 Ultrasound ~
How Big is Your Baby Now?

 

10 week ultrasound, week 10 ultrasound, week 10 fetus, week by week pregnancy

10 Week Fetus

Congratulations! Your baby has a new name. After so much hard work as an embryo, Baby is now a fetus. Wow, already excelling in so many ways. So, without further ado, let me introduce your fetus and what you can expect to see during a Week 10 ultrasound examination.

If you recall, the start of Week 9 has Baby’s CRL measuring around one inch and 10w2d (above). He or she is about 3.4cm (2.5 cm = 1 inch). This means your little nugget is still not quite two inches from its large-appearing head to its teeny weeny bottom. Baby’s forehead still appears quite prominent and facial features are still quite limited. If we can obtain an absolutely perfect side view of Baby, you can appreciate a profile including the tiniest of noses and lips. Of course, arms and legs are longer and feet are barely appreciated.

Just a note of caution here! You will likely still have the dreaded vaginal ultrasound at this point. I know, I know. Stirrups are never fun. But the image obtained with this method still yields the best quality for Baby’s peanut size. This is part of our job–utilizing whatever method is going to produce the best image.

You are in for a show, Mom. Your baby can look like quite the jumping bean at this point. It’s entirely possible Baby might not move at all during your scan, but they do demonstrate periods of stillness combined with periods of crazy movement. Don’t be alarmed if your baby is very still and quiet during your scan, especially if your scan is super quick.

Only four more weeks until you reach the second trimester! Exciting stuff. 🙂 Wanna check out Week 11 right now? Click here.

Got more questions about fetal ultrasound? Great! Email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com.

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Posted on March 12th, 2016 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Everyone wants a healthy baby. It’s something we, as humans, take for granted unless we know of someone who experienced the misfortune of having a child with problems. Anyone who has ever come up against the discovery of a fetal abnormality on ultrasound can relate to the devastating feeling of receiving the news. No matter how insignificant the issue, even if your physician wasn’t worried, you sure were.

If a patient does not have a medical background, or if not one in OB, the incomplete understanding of what was seen can feel torturous. Moreover, the lack of a definitive diagnosis and waiting on more appointments and tests and results only adds to the anxiety. Sometimes the testing leads to a distressing diagnosis of a baby with life-long complications, a structural malformation requiring surgery after birth, or a syndrome that is not compatible with life. These are some of the most dreaded words an expectant mom can hear from her care-giver.

Why a Referral?

Sometimes, things we see may be cause for concern enough to warrant a referral to Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM). This way, a perinatologist (high-risk OB doc) can determine the nature or severity of a problem. They may know exactly what is seen, what to call it, and how to follow it. For those who are very lucky, following a concern for period of time results in resolution of the problem. Hallelujah! Your constant companions, Worry and Anxiety, get kicked to the curb! You feel you can finally exhale, breathe again! No longer do you spend your days contemplating the what-ifs of your pregnancy, your newborn’s life, or how it might impact the lives of your whole family. You can finally get some well-deserved sleep and actually enjoy things like your baby shower, decorating the nursery, or filling the closet with precious miniature clothing.

When Some Don’t Feel Relief

Some patients, unfortunately, never experience the “hallelujah” moment. One of my patient’s some time ago (with a new pregnancy) complained about the extent that her doctors followed one of her previous pregnancies for a suspected problem. A mass appeared on ultrasound in her baby’s abdomen. The area, surveyed for months, spontaneously resolved. Her physician’s could never explain it nor was there any reason for them to see her again. As a result, MFM released her back to the care of her regular OB physician. Though she may have felt relief, her  annoyance with the situation trumped any other emotion. Her impression reeked of disdain, not of “prayers answered” or “great fortune” or “blessings galore bestowed.”

Her only comments were “what a total waste of time it was…months of anxiety and follow-ups for nothing.” This may be an understandable reaction. No one wants a problem to continue or progress to the point it requires surgical intervention at birth. Most patients express appreciation or gratitude; a few, without the ability to see the bigger picture, feel only anger at the diagnosis. They endured inconvenience by a number of doctor’s visits and suffered worry for “no reason.” If providers could magically know in advance whether everything we see will or won’t be a problem, it sure would create a lot less stress for our patients and their docs who manage their care.

A Sonographer’s Job

The scope of a sonographer’s job is to look for and find abnormalities, big and small. And there have been many occasions when my great partner sonographers found something others may have missed. I’m sure this patient ultimately felt relief that her baby was healthy; I hope looking back, she realizes the opposite result of her frustration would have been far worse. Potentially, she may have felt differently if she spoke with someone who didn’t get the good news she did – like maybe the patient whose baby had three barely identifiable heart chambers instead of four. She needed three surgeries in her short little life…one at birth and two more before she turned three.

Ultimately, we are in this field to help everyone. Regrettably, some can’t appreciate the extent, reach, or purpose of the work we do to help them. This particular patient also complained that she couldn’t bring in ten people during her exam, that no one could talk on the phone or video the exam, and that we didn’t give her enough keepsake images. I’ve learned we can’t make everyone happy! Doesn’t this realization apply to just about every facet of life? Career-wise and personally-speaking?

Diagnostic ultrasound aids a physician in finding a problem. In so doing, a physician can better manage the health of mother and baby to prepare for a safer delivery. Also, she/he can prepare the family through education for the challenges that lie ahead.

What’s the Answer?

Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball in medicine. All we can do is our job, which is to find a problem. At the end of the day, I will always prefer to catch an abnormality than to miss one. And we are always over-the-moon ecstatic when we find a potential problem turned out to be nothing! Life is all about perspective, isn’t it? We can either take up residence in the victim mentality or be thankful for the blessings in our lives.

Here’s sending you blessings and well-wishes that your diagnosis turns out to be nothing, too!

You can send your comments, images, stories, and questions to me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

Thanks for reading!

 

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Posted on January 20th, 2016 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Embryonic Movement at 9 Weeks!

In the embryonic movement department, what a difference a week makes! Your baby is still an embryo at 9 Weeks, but he/she only has one week to go before “fetus” status at Week 10!

When is the Earliest Detectable Embryonic Movement?

How early can we detect your baby’s movement with ultrasound? The earliest signs are typically seen around 8 Weeks of gestational age. Baby, who is only about 15mm now, starts to demonstrate the slightest intermittent wiggle. It may very well be hard to catch, but your sonographer can possibly show you with stillness and a little patience! Of course, transvaginal imaging is by far the best way to see this early in most everyone due to its magnification.

9 Weeks is an entirely different story! Below is an image of an embryo at 9 Weeks taken with transvaginal imaging. Baby is right about one whole inch now, and tiny arm and leg buds can be seen slightly larger than just the week before!

embryonic movement at 9 weeks

 

Now, below is a video of embryonic movement which is quite entertaining of this same little tidbit breakin’ it down! Shall we dance?! She (or he) is making up a jazzy little tap routine right before our eyes. Just click the link below to watch her go!

Embryo Movement 9 Weeks

Isn’t the degree of movement incredible? Of course, none of it is well-thought-out choreography but is instead the nervous system hard at work. What an amazing work of art we are:)

Leave your comments below if you found this post helpful or even entertaining!

You can email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com to ask your ultrasound questions and subscribe for more ultrasound images and video!

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Posted on December 30th, 2015 by wombwithaviewblog.com

One hormonal mama (self-proclaimed) wrote me to ask about The Nub Theory. If you want to know all about it, too, read on!

Mom’s Email Regarding The Nub Theory

hormonal mama:  Hello!! 🙂 I just wanted to let you know that your blog has been a complete saviour to me and my sanity over the past few nights. It is brilliant and informative and just what I needed in my hormonal state.

I have one question that I have been searching the web for a definitive answer to, and I was hoping you could shed some much needed light.

We had our 12 Week NT scan, and the US machine seemed to be a LOT better than the photos I have seen posted, videos I have watched, etc. We could see extraordinary detail of the baby. The sonographer was checking all the usual parts and suddenly without warning he showed us the perfect potty shot (I was 12w1d). Now I know from reading that people say they all look the same at this stage. But what I cannot get over was how much the image showed a perfect little penis poking out the top of a round bulbous structure.

I’ve googled and you-tubed 12 Week girl vs boy potty shots, and I just cannot get a girl scan that looks like an actual penis.

I’m clinging to the smallest shred of hope that I may still get my girl after seeing this, but it was just so obvious and so so so clear.

Thank you so much in advance for any advice or insight you can give me. I’m so disappointed in myself for feeling gender disappointment. I didn’t realise how much I wanted a daughter (this is our last baby) until I saw that potty shot.

Please tell me honestly; I can take it!!

Yours very gratefully,
🙂

PS. I think what you are doing for ladies like me is fantastic. I cannot believe I found you after all my searching for answers! An actual professional who answers silly, hormonal women’s questions! Not a forum full of people who claim to know it all and actually know very little! 🙂

 

My Nub Theory Response

wwavb:  Thank you for all the nice things you’ve sent my way;) I appreciate it and am so happy you are enjoying reading my blog!

So, maybe you haven’t yet come across my posts on the subject. Click away! Boys and girls can look EXACTLY alike early on.

The links below will give you more information:

http://wombwithaviewblog.com/early-gender-pics/

Check out the links below for my images of fetal sex which are textbook, classic, no-guesswork-needed images of both male and female sex later in pregnancy:

http://wombwithaviewblog.com/female-gender-on-ultrasound-2/
http://wombwithaviewblog.com/boy-girl/
http://wombwithaviewblog.com/boy-vs-girl/
http://wombwithaviewblog.com/twin-gender-update/
http://wombwithaviewblog.com/third-trimester-male-gender/

All that said, it’s okay to have a preference, but we all get what we need in the end. Having another boy means you needed one another for whatever reason! I hope you’ll subscribe and keep reading at wombwithaviewblog.com😉

Best wishes!
wwavblogger, RDMS

 

Second Nub Theory Email

hormonal mama: Thank you for replying. I’m so grateful! I have posted a link to your blog on our pregnancy group page. I hope it gives some other ladies peace of mind. (And a good giggle!)

I was recently told by an US tech in the group that there is a “nub” on my image. But I am notoriously useless at seeing them. Would you be able to confirm (or deny) if there are any genital parts visible? All I’m seeing is legs and a cord. I know the angle of the dangle is not a reliable theory (from your blog!) but for someone to say she can see it on my scan, it would be helpful if I knew if it was even visible!

Many thanks again and again 🙂

12wk fetus/nub theory

wwavb: Thanks so much! I, too, hope they get some useful info and a giggle, also;)

Does the sonographer in your group practice OB? Experienced or new to OB? I question because I entirely disagree. Every baby has a nub at this age, but one cannot be sure whether the nub represents boy or girl. If she is referring to the thing sticking out near the butt, that is too large to be the nub in question so my thought is it’s baby’s cord.

And actually, to see the nub, the plane needs to be centered between baby’s legs which means you would not be able to see the legs in this view. See the image below:

Suspected Baby Girl at 12wks/nub theory

No legs here! That could be a tiny foot way above the arrow, however.

This tells me the angle on your baby is not perfectly centered and is a little too far lateral whereby the leg is included in the image. I hope this makes sense! What a cutie, by the way;)

Keep me posted!
wwavblogger, RDMS

Final Advice?

It’s entirely possible to get excellent images at 12 Weeks, and this theory is reported to be about 73% correct. If you do the math, that leaves 20+% with potential gender guilt. I only recommend finding out on your NT scan if you can remain mentally neutral!

You can email me also, at wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

 

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Posted on December 11th, 2015 by wombwithaviewblog.com

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 wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

 

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Posted on November 15th, 2015 by wombwithaviewblog.com

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 wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

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 August 17th, 2015 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Your Early Pregnancy Questions Answered

You know, I just don’t have all the answers. I know you may not be terribly shocked by this revelation! That said, I get emails all the time with partial tidbits of relative info from which I am supposed to glean an opinion or diagnosis. Sometimes, it’s just not enough to read between the lines, especially with regard to early pregnancy questions. See the emails below to understand why I just cannot answer some of them!

Early Pregnancy Questions (1)

Vague Mama:  Hi My name is _______.
Here’s my ultrasound.
Thank you in advance.~

***

The subject of this email read 12w6d ultrasound, and below are some of the images she sent. Can you tell that they are super bright??

early gender, early pregnancy questionsearly gender, early pregnancy questions early gender, early pregnancy questions

 

Now compare those to an image I took. Even though the baby below is a lot further along (about 20 Weeks), I’m sure you can appreciate the difference! And even a new sonographer can see that these images are of poor quality. It’s very likely they were taken by someone with little to no ultrasound training.

early pregnancy scan

Great ultrasound imaging can only be taught. Truly. I can only assume this person was curious about gender, but she was just too early. Moreover, the images were just too poor.

Early Pregnancy Questions (2)

Twin Mama:  Wow! So glad I found you. Can you please help with my twin ultrasound? We are confident that baby B is a BOY! However baby A is leaving us confused. We were told possibly boy, as well. All guesses on other sites say girl. Just so confused. Thank you in advance for your help. Sincerely…

***

Nice! This one clearly asks the gender question. However, no gestational age is included so I have to guess based on how big the baby looks in the image. If you guys know me by now, I do not guess gender before 17-18 Weeks. I’ve only guessed at 16 Weeks a handful of times in my entire career.

Too early = too much guesswork = a wrong guess. I hate it when this happens!

This is my professional and very scientific formula on how to incorrectly determine fetal gender. Turns out these babies were 14w4d. In other words, flipping a coin might give you the same percentage of accuracy. And it’s free! There’s not much worse than paying someone to be wrong. Right?!

Early Pregnancy Questions (3)

Concerned Mama: I just have a couple questions I’m hoping you wouldn’t mind helping me with. I just had my first ultrasound abdominally and also had the internal, as well, for dating. My period is very irregular, so I don’t know my LMP. I had gotten lab work done the day before the ultrasound to check my HCG levels. The nurse said they were pretty up there but not yet 14 Weeks.

During my tests, my sonographer would not give me any info. I understand they formally cannot give an official diagnosis, but she wouldn’t even show me the screen. Is it normal that they don’t give you a picture, either? If you could try and answer these questions the best you can, I would greatly appreciate it:) Thank you so much! ~

***

So, a non-medical mama may not understand the difficulty here. But, unfortunately, I just don’t have all the information to tell her what she wants to know most. With no images, no measurements, no LMP (Last Menstrual Period), and without her medical chart, I cannot tell her anything she doesn’t already know about her case. I cannot even be sure a heartbeat was seen. And without that being stated, I can assume nothing.

The only opinion I can offer here is that it’s really tough to have to wait for results in such circumstances. In this case, my reader had to wait an entire weekend for some answers. It turns out the pregnancy wasn’t a good one which is why her sonographer didn’t show her anything on the monitor. This is always a terrible position to be in for the sonographer and the patient.

I really believe patients should never have to wait days for this kind of result. However, giving results depends on a lot of politics and protocol. The doctor on-call should be able to deliver this news to an anxious mom.

More on Your Early Pregnancy Questions

So, Ladies, just know that sometimes I can’t help you very much, but I always try! Include as much information as you can about your experience, and I’ll do my best to help you make sense of it! ‘Til next time, here’s wishing you a happy, healthy sonogram;)

Please email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com with your questions or comments and subscribe for more of your early pregnancy questions answered!

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Posted on June 23rd, 2015 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Transvaginal ultrasound provides THE best contribution to ultrasound, bar none. It gives us a high resolution image because the probe lies closer to the organs and utilizes a higher frequency than abdominal probes. Most women come alone; some need the support of a spouse; some need the whole family!

Case in point. A young patient comes into the office with an entourage. I needed to check my memory twice, reminding myself that she wasn’t there for an OB appointment. With her was her mom, her child, and her boyfriend. Mom insisted on coming in for the exam along with the child. Of course, I could care less as long as the patient wants them in there. I have to ask all the same questions regardless of who else is in the room. If you don’t want someone hearing all your personal GYN business, you’d better have them wait outside. This wasn’t the case here on this day; nonetheless, no truer statement has ever been spoken…well, typed, that is.

Transvaginal Ultrasound is Not Always a Welcomed Approach!

About 80% of the time, I get the same reaction. I say the word “transvaginal,” and I see my patients’ eyes get as big as dinner plates. I realize the hesitation on several points. If you’ve never heard of it, if you’ve never had one done, or if you’ve never been to the GYN doc, I condone “the look.”

transvaginal probe

Honestly, I’d do the same if someone came at me with one of these sans my ultrasound education. Wouldn’t you?

If someone has had no sexual experience or if a patient has had a bad personal experience in the past which has left them emotionally scarred, the hesitation is understandable. Usually, I know about these well in advance. We plan around them by having the patient fill her bladder or by simply explaining the exam and allowing her the choice.

The examination almost always causes a bit awkwardness for the patient (though never for me). We always recommend the support of a spouse or friend if the patient feels anxious about the exam or results. Otherwise, a targeted visit for Marble Slab should immediately follow. Isn’t that the sole purpose for ice cream anyway? I think it would make for an interesting new ad campaign. Ice cream…the perfect post-stirrup consolation prize!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Send your emails to wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

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Posted on June 6th, 2015 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Female Gender Pics

Patients, in general, tend to believe that determining male gender should be very easy any time, and the only way to determine female gender is the lack of male parts. Wrong! But can we see the uterus and ovaries of a female fetus? Read an email below from a mom with this very question.

mama-to-be:  Is it possible to see Baby’s ovaries and uterus with ultrasound? I’ve read these organs are formed around 20/22 Weeks. I was thinking it was possible to see them at 22 Weeks or later?

wwavb:  A fetus is fully formed at 12 Weeks. And, no, a uterus and ovaries cannot be seen in a fetus anytime in pregnancy as they are simply too small and gender can only be determined by examining external genitalia.

***

Second Trimester

See below for great, textbook female gender images!

female gender, 16 Weeks pregnant

This image is of a baby girl at about 16 Weeks. Here, you can only really see Baby’s bottom but not her legs…imagine Baby is pulling her feet up to her nose. Looking up from the underside, only cheeks and girly parts will be seen, right?

Note the three arrows which point to three white lines representing the labia on the outside and clitoris in the center. Sometimes the lines look more like white dots depending on the angle. As Baby gets a little bigger, she will start to develop some fat in her skin and the labia will plump up a bit, resembling the “hamburger” to which most patients refer!

female gender, 16 Weeks pregnant

This image is around the 16 Weeks, also. You can see here how the top labia looks more like a dot and the middle and bottom white echoes look more like lines.

Third Trimester

female gender, 32 Weeks pregnant, third trimester gender

Finally, we’ll end out this post with a perfect example of 3rd Trimester female gender! This baby is about 32 Weeks, and we found her sitting in the best position to obtain this shot. Notice how the white lines have morphed into the labia you would expect to see on Baby Girl. Most patients can typically “see” her parts for themselves pretty easily at this stage.

 

Have some female gender images you want to share?
Great!
You can email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com.

Want to subscribe for the most recent posts and updates on my up-coming book?
Even better!

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