So if you are pregnant, undoubtedly you’ve seen the dreamy ultrasound photos that are popping up on your Facebook feed, Instagram and in local mommy groups. In the last 4-5 years elective ultrasounds have become increasingly popular and the trend continues to grow as more mothers are wanting to see their unborn baby’s face. Thanks to recent advances in technology, ultrasound machines can render images that are more lifelike than ever before.
But, before you get your hopes up that you’ll get those perfect full face photos like your sister, it’s important to know that no two pregnant women are created equal; and neither are their wombs.
There are SEVERAL factors that influence the clarity and quality of the ultrasound photos. After performing these types of ultrasounds exclusively for 7 years, let me elaborate on those factors in order of importance:
- The Placenta Location:
The placenta is a liver like organ that develops inside the uterus during pregnancy and provides oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby. The placenta is attached to the uterine wall either in the front (called an anterior placenta), or in the back (a posterior placenta) or sometimes at the top(fundal).
If the placenta is anterior, it will be over the top of baby’s face, making it harder to get perfectly clear photos. Therefore, we suggest getting your babyface ultrasound at 28-34 weeks, before baby gets too big and squished into the placenta. If your placenta is posterior, it will be under the baby, and you can wait until 32-38 weeks to have your ultrasound. We can locate the position of the placenta on a gender scan and inform you of the best time to come for your 5d/hd ultrasound(which is a better version of 3d/4d). Your doctor may also inform you of this based on the anatomy scan.
2. The Amount Of Amniotic Fluid:
Everyone wants great images, but sometimes moms don’t realize that you have to drink your physician’s daily recommendation of water consumption (typically half your body weight in ounces of water per day) to achieve good vivid images. And if you don’t, you will most likely not get good vivid images. Regardless of great images, physicians recommend that you drink this water for proper lung development for your baby. This is very important. And there is nothing more frustrating to our sonographers when they know they could have gotten good images for a mother if only she had been drinking her water goal! If you have a hard time drinking water, try drinking Gatorade or other hydrating liquids.
3) The Position Of The Baby:
It is ideal that baby is positioned head down (meaning the head is down low near your cervix). This is the position baby should be in before you go into labor. This position yields the best imaging. The baby’s face should also be pointing upwards towards your stomach. If baby is looking towards your spine it would be impossible to get images. Babies in the breech position are harder to get images of, especially with an anterior placenta, however we have been able to achieve some very good images on breech babies. If baby is transverse, or sideways, it’s nearly impossible to get any good images.
4) The Make and Model of the Ultrasond Machine
Just like any other technology, think iphones or Droid phones, newer and more modern devices and equipment produce better quality imaging. There are many major manufacturers of ultrasound machines and they are not created equal. The leading brands are Samsung, GE and Mindray. These companies offer the latest cutting-edge technology and high definition ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound facilities that use newer, updated machines can provide you with better imaging of your baby. The best tech in the world can only do as much as the machine they are working with!
5) The Experience of the Sonographer
Prenatal imaging is an art form and the ultrasound tech is the artist. Learning to do ultrasounds is not an easy endeavor and developing the hand eye coordination can only come through extensive professional training and several years of hands on practice. Having an artist’s eye is particularly helpful. Additionally, the ultrasound tech should be knowledgeable about tips and tricks to get baby in the right position for imaging. You’ll want to choose a facility that has an experienced tech who has performed, not just hundreds, but thousands of ultrasounds and is knowledgeable about all aspects of imaging.
There are additional factors that contribute to image clarity such as the location of the umbilical cords, the body fat content of the expectant mother, and if the baby has hands and or feet up in front of he face during the scan. If the umbilical cord is near the face it may superimpose onto the face, the same is true with hands and feet. If mother’s skin is looser or there is higher fat content, this causes a weakening of the ultrasound signal causing fuzziness.
At Sneak A Peek Ultrasound we are dedicated to ensuring we provide the best imaging for ALL of our clients. When you call to book your appointment we’ll ask you a few quick questions to make sure we get you in at the right time-frame to get the best images. We have Samsung’s latest High Definition technology and our ultrasound techs have performed thousands of scans. We guarantee high quality pictures, meaning if we can’t get good images at your first appointment, we offer a free bring back to try again. Sometimes though, you can do everything right and baby just wants to hide his or her face. Don’t be disappointed if this happens, every baby is unique and special! Some just want to keep you guessing!