Myth #1, Let's start with the obvious- I am NOT just looking for baby's gender. I have two kiddos of my own and know that finding out the gender can be exciting for many couples. It breaks up the monotony of pregnancy- excitement initially when finding out you are first expecting and then the obvious joyous moment when the baby is born. Finding out gender is the little tidbit in the middle that can be fun to find out, or not- those are fun too! Expectant parents have a general curiosity in seeing this little growing person and watching their movements and reactions to sounds and such. As a sonographer I think of gender (almost) the least. Along with this being an experience for the parents, my job is to make sure your baby is growing at a proper rate and that I see everything I need to see. I am looking for specific brain tissue like the cerebellum, the baby's spine, stomach and diaphragm, kidneys, and let's not forget that beautiful beating heart. I look at all these (and MANY more) structures and watch for proper placement and any abnormalities that may show themselves at this time. Which leads me into Myth #2.
Myth #3, Ultrasounds are going to hurt the unborn baby. Currently, no evidence or studies exist to back up this myth. There have not been any studies that have shown a correlation between ultrasounds and any harm to the baby. Unlike X-rays, which use radiation (not so good for quickly growing babies) sonograms utilize sound waves that reflect off different parts of the body to produce an image. Just for purposes of safety and because we have not seen a correlation, but better to be safe than sorry, I learned to not scan a patient for more than 1 consecutive hour. This is just erring on the side of caution. The crunchy side of me reminds myself that we used to think X-rays were perfectly safe and were doing pelvimetry to make sure a baby could fit through a mother's pelvis… and this was not safe. So who knows what the future holds- and because of this I (this is just purely MY opinion) believe people should not be doing their own scans at their house without proper training. Again, just my opinion.
I hope I have cleared up a few questions you may commonly have about ultrasounds and what we as sonographers are specifically looking at while we are quietly scanning you (sometimes we get in the zone… sorry). I would love to answer any questions anyone may have so feel free to comment- is there another myth that has you questioning ultrasounds?? Ask me 😊 I'd be happy to answer any inquiry.
Brandi is a sonographer trained through the US Air Force. She is married with two children and one furry friend for life. She enjoys crocheting and singing karaoke with her kiddos 😊 You can read more about Brandi on her profile page.