Health Female Adda
1 year ago
Would You Throw an Ultrasound Party?

The newest way to reveal your baby’s gender is on screen

Looking for a more interesting way to reveal the sex of your baby to your friends and family? Skip the Facebook post of your last doctor’s visit and order some hors d'oeuvres. Some ultrasound technicians are now offering baby shower packages that include live video and images of the fetus displayed in the comfort of your own home.

Thanks to new technology and smaller hardware, technicians can now conduct 3D and 4D ultrasounds outside of their clinics, prompting women to invite friends along for the fetal festivities. Chad Berry helps run Miracles Imaging in Lehigh Acres, Florida with his wife, Camie, a certified sonographer. They started offering baby shower packages three years ago and have recently added a “gender reveal package” to their available options. The reason for their at-home services was a product of limited options in their area and developments in the ultrasound technology, Berry says. “When we first started, our equipment had to fit in a minivan but now it’s the size of a laptop and fits in a briefcase so we can easily zip it up and take it places,” he says.

For $249, women can book an ultrasound at the location of their choice, which includes 20 to 30 3D images of the baby and a 4D video recording as well, says Berry. Although medical ultrasounds usually last a total of 18 minutes, Berry says shower ultrasounds can last up to 30 minutes depending on the location of the baby and the interest of the mom or the party guests.

In order to book a baby shower ultrasound with Miralces Imaging, Berry and his staff require mothers to be under the care of physician. They also have a medical director on staff they can call if they have questions or discover an issue with the fetus. In the past six months, they’ve conducted 15 off-site baby shower ultrasounds.

Although an extended ultrasound is loads of fun for your eager family members, it does pose some possible health risks, says Debra Wickman, MD, co-founder of SHE: Sexual Health Experts, a dedicated sexual health practice. “We think of ultrasounds as being really safe because it’s not radiation, but they can generate heat, and too much may affect the fetus,” Wickman says. The ultrasound probe heats more rapidly near bone, so the larger the baby is, the more likely the probe is to pass over boney areas, she explains. And if technicians are trying extra hard to get a good look at the baby’s face, they may be adding unnecessary heat there as well, she says.

Overheating is probably not a worry if the ultrasound is limited to 30 minutes, Wickman explains, but she is concerned about the pressure of the technicians to get high-quality images of the baby. “Patients have told me that technicians can get pretty rough trying to move the abdomen around to better position the baby so they can see the face or genitals (for a gender-reveal),” she says.

Typically moms-to-be have two ultrasounds of their growing baby—one in the first trimester and one in the second, says Wickman. It’s usually okay to have additional ultrasounds, just make a point to find a technician that is properly certified and has the correct training. Also, Wickman advises against using the high-energy Doppler component of the ultrasound unless recommended by a doctor, which looks at blood flow.

Sound Off: Would you throw an ultrasound party?

Image: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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