But, before you get your hopes up that you’ll get those perfect full face photos like your sister or your friends, 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 11 years, let me elaborate on those factors in order of importance:
1. 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 may be over the top of baby’s face, making it harder to get perfectly clear photos. Therefore, we suggest getting your ultrasound at 28-31 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 32-36 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 back for your 5D/HDlive ultrasound (which is an enhanced version of 3D/4D ultrasound). Your doctor may also inform you of the position of your placenta based on your 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 those 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 us when we know that we could have taken better 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: or Babies!
It is ideal that baby is positioned head down. 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 will be impossible to get images. Babies in the breech position can be more difficult to get images of, especially if your baby is playing with his feet over his head, 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 and we will schedule you for a free redo ultrasound session.
If you are expecting multiples, then be sure to schedule your appointment a bit earlier. The best time to visit with TWINS is between 24 and 26 weeks.
4. The Make and Model of the Ultrasound 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 brand is GE. GE offers 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 cord, the body fat of the expectant mother, and if the baby has hands and/or feet in front of their 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 loose or there is higher fat composition, this causes a weakening of the ultrasound signal causing fuzziness. Please understand that the only way to get clear images, is with a vaginal ultrasound.
At A New Conception Ultrasound we use GE's latest High Definition Ultrasound machine and our ultrasound techs ( Kim & Erica) have performed thousands of scans over the past 11 years in Hanover, Ma. We guarantee high quality pictures, meaning if we can’t get good images at your first appointment, we offer a free redo to try again. Sometimes however, 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!