Ultrasounds Are a Family Affair, But This Hospital Is Planning To Take That Experience Away

Ultrasounds Are a Family Affair, But This Hospital Is Planning To Take That Experience Away

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in the U.K. has made a bold move. As of September 1, 2017 no one under the age of 12 can be present at a pregnancy ultrasound. That’s right, kids are banned from this family milestone and if you ask me, the hospital’s reasoning is preposterous.

When I first saw this article’s title, I assumed there was new research that revealed a concern for small children and their exposure to ultrasounds. Hence, the hospital thought they should revise their policy on who could attend pregnancy scans. That would make sense. We all want to protect and care for our children as much as possible. But upon further reading I discovered that the new policy has nothing to do with the under age 12 crowd. It has everything to do with the hospital staff.

NNUH Ultrasound Policy

A representative from NNUH said, “In order to carry out all appropriate tests and measurements, our sonographers need the right environment to concentrate and focus on performing these checks. Restricting the potential distractions and number of visitors, including children, in the room during the examination enables our teams to perform the scan effectively and there are multiple hospitals who restrict this to only one guest.”

That just sounds selfish to me, especially when we’re discussing a non-emergent appointment that introduces a new family member to an expectant mother and those she wishes to have present.

Let’s be real. The medical field is inherently a busy place full of distractions. Take the emergency room, for example, should we no longer allow noise and interruptions there? I mean, those doctors need to carry out tests and concentrate too! Probably more so than a sonographer. And it’s not like they’re trying to read, review, or diagnose the ultrasound results with children present. That usually takes places outside of the actual scanning room. At least it did with all my ultrasounds. Then the radiologist followed up with a “You’re good to go!” or with potential concerns. I’ve experienced both scenarios and the presence of my children didn’t fuel one answer over the other. When there was a concern, we just scheduled a second ultrasound to take a deeper look at the initial findings.

The NNUH spokesperson defended the hospital’s position, trying to cite a woman’s privacy as part of the reason for this new policy. But honestly, a woman’s other children are hardly cause for privacy issues. He then cycled back adding, “Although we can appreciate this is disappointing, it is important that we maintain an appropriate environment for our staff to work in, conducive to performing scans to the best of their ability.”

How about you better train your staff to do their job with a little background noise? Then, families can unite in the joy of hearing baby’s heartbeat, finding out the sex, and growing a bond through visually seeing their new child/sibling. Oh, and parents don’t have to add the cost of “ultrasound babysitter” to their already mounting pregnancy expenses.

 

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Gretchen hails from the beautiful Pacific Northwest along with her husband and two young children. Before transitioning to life as a stay at home mom, Gretchen worked in sales and marketing while earning her Masters in Management and Organizational Leadership. Now her days are focused on managing meal plans and nap times while organizing her sewing stash and children's toy bins. My oh my, how life changes in the blink of an eye! Gretchen writes frequently about natural parenting, becoming more environmentally conscience, her affinity for thrifted treasures, and hopes of making it out of yoga pants each day on her blog That Mama Gretchen (www.thatmamagretchen.com).

123 COMMENTS

  1. You do realise that the scan is a medical examination? Clearly not. You’re clearly the type who sees it more of a photo shoot..

  2. Scanning whether that be for dating a pregnancy for performing an anomaly scan is a screening test. These are designed to screen for problems or concerns with a pregnancy. This must be undertaken with purpose and professionalism as sometimes the sonographer has bad news to deliver. In order for her to do this in a way that considers the mother, her baby and partner it is of the utmost importance that there is the space, time and privacy to do so. It seems today with the availability of 3/4D scanning which is not a screening scan but a social scan that the importance of what the NHS is offering has been diminished as nothing more than a sexing scan which by the way is not what NHS screening scans are designed to achieve.

    We must consider what we are trying to achieve at an anomaly scan and we have a duty to deliver the importance of this information in order for women to make an informed decision to undertake this screening. It is no different to the blood screening performed in pregnancy for which we have none of the issues reported as described above, in fact women often attend alone for this testing which is no less important.

    Please lets not turn this into the view that the hospital is being difficult. USS demands are great and often hard decisions have to be made about what can and can not be done in the NHS. The NHS was set up to deliver emergency care for those with the greatest need, avoid inconsistency and offer equity of access to improve the health of our nation.

    I understand the importance of having opportunities for families to be involved in pregnancy but there are so many ways that this can be achieved and should not be dependent of the pregnancy screening scan at any cost. Lets not forget its about avoiding harm and if not controlled the harm caused can reach beyond the mother and baby.

    I am not a sonographer but I have done my homework and understand what the screening is for and therefore am taking a very practical view on this.

  3. Gretchen, maybe you should write about things you understand. You have no clue what it’s like on the sonographer. We’re examining tiny heart structures, observing blood flow and vessels, measuring tiny brain structures, and evaluating everything on that baby from head to toe. Not to mention the times when something is terribly wrong. It’s really stressful, and you don’t want 5 people standing over your shoulder asking questions and a crying kid in the room. Yes, the medical field is inherently chaotic, but in the ultrasound room, where these exams take place, it’s sonographer and patient, and dark and quiet. It’s baby’s first medical exam. During what other exams are people allowed to bring the whole family in? I think this hospital has it 100% right and I wish more hospitals would follow suit. If something is missed by the sonographer because they’re distracted, who’s going to be reprimanded? The sonographer. I think it would be a good compromise to bring the family in for 5 minutes after the exam, during the time when we show the mom the baby.

  4. Sigh…I guess your not interested in differing points of view. That’s quite ok, we’ve reposted this ridiculous rant if yours so that others can share in its fallacy.

  5. What an ignorant article. It is a very important examination. Your 20-week scan, (you might consider is a gender scan, which it is not) is an anaomly scan. They are very complex and intricate, they look for cleft lip, brain abnormalities such as ancepholy, spinal abnormalities like spina bifida, heart defects, that urine flow is correct and whether the baby has the correct number of kidneys, to check that organs are covered and not growing outside of the abdominal cavity and to check all limbs are there and growing correctly. All of this and then some, on a moving target, and sometimes there is more than one baby in there to check all of that on! I’m sure most kids are well behaved and present no issue, but imagine a child that isn’t well behaved causing a distraction in a small room. How about the awful scenario that something isn’t right? What if you have miscarried and your young child is sat there whilst you receive that news in the ultrasound room? What if the sonographer needs to carry out a trans-vaginal scan? Sonographers will tell you news of abnormalities or miscarriages there and then, and more often than not, isn’t a passed over to a radiologist in these instances. Sonographers are highly qualified practitioners who have practiced and trained for many years.

    I don’t think it’s at all appropriate for a young child to be in the room for any medical examination. And no, thankfully it’s not carried out in A&E, it’s a controlled exam that doesn’t have to be done amongst chaos, what a ridiculous thing to say and compare it to. If all our controlled appointments were carried out in chaos then I’m confident health of patients would be compromised. Even A&E departments have sectioned off areas (resus bays) for the most seriously ill patients so there are less distractions. What an ignorant piece of writing, complete lack of understanding or respect.

  6. Your comments in response to the decision by a UK hospital to restrict children under 12 to be present during the scans display a lack of understanding of the role of Advanced Practitioner Sonographers working in NHS Hospitals.
    In the UK the Sonographers do indeed ‘read, review, or diagnose the ultrasound results with children present’. The Sonographer is entirely responsible for not only undertaking the scans but also making the diagnosis and communicating the results to the patient. So the Sonographer needs to concentrate to avoid missing a fetal abnormality. The scan is not primarily an ‘experience’ it is a medical examination to check for abnormalities in the fetus and to check if the fetus is alive.
    It is a technical and often distressing job, having to break the news that the baby has died or has an abnormality which is not compatible with life is very difficult. Having to do this with small children in the room is even worse.
    At my hospital if parents attend with children the father waits in the waiting room with the children and they can come in when the scan is completed so that the sonographer can concentrate to perform the scan. Then the whole family can come into the room when the scan is completed to see the baby on the screen.
    I hope that now you understand the role of the sonographer in the UK you will rethink the sweeping and insensitive comments you have written.

  7. Are you a sonographer?! I’m guessing not ….I’m also guessing you have no idea how much pressure a sonographer is under to not miss and diagnosis on someone else’s child! I think you need to do your research and maybe shadow a sonographer then you might change your mind!

  8. Gretchen, the woman who saves women and baby lives, writing her blog with a handful of yelling, grumpy children and other people asking her a million questions, letting those children rip her office apart. Ohhhh wait. My bad. You write your little insignificant stories while children and people in general are nowhere around or at least not screaming and crying and whining, no pressure. You’ve clearly NEVER had to try to diagnose life and death conditions, distracted as hell. Not to mention those days you’ve got a headache or don’t feel so well but you’ve got to get that job done. Don’t make asinine suggestions about a job you know nothing about. You’d probably be suing everyone and their mother if a distracted sonographer missed something on YOUR ultrasound. This hospital has every right to protect patients and staff and I’m glad they did. Stick to writing your shitty stories but leave ultrasound out!

    P.S. most young children observing ultrasounds really seem to care less, often the opposite they want to LEAVE, it’s almost torture to them sometimes.

  9. How do you think the radiologist gets the appropriate images to read and diagnose? The sonographer has to be able to get the images. The sonographer must be able to concentrate and focus on their patient(s). This is a medical test to check the health of the baby (and mother), it’s not a party.

  10. Just so you know, ultrasound isn’t for showing mom and dad a heart beat and the gender. The purpose is to check for potential life threatening abnormalities. Knowing that, would you want us to be scanning your baby with a distraction? Also, is it a family affair when we can’t show you a heart beat because there isn’t one? Is it a family affair when we discover an abnormality? It’s true that we aren’t reading the exam, but think about this. If we don’t take the necessary images, the radiologist will never be able to see an image of the abnormality and this can ultimately lead to a misdiagnosis. But that’s no big deal, we just have to deal with a little background noise right?

  11. I have never read such an ill informed bunch of tripe in my life. The total disrespect and ignorance of the immense and incredible amount of training sonographers have to undertake to perform and diagnose these examinations is staggering.

    The concentration required to complete what is essentially an important medical examination is incredibly demanding. The sheer attention to detail is staggering and can be the difference to ensuring the baby grows healthily if requiring further intervention.

    To allude to the fact that this is a simple exam and therefore not ensuring that the sonographer is given total respect and the environment to do their job properly is borne from sheer ignorance and typical of todays take take society. If something went wrong and the sonographer so distracted in order to not complete the exam adequately then i am certain that the OP would not hesitate to take the negligence route.

    I have a suggestion for this blogger to stick to writing about sewing or whatever the heck she excels at and leave the important work to highly qualified professionals who work in an environment where one little tiny error can be the difference between life and death. Bit more important than a dropped stitch eh?

  12. The author clearly has no knowledge of clinical Ultrasound whatsoever. Nor has she any clear knowledge of the (public) National Health Service in the UK, demands on its services OR the demands of its ‘clientele’.
    I ask you? “And it’s not like they’re trying to read, review, or diagnose the ultrasound results with children present. That usually takes places outside of the actual scanning room. At least it did with all my ultrasounds. Then the radiologist followed up with…” That is laughable on so many levels to UK Ultrasound professionals.
    The service offered by the NHS is a MEDICAL scan- interested in whether baby has a head or an intact spine, not to count little toesy-woseys or see whose nose baby has.
    I should point out that entertainment Ultrasound scans are available to paying customers. I guess that must be where the author formed her opinion.

  13. What you obviously don’t understand is in the UK the sonographers DO perform, read, review and diagnose the ultrasound. There is no radiologist involved. Only if there is a serious malformation is a physician involved in the sonogram. So your statement of “And it’s not like they’re trying to read, review, or diagnose the ultrasound results with children present. ” is completely wrong. Please do your research before post blatantly wrong statements.

    This is a medical test. It is not for you to hear the heartbeat, find out the sex or get cute pictures. It is to identify normal anatomy or any possible problems. This is what the sonographer are trained to do. Sonographers are not ultrasound babysitters during your exam. Parents want to bring as many as 3 or 4 children under the age of 12 into the small room with only two chairs. And then the parent refuses (well it’s hard to control children when you are having a medical test performed) to keep the children from wandering around the room, picking up things, playing on the computer, crawling on the floor, grabbing the sonographers arms, machine, gel etc, or just the shear noise of everyone arguing and crying through the entire exam. Yes this happens on a regular basis.

    Perhaps it’s time that people accept that an obstetric sonogram is performed for medical reasons and is a medical test. There are plenty of places where you can pay your own money for an entertainment exam. Take as many people as you like. Enjoy the experience of bonding and pretty pictures. You have had the diagnostic exam and feel comfortable that there are no identified medical problems (heart defects, brain defects, missing arms or legs, spinal defects etc) and can be happy that a well trained and qualified sonographer insisted on a professional atmosphere to complete your medical exam to the highest standards.

  14. You clearly have no idea what is going on during an ultrasound. We sonographers are NOT just taking pictures for the doctors. We are their eyes and ears. My training was not “how to press buttons. It was anatomy, physiology, and pathological processes. We are an extension of your doctor. They dictate into their official reports what we tell them. If we don’t see something, they don’t see it either.

    You need to understand that an ultrasound is a medical/diagnostic procedure. Our primary function is not show and tell, no matter how much you want it to be.

    And as far as knocking the medical field and sonographers who don’t want to work with distractions…we still do it and do it well. You on the other hand can’t even take criticism for your writing. Where are all of the other comments telling you how wrong your idiotic opinion is?

  15. As a sonographer, I think people often are misguided as to what ultrasound is actually for. It is not solely for the parents to see cute pictures of their unborn child, as much as we love to show them those cute pictures. Ultrasound is VERY tech dependent and our radiologists RELY on us to tell them what we see beyond what we can capture in one image. It’s just like being at the park and taking a photo. You can take the photo and someone can gather most of what is going on but there are certain things you would not be able to gather without actually being there. It’s the same way when we scan our patients and their unborn child. The radiologist sees an image that we capture, but it can be totally different than actually scanning the patient, so yes, we are a MAIN part in helping to diagnose our patients. I work in an OB facility and it is quite common that I have a screaming child in the room and it is very distracting. As much as we understand the parents want their children to partake in an important part of our lives, they usually don’t take anything out of the ultrasound and one parent usually spends most of the time wrangling the child and not enjoying the ultrasound anyway. We have a job to do. Our job is to make sure this unborn child does not have any abnormalities and if he/she does, that we can help our doctors come up with a plan of action. There are MANY abnormalities that are very subtle by ultrasound and it takes an immense amount of concentration to find and/or rule out those abnormalities. We are not crabby old ultrasound techs. We are trying to provide the upmost care for our patients and their unborn child.

  16. Gretchen – please imagine the scenario. A whole family has attended an ultrasound to see the new baby. Mom, dad, 2 kids in tow. The sonographer, due to distractions caused by the children misses a subtle abnormality on the scan. The abnormality ultimately could be life changing for the family. Or alternatively the sonographer sees an abnormality on the screen or cannot find a heartbeat and there is now kids witnessing their parents falling apart before their eyes. It would be hard enough being the parent in these scenarios never mind the child. The children / parents may be ill prepared to deal with the consequences – is that fair?? Measurements the sonographers have to take can be extremely technical and minute and can have a huge impact on the progression of that family therefore why make the whole situation more complicated than it needs to be!!! Why put more stress on the staff and parents than three already is!! This is already a highly emotive situation why make it worse. Yes fantastic you want to involve the whole family in this wonderful new addition but practically is this not a catastrophe waiting to happen. Imagine you’ve just found out your new arrival has passed away, if the children weren’t there you have the chance for your whole world to fall apart and compose yourself to enable you to deal with telling your children and family at home. Now imagine that situation again but now with your children in the room. The dynamics change and now you getting upset will terrify and upset your children. Life’s lessons can be dealt in a far more compassionate way!

  17. Perhaps in a perfect world where children are well behaved and can either entertain themselves or actually pay attention to what is going on then the whole family can enjoy the bonding experience. That is not even close to real life. Perhaps you have never been in a confined room with kids of all ages, that will not stop running around, throwing things, playing in areas they should not be in, and yelling/screaming. Yes kids will be kids and have fun. Yes kids will be kids and be upset. Neither of those should take place in a hospital setting. Perhaps the mother is there by herself with a 1 year old that won’t stop screaming unless they are being held by the mother, is that child there for the bonding experience? What if one of the mothers other children gets hungry. Should other patients have to wait longer for their appointment because the mother felt this was a field trip and brought all the kids along and now it’s snack time?

    People ask questions, and sonographers are not there give a remedial ultrasound course to every family member that is in the room. They don’t have time to answer “what’s that?” or “what’s that do?” or “what do you see/can I see?” from every person in the room. Kids asks a lot of questions and that is not the time for it.

    If you want this to be a family experience then go pay money out of your own pocket and get an ultrasound done. Don’t waste the sonographers time, the hospital/doctors office time, and most importantly other patients time because you feel everyone in the family has the right to see what’s going on. They don’t.

    But in your world every kid under 12 is so well behaved that I wasted my time reading your article and then replying.

  18. You should actually live a day in a life of a sonographer before you critize that they should be trained better to learn to work with distractions. You are so ignorant. I work in the cardio field and work closely with my sonograghers. I got news for you lady, they sometimes know and see things that the doctors might not and during the exam they have to know what they are looking at in order to make sure the patient doesn’t have any emergent issues. It not just taking pictures. Learn your facts before you write a half ass article. I support this hospital’s choice 100%. We don’t allow anyone but the patient in the room.

  19. Gretchen US are not for the family to meet the baby. They are a medical test to screen for fetal abnormalities. The sonographer is measuring fetal anatomy that needs to be precise to the millimeter. While most of the time ultrasounds are happy occurrences those of us in the business can tell you that we have concerning or downright devastating findings every single day. Picture being in the room with the parents and young child that they are telling they are about to meet their sibling and not having a heart beat…. or explaing why we need to do another test because of an abnormality in the brain? Fun conversation made even better with a toddler who just wants to touch the biohazard trash can. I could go on but I won’t.

  20. As an ultrasound technologist…no, I don’t do obstetrical ultrasounds, you’re stance on this subject is preposterous. Ultrasounds are diagnostic medical tests, only do be performed when necessary. This is not a family affair. Sonographers don’t need additional training to be able to do our job. What we need is for people to understand that there is a lot of anatomy that needs to be evaluated and certain scans can be difficult. We need to be able to concentrate so we can get the images needed so the doctors can make accurate diagnoses. But I guess that doesn’t matter to you as long as your family is allowed to be spectators. I guess it doesn’t matter to you that some families go in for their obstetrical ultrasounds, so excited, only to find out that their baby doesn’t have a head or has a heart defect or some other horrible abnormality. Don’t be so ignorant!

  21. You do realize in order for a radiologist to diagnose your ultrasound the sonographer has to first take those images. If the sonographer does not see something then neither does the doctor. Do you know how small a fetal heart is during the typical anatomy scan? There are 6 different heart views my office does on that teeny tiny heart. You try examining and getting those very specific views for a radiologist while a toddler screams at the top of their lungs because they are bored since an hour long sono is not enough to hold their attention. Or what if there is something wrong? If you came in for a sono and unfortunately there was no longer a heart beat. Would you like to find out in front of your small children?

    No offense but stick to ” focusing on managing meal plans and nap times while organizing your sewing stash and children’s toy bins” and leaving diagnostic to those of us who went to school for it.

  22. I am a sonographer of 16 years and a mother. Gretchen you are so off point here you should be embarrassed. It is the responsibility of a sonographer to show the radiologist everything he/she needs to know about the unborn baby being imaged. If the sonographer doesn’t see it, no one else will. During this day and age there are certain places that provide “fun, bonding scans”. A hospital is not this type of place. I fully support this institution’s decision to limit distractions so their sonographers can do their best work and not worry about crying, fighting, YouTube videos playing loudly, etc. Please respect the profession you clearly take for granted and next time consult someone in the field before writing such a self-entitled article.

  23. You obviously have no idea what a fetal sonogram is actually for. The Ob/Gyn who ordered it couldn’t care less about you or your family bonding with the new baby. The ultrasound is preformed to visualize all of the baby’s anatomy and make sure that there are no serious anomalies. The sonographer has to carefully assess the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, bones, etc., etc. First of all, having more than one person in the room can be a huge distraction…much less having a child. Secondly, very few children care to see the baby for more than about 2 seconds and are then bored to death…leading to them causing more distractions. And lastly, why would anyone want their 10 year old in the room when the probe is put down to see the new baby only to find that the baby had died?! Please, please, do your research before writing such an article in the future!

  24. I hope you realize the sonographer is the one who “reads, reviews, and diagnoses” as you say, before they show a radiologist. It is their job to take images, find anomalies, and they report any findings to the radiologist. If a sonographer is too distracted, she may miss a heart defect or a defect with the spine. Yes, the doctor reviews the images and it’s their job to tell you the results, but the sonographer looks at the baby in detail and has to make sure to get all necessary images to show them.

  25. As a sonographer, I need to make the general public aware. A diagnosis is made from this scan alone and we have a short time to ensure there are no abnormalities present within your baby. As an example, we assess the fetal heart which is the size of a human thumbnail, to check for life threatening conditions such as transposition of the great vessels, tetraology of Fallout and many more.

    From a distraction point of view, it is extremely difficult to assess this over a screaming child. It is not about needing further training. But, the purpose of this scan is for purely medical reasons. From experience, after a few minutes young children become bored and ask “why can’t I see the baby?” As, for the majority of the scan we assess baby in a cross sectional view and they are correct… it doesn’t look like a baby.

    I work in the UK. If I see a problem I have to tell you there and then in that room. Now, this job is even harder when there are children who then become upset as they see mummy and daddy crying. Unfortunately sometimes as well patients arrive to these scans and there is no heartbeat on the baby. Which I then also have to tell them. All traumatising events which is why we discourage children from being here.

    This post is very bias and looks at our work in a negative light. I do hope you reconsider your thoughts on this sensitive issue. And ask yourself who you’d rather check your baby to ensure there are no life threatening issues that could result in neonatal mortality. Someone who has their full and undivided attention, or someone trying to battle to concentrate over a child.

    I would just like to add that not all children are the way I have described. But the problem a large portion are and the biggest issue is that they simply become bored during the scan. There are many private companies who focus on just looking at baby and offer bonding experiences for all family members. This scan unfortunately is not for that.

  26. As a sonographer I think its horrible you aren’t advocating for your unborn child to get the best scan possible. It is very difficult to scan a moving fetus for anatomy and birth defects do you really think its more important to entertain your family that make sure your unborn child is healthy. What if we miss something that could’ve saved your childs life because we were distracted by your 4 year old running around our room because they’re bored? There are soooo many places you can go and pay $100 and have them entertain you with gender and pictures and movies.

  27. You need to research the field of sonography before you unleash your uninformed, demented opinions to the public. As a sonographer for 8 years I cannot begin to emphasize the amount of detail, tedious effort and critical thinking that goes into not only my images but my diagnoses. Yes my diagnosis, what I think. Let me explain with an example, one facet of my demanding, stressful but rewarding career. As with many situations dealing with the human body, if one thing is wrong, it’s likely related to a broader problem. So this means that if I find something wrong with a fetus or even with an adult patient, I’m painstakingly searching for the associated findings. Consider Downs Syndrome for instance, heard of it? People like you probably dont know that a thickened nuchal fold ( the fold of skin behind the lower portion of the head), shortened nasal bone and limbs are all signs of it. Not to mention what we call “echogenic” (or brighter than usual) bowel and heart defects. If I find cancer in a man’s kidneys you better believe I’m ruling out that it has spread to the next likely places, the renal vein and inferior vena cava (the main vein in the body). Experience, multiple certifying registries and good schooling taught me all of that and more than you could imagine. In essence, you should thank that hospital. Because of them, one of their sonographers may find that tiny bit of bone out of place that prepares that family for the diagnosis of spina bifida, undistracted and fully focused. I commend the administration for advocating for their skilled, professional sonographers who just want to do their job, not be sued for negligent work (yes, we can get sued) and not just have family play time. You see, the doctors ask me what I saw, place their trust in ME. I saw it live and I could have easily missed something vital. The pictures they see are a representation of my opinion, each one I took myself, building my case for the diagnosis. THIS IS A MEDICAL EXAM FIRST, “cutesy” fun pictures and family visiting after…… granted the baby has a heart beat and isn’t missing it’s skull.

  28. I am hugely dissapointed at this article. Were the author someone who has any understanding of the NHS she would understand that her comment regarding the fact that the scans are looked at by a Radiologist outside of the scan room is preposterous and actually her assumption that the ruling has been put in place just for the comfort of staff. The US healthcare system and UK NHS are totally different in the way they operate and I think the author should better inform herself before passing judgement on a institution that is so important to so many people. Just to be clear the person doing the u/s (in an NHS hospital that is) is checking all the time they are scanning on babys health and development. Checking for sometimes very subtle differences from the norm that can signal catastrophic illnesses that need to be caught early. This cannot be done accurately with a child asking whats this, what’s thats or generally misbehaving. Before scoffing at how evil this hospital is please understand that in the UK at least these are highly diagnostic tests where the sonographer may have to give parents the worst of news. Do you really want that to happen in front of an excited child??

  29. Ultrasounds are absolutely not a family event. This is not picture taking, it’s a comprehensive exam of your CHILD! Why would you add unnecessary distractions for the technologist? Do you really want to distracted sonographer who is trying to examine an entire baby for dozens of diseases and congenital defects? One that is already a moving target, inside of another person who has to hold still? That hospital is looking out for your best interest and you only care that you can’t make it a family event? FYI they don’t know what they are looking at and only care for the 1st 30 seconds. So maybe not belittle an entire profession because they didn’t make evaluating your unborn child for life threatening defects fun for the whole family.

  30. Pretty weird there still isn’t any comments posted. The moderator can’t be that slow or behind. Or maybe it’s too embarrassing to the blogger to post them. Be the first to comment. Right. I’m willing to put money on the fact plenty of comments were recieved. How about a blog post offering an apology for the author’s ignorance of the medical field and knowledge of ultrasound?

  31. An obstetric ultrasound is not an entertainment scan, we are checking the health and wellbeing of the mother and baby. If you want the highest quality results dont bring distracting young children to your ultrasound. An article written by someone with no medical background and obviously no idea of the importance of obstetric sonography.

  32. What an utterly ignorant post. Clearly the health of the baby is not your major concern. As a sonographer, I find this article deeply concerning. Please adjust your views on this. You have NO idea how difficult and important this job is, and you see it as an entertainment session, and NOT the diagnostic and strenuous task that it indeed is. Sad. Educate yourself before posting such things in the future. You’re causing unnecessary entitlement here. Also, small children (heck, ADULTS) can’t even understand ultrasound when they look at it and are told what they are looking at! This is beyond belief. Ugh.

  33. It’s pretty shocking that you would form this opinion without even borthering to speak to a Sonographer honestly. Aside from your pregnancy ultrasounds, I’m sure you have very little knowledge on the subject based on your article. In my scanning room, I have no problem with well-behaved children accompanying their mom for a sonogram along with another adult… but that is usually not the case. Often times, patients bring multiple young children to appointments with no other adult to watch them. We end up being babysitters, having to interrupt our exams multiple times to stop children from running around the room, trying to open cabinets and drawers, going under the ultrasound beds, etc. It can be a liability and a safety issue. We have very little time to scan each patient, and really do not have time for all the interruptions. Somewhere along the way, society forgot the purpose of the ultrasound: it is a diagnostic medical test. There are plenty of other ways to make your children feel attached to their new sibling and involve them in the pregnancy aside from bringing them to your ultrasound! Bring them home ultrasound pictures of their new brother or sister, have a fun way to reveal the sex of the baby to them, let them help decorate the nursery, etc.

    Hilary Young, RDMS, RVT

  34. I understand your point of view but as a Sonographer I find this insulting. Ultrasound is not a mode of entertainment. I get that family’s enjoy watching them, but at the end of the day it is a diagnostic tool to evaluate the anatomy of your unborn child. I can work under pressure but why even take a small risk on missing something? I like the policy this hospital has come up with and I think if the family wants an ultrasound for entertainment and bonding they should go to one of those elective ultrasound places that are made for that. If they can’t afford that most hospitals can give you a copy of pictures or a disk to take home for your family to enjoy.

  35. Who is going to handle the kids when the baby doesn’t have a heartbeat?? Or has an abnormality not compatible with life? Is it still fun then? Ultrasounds are medical procedures, not a circus. If you want ultrasound for entertainment, go to a booth in the mall.
    -a highly trained OB sonographer

  36. Oh Gretchen….. U need to be educated. I thought your article was a Satire article because every statement you wrote was ridiculous. Take a physics class, educate yourself on ultrasound dynamics and rewrite your article.

  37. How come the comments from sonographers, some that even love close to the author of this ridiculous article, are not being published? This article is absurd and absolutely dangerous to the diagnostic ultrasound community. Let’s actually see the comments and concerns that you are refusing to publish!

  38. A prenatal ultrasound is a medical procedure to determine the health and well bring of the fetus. It is not a party or sideshow. Techologists strive to be thorough and accurate in their measurements which can be difficult on a moving target (mobile fetus/ mom distracted by young siblings and chatty relatives). What if an abnormality is discovered?? I’m giving the hospital the benefit of the doubt about this one.

  39. Wow. I’m sorry Gretchen, but you are clueless. I am an ultrasound technologist. What we do DOES require a lot of concentration. Having children running around in the exam room, stepping on our heels, trying to push buttons on our machine, crying to sit with their mom, along with many other scenarios that have happened to me personally, are a huge distraction. We are not just taking fun pictures of a baby. We are checking the babies health, and looking for potentially life theatening abnormalities. If we’re scanning a baby, and discover it doesn’t have a brain, doesn’t have a heartbeat, etc., would you really want the siblings in the room? There is just so much more to what we do than people realize. Our profession deserves respect. It’s not a fun show for the family. That’s my two cents.

  40. I had a scan 21 years ago should of been one of the best days of my life, it actually turned into the worst and changed my life forever. I remember like it was yesterday devastating news like that never leaves you. The sonograher was very kind to me and held me while l screamed I will never forget the pain she had in her eyes pain she felt for me and my unborn daughter. That day would of been a thousand times worse had my other child of been there to witness my devastation. I hope that you reconsider your views and maybe do a little more research.

  41. “And it’s not like they’re trying to read, review, or diagnose the ultrasound results with children present.” Please tell me you are not serious with this comment? Sonography is a very high intellect field and it takes much knowledge and focus to scan a baby’s anatomy. While you may be there to “find out the sex”, sonographers are there to determine your baby has all its vital organs and to make sure the brain and heart are properly developing. It is not an entertainment scan. It is a medical diagnostic scan. This is why it is in the HOSPITAL and not at a 3D entertainment business.

  42. This article is OFFENSIVE to Sonographers everywhere. Everyone thinks we are just “Button” pushers. We are the eyes for the Radiologists. The images we take are what the radiologist uses to dictate a report for the patient. We do not just push a button and obtain an abdominal circumstance, or a head measurement. Children and other family members are a distraction to the medical scan. Anatomical Surveys are not to find out gender, and to get a pretty profile picture. They are to look over the growing fetus and make sure all parts of the fetus are growing. All other “pretty” pictures are BONUS and are the fun part of the scan. Obstetrical Sonograms are not fun and games, they are a vital part of prenatal care. Gretchen, check your facts before you go making offensive articles.

  43. The writer of this article is clearly a moron who has no respect for another’s profession. How about you perform the ultrasound and see if having tons of people in the room will distract. Before you write such a disrespectful article you should do your research.

  44. This is an extremely ignorant and frankly offensive response to this hospital’s protocol. As a sonographer, I know firsthand the effects of a distracting crowd. I actually have come to dislike OB ultrasounds mostly because of the family members. Saying that we need more training if we are distracted by family is very ignorant. I have had screaming babies, cranky and misbehaving toddlers, irate fathers over the gender of their baby; you name it. Please try sitting down to a blog post and have someone screaming in your ear and pulling your keyboard away from you and see how well you can get your work done. Some of these scans can take up to an hour. It’s great that you had healthy babies, but we need a quiet environment to check these kids over for hundreds of things that could be wrong with them, and a lot of these potential things are extremely subtle.
    Perhaps a happy medium could be reached by letting family members in for the tail-end of the ultrasound, which is what I have done in my many years of scanning. Having had kids myself, I know how exciting it is to have an ultrasound. There are actually places that allow you to have a “fun” ultrasound to show off to family and friends. The hospital is for when you come in bleeding at 2am or for finding out your baby has a fatal deformity.
    Please think twice before disrespecting an entire medical profession.

  45. You aren’t a technologist are you? That’s pretty obvious considering your comments and having no knowledge as to what we are actually doing during those exams. We (the technologists) are NOT “just looking for the sex”. We are looking at each part of the the fetal anatomy to make sure each organ is in its correct place, the placenta isn’t covering the cervix, that there aren’t any abnormalities that we see…all of this is done BEFORE a doctor even sees they exam. It’s not necessarily a Radiologist that’s reading the exams, it more than likely is an actual OB/GYN that will ask US our opinion before coming in and scanning for themselves. Extra people in the room distract from the quality of the scan being done. If we aren’t able to fully pay attention to what we’re looking at, the quality of the exam suffers, and the potential for missed problems goes way up.
    Shame on you for thinking we as technologists are being selfish, and all we do are take pictures. We lost certainly ARE diagnosing the exam in the room….we just don’t have the MD behind our names to actually tell you what we see.
    How about next time you actually do your research into someone else’s job before writing an entire article that’s nothing but your opinion.

  46. You took a stab at this but im afraid you are egregiously under informed about this subject. The sonographer provides all the measurements, characteristics and probable abnormalities to the reading physician in a short synopsis after the imaging is finished. The radiologist always relies on the impression and measure of the sonographer to make the final reading. There is not an equivalent to this other medical scenarios. The closest I can think of are a surgical assistant or a physician assistant. I draw this comparison based on the degree of reliance between the 2 parties. The radiologist severely leans on the impression of the sonographer because they were present during the dynamic scan. They witnessed the live scan. The radiologist sees a worksheet of numbers and static images from this exam. They rely heavily on the experience and knowledge of the sonographer, more so than
    a medical layman would think. This relationship of trust is monumental in the diagnosis of your unborn child. I can assure you that a room of noise and distraction do not warrant additional training for the expert sonographer. They do however confirm your genuine concern for your future offspring.

  47. As a Sonographer I’m going to have to disagree with this uneducated author. This is just another example of the mass misunderstanding of the general public of what ultrasound actually is! It is not a horse and pony show to entertain the family and let you know if you’re finally getting your girl, in fact the gender is literally the last thing on my mind when I begin your exam. Yes it can be enjoyed and it can be fun but not for your 20 week anatomy exam I’m sorry but I am concentrating trying to make sure your child DOES in fact come out with not only 10 toes and fingers but without a spinal defect, atresia, anencephaly, situs inversus, or many other chromosomal and/or anatomical abnormalities etc… I am trying to ensure that if you’re child needs emergency surgery minutes after delivery he or she has the proper surgeon and NICU team ready and waiting. This is not a peep show and no we are not physicians, but guess what your OBGYN is not a Sonographer and they don’t have training to look for all of the signs we do on a daily basis. And guess what? if we don’t tell them there is an anomaly they don’t know about it sometimes until it is tragically too late. So in other words Gretchen I don’t care if you don’t like this rule, it’s to protect not only your unborn child but everyone else’s, so honestly get over it. Maybe you should stick to writing articles about something you are educated about such as marketing, sewing, or yoga pants.

  48. You are very ignorant. What if the professional, registered Sonographer (the one who went to school to her the education to perform the exam) putsbthe probe down and no heartbeat? Hydrops? Heart defect? The anatomy scan is not for entertainment. It is a diagnostic medical exam. If you want entertainment go pay for it at one of those dog and pony 3D places. Having your little crotch monkeys running around during your exam is a distraction and can interfere with the DIAGNOSTIC exam. Sonographers need to be able to pay attention to what they are doing and by saying “train us better.” Get out of here with that. We are all highly trained in our skill.

  49. So this article is very upsetting, uneducated and biased. Sonograms are NOT a family affair. The sole purpose of a sonogram is to ensure the health and well being of the unborn fetus and the health of the mother carry the child. It is not meant to be a “bonding” experience for family members. There is a time and a place for bonding and your medical exam is neither the time nor place. A sonographer should absolutely not be expected to work with little children running around the room. Would you like to be at work, trying to do something important with children crying, fussing, talking, etc? No? Well neither does the sonographer. Their job is to document any abnormality whether it is obvious or something subtle. If it is not visualized by the sonographer, the doctor does not see it either. Please have some respect for our medical professionals. Have your children bond with your child after it’s born.

  50. “Let’s be real. The medical field is inherently a busy place full of distractions. Take the emergency room, for example, should we no longer allow noise and interruptions there? I mean, those doctors need to carry out tests and concentrate too! Probably more so than a sonographer.”

    “How about you better train your staff to do their job with a little background noise? Then, families can unite in the joy of hearing baby’s heartbeat, finding out the sex, and growing a bond through visually seeing their new child/sibling.”

    First of all, you sound completely ignorant and should probably learn what the ACTUAL job of a sonographer is before saying that we don’t need to concentrate as much as the radiologist. Do you know everything that we look for at your “gender” scan? We are making sure your baby has 10 fingers and 10 toes. We are looking to make sure the bones are growing properly, that he/she has a working bladder, two kidneys and the proper flow going to and from the umbilical cord. We are evaluating the heart to make sure everything is growing properly so your child won’t need multiple heart surgeries as soon as its born. We are evaluating the brain, the spine, the stomach. That profile shot you love to have printed off? That is for us to make sure your baby has a nasal bone. The gender is the LEAST important part of our scan.

    Are these something you’d want missed on your child? We are the ones who are finding the anomalies. If an ultrasonographer misses something during this very important 20 week ultrasound, it could mean your baby will not get the proper care once its born. We do not just put our “magic wands” down and everything shows up for the radiologist to read. This is a very tech dependent job, something which we definitely need to concentrate when performing.

    You need a better argument. You should educate yourself better as to what we do before writing your next article about how we don’t need any concentration to do our jobs.

  51. You my friend are clueless about what a Sonographer actually does or what we are responsible for. It’s all fun and games until we miss something due to unruly children/ guests of patients. If we don’t see an anomaly no one sees it until that baby comes out. So I suggest you do a little research & find out what my job entails. You might learn something.

  52. If you don’t know anything about Diagnostic Sonography, please don’t write an article about it. We are the ones that write up the report that your doctor signs off on. We are the eyes and ears of the doctor. Please don’t kid yourself into thinking we don’t know what we’re looking at. We make it look easy because we’re highly trained at what we do. I have a feeling that you would be the first to complain if something was missed because we were distracted by the child trying to play with our machine, or almost falling off their chair. The anatomy scan is not entertainment, and it is not for gender. It is to check the ANATOMY of the baby to make sure they are alright. This is when congenital heart defects are found, and syndromes that could kill your baby. You should be happy that we take our job seriously enough to stop it from turning into a circus. You should have respect for the people that are trying to protect you and your baby.

  53. This is 100% the opinion of ignorance. I am a Sonographer. And just today my co-worker discovered anencephaly during the anatomy scan. SHE found it. Not the physician. HER. And to have a 2 year old and five other family member states in the room is completely not the time. Let me put it into perspective. You are driving. You have 5+ people laughing and being rambunctious in the car. You are driving in an area you have never been and you are trying to find an alley that is not clearly marked. Music is up loud. What is your response? Typically it is to yell at the people in the car to be quiet and then subsequently turning the music off. Let me guess…..you need some quiet to concentrate? Another example. Picture doing a task. I don’t care what it is but it would require concentration. Do you want people breathing down your neck asking what are you doing? Why are you doing that? What’s that mean? I don’t understand what you are doing…hopefully you get the picture. Obtaining heart views can be extremely difficult. I am scanning something the size of a quarter in a person WITHIN a person and dealing with adipose tissue. Some of these vessels are the size of a pen tip. I NEED to see them. I want to find anything of potential that could harm YOUR baby. And if I find it and if we know in time, the outcome to YOUR baby can be exponentially higher. If you want to be angry because you can’t have a viewing gallery to a medical procedure that can find LIFE THREATENING ANOMALIES in YOUR OWN CHILD, then you are unable to see the forest for the trees. Go ahead and get angry. I will prioritize you child’s health for you.

  54. Sonographers aren’t “Sears Portrait Studio”
    Just FYI, Gretchen… your sonographer is doing an exam if your baby. A medical exam, not just taking pictures. Your sonographer isn’t just coming into see the radiologist of MFM saying, “hmm I dunno… something doesn’t seem right?” Your sonographer is coming to the reading physician with a diagnosis, differential diagnoses, discusses and it with the physician. It’s a medical exam done my manipulating sounds, applying knowledge of acoustic physics (of which they’re required to take several semesters and aboard emac ONLY in physics before being able to sit for their speciality boards), on a moving fetus who’s heart is the size of a small coin.

    Would you want your sonographer to be distracted? So please, leave your children home unless you have zero child care (have a heart for single moms).

  55. I think this is an inherently disrespectful post to sonographers. An expectant mother is there to make sure her baby has a beating heart – not the genitalia they were hoping for. It’s beyond rude to state in one sentence that sonographers should be expected to do your “gender scan” with the same pressures of an ER then in the same note imply their job is relatively meaningless. Just because you are ignorant (to the amount of education and skills a sonographer is using mid exam to take measurements and ensure your baby’s vital organs are developing correctly) doesn’t mean your sonographer will do you the same discourtesy and write an article about how stay at home moms should have no right to voice their opinion on medical procedures. Please be courteous to the people caring for the human life you’re developing (seemingly you’re more concerned with which color balloons you’ll need to buy.)

  56. I love it when an article is written by someone who is blatantly ignorant of the subject. The ” Doctor” may have the final say but unless we see it, document it, describe it, ( where and what we think it is) it will NOT documented. Also as a person in this field I am really tired of the assumption that we are here for your entertainment. It IS STILL a medical exam! Unless you have been the one to find a fetal demise or baby with anencephaly (YOU may have to google that) while a whole family asks “Why can’t you just tell me if it is a boy or a girl so we can get out of here!” Then your opinion is void. I also would like to note that small children can be a nightmare during an ultrasound…they press buttons on the machine, cry when the lights go out and even dig in the medical garbage. Wonder what gwould happen if the child was contaminated? Who would be liable then? The sonographer? Or the hospital? I bet you would have a article for that too!

  57. Job Duties of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. … A diagnostic medical Sonographer, or ultrasound technician, is a person who uses ultrasound machines to view and interpret images with sound waves for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.
    While I agree it is wonderful for parents to be able to see their bundle, I disagree with your opinion of this policy. The Sonographer is trying to perform a medical exam to not only to find the gender and show the heart beat. Their job is to make sure that the baby has two arms/two legs, no heart defects, no brain defects, among other important images. Typically at least 100 specific images to ensure that the baby you are carrying is healthy and does not require medical intervention. This all being done on a moving target. Add a roomful of people wanting to ask the Sonographer questions, children running around the room, crying, etc. Even a wonderful multi-tasker has increased potential of missing items under those circumstances. Even god forbid you are a mother wanting to put on a show of your little one and there is no heart beat. Would you be relieved to have the private moment with your partner vs a crowd room.
    These are realities that are seen in this profession. There are places that do ultrasounds for fun (after people have been in for medical exams) , these are a much better atmosphere to bring in large groups, and children. I commend this hospital for standing up for their staff, and their patient care with this policy.

  58. You obviously know nothing about what utrasongraphers do. All analyzing is done during the scan itself. If we don’t see it, the doctor won’t see it. This is not an exam done for fun and bonding ( although I try to make it that way), it’s a diagnostic exam to make sure your child is healthy. Seeing all the anatomy in just the right way to rule out abnormalities or birth defects Is a very intricate process that requires intense concentration.

  59. You obviously know nothing about what an ultrasound is for. It is a medical exam period. It is not a fun family affair. It is not a gender reveal exam. Most kids under 12 have zero interest in the ultrasound and are soon a BIG distraction. Leave them home and make this time about you, your husband, and the new baby.

  60. They are making sure that your baby:
    Is alive
    Has a 4 chamber heart
    Has all parts of the brain
    Has kidneys/bladder
    Has all organs INSIDE the body, bc it CAN happen
    Doesn’t have spina bifida
    Doesn’t have any skeletal dysplasia, etc

    So, yes, young children in the room can be distracting! It’s not a show! If said sonographer missed something bc you HAD to have your entire family there, you’d be the first person to sue! GET A CLUE!!

  61. The entitlement here is obscene. It isn’t about you and what you want. A fetal anatomy sonogram is to check the HEALTH and ANATOMY of the fetus, not entertain the whole family. It is vital that a sonographer is able to concentrate on the exam to obtain the images the physician needs to see. A physician can’t interpret an exam unless all the proper images are there, genius. Guess who chooses which images get stored for the physician? THE SONOGRAPHER. If your little angel knocks over the trash or starts kicking the sonographer’s chair, screaming, or worse, the sonographer may lose focus on the exam and miss something very important.
    It has to be a blanket policy to ban small children because these things actually happen on a regular basis. A fetal anatomy scan is scheduled in advance, unless it is done EMERGENTLY then you have ample time to make arrangement for small children.

    Yeesh.

  62. So you are saying that is selfish that a medical professional wants to concentrate on their job of ensuring that a pregnancy is healthy? Are you an idiot? It is a medical test not a fun outing to the zoo. The sonographer has to look at the tiniest of details on a very small moving baby to ensure that all of its brain structures are correct, that the heart is formed normally and has all the right connections, that baby is growing appropriately, and that there is nothing that would put either the baby or the mother’s life in danger! While I understand that the parents are excited…let’s not forget that the point of this exam is to check for congenital birth defects! Do you know what a corpus callosum is? Well the sonographer does…and let me tell you it is miniscule on ultrasound. Absence of it can have severe consequences involving the seizures and severe mental retardation. Do you want your other kids there when I tell you your baby doesn’t have a heart beat, or a brain, or some other abnormalities that are not compatible with life?!?
    Picture this…you are given 30 minutes to fully evaluate a baby to ensure it and the mother’s health…it’s moving and not in the best position…you think you see something “off” and you need to evaluate further….now throw in a screaming toddler…or THREE spirited kids climbing around the room trying to pick up a “wand” to play with (that happens to cost $20,000 and go in people’s vaginas!)…do you think that helps? If the parent wants a “fun” ultrasound they can go to a private pay imaging center that does them.

  63. The Children’s hospital near me as well as the smaller in town hospital do not let small children in ultrasound exam rooms. During these such exams sonographers are doing much more than measurements, more like in search for abnormalities. If you want to a “meet and great” there are many ultrasound business that offer huge rooms do you can bring lots and lots of people!! But these at hospitals are medically based and should be treated as so!!

  64. First off, this is complete and utterbullshit. Do you have any idea of the level of skill necessary to properly perform an obstetrical ultrasound? Your sonographer is absolutely responsible for being able to diagnose an abnormality when she sees one – the radiologist is only going to see what the tech images. If your noisy, distracting child is in the room for this VERY important exam and the tech misses something minute and potentially vital, the radiologist is not going to be able to diagnose the issue – because it won’t be in the image. An ultrasound is an extremely important MEDICAL exam, it is not for entertainment, bonding, or any other frivolous purpose – places exist that offer those services, and they are not hospitals. Your entertainment or “family milestone” should not be more important to you than the health of your unborn child. These are extremely difficult and technical exams, far more complex than just imaging body parts and determining gender. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

    Sincerely, a sonographer, someone who actually knows what she is talking about

  65. The 20 week anatomy scan IS NOT done to “find out the sex,” it is done to rule out HUNDREDS of different fetal anamolies, which if the sonographer misses, the radiologist also misses.

  66. “And it’s not like they’re trying to read, review, or diagnose the ultrasound results with children present.”

    Beg to differ, but we do. It’s just not the official result here in the US. Sonographers must vary exams continuously based on what we see and hear…guiding our exams to produce images which tell the complete story to the interpreting physician.

    Let me put it this way…would you prefer that the sonographer work in an environment where he/she can devote their ENTIRE cognitive self to the process of identifying potential problems/diseases (because ultrasounds are used for MORE than just determining gender and delivery date) or that we allow a group of seven (spouse, wife’s parents, best friend, three kids) in the room during the exam (complete with all of their questions, interruptions, phones going off, requests to pause because “I have to take Johnnie to the bathroom”, and uncomfortably warm exam rooms due to excessive body heat put out by a committee of family members)?

    I would suggest you work for a few days in our shoes, but you’re not qualified. I would bet that you could find thousands of families who would advocate for your point of view on this. I would also bet that you wouldn’t find many (if any) sonographers who would support your stated position.

    My suggestion? Take your “committee” of family members to a boutique ultrasound setting OUTSIDE of a hospital for the opportunity to feel good about the pictures on the screen. Yes, it’s a wonderful experience. But we’re here in a hospital setting primarily to ensure good health or determine risk and potential heartbreak.

  67. I have a question for you. If your reasoning, that would make sense, about ‘children’s exposure to ultrasound’ would make sense to you to have them not be there. Ok, my question is, are you not getting an ultrasound of your unborn child??? If it is safe for the baby, then it is safe for everyone. Please read up on the bio-effects of ultrasound and educate yourself on this.

  68. Gretchen,
    Have you ever been a sonographer trying to scan a baby who doesn’t have a heart beat, or is missing half it’s skull, and the family just keeps asking what’s that, or why aren’t they moving and you can’t tell them a thing. I’m sure by the content of this article you have no idea what it is like to be a sonographer. Your article is ignorant to songraphers, you do not understand what our job is like, to most of you all it is is taking pictures and tell people the sex of their baby. Well news flash we do much more important things than that, honestly we could careless the sex of your baby, we wanna make sure your baby has a heart beat, has all of their limbs, and no malformations. So yes when there are little children running around behind us and getting into things in our room it is hard to concentrate on the patient. I am a sonographer who deeply cares for her patients, but I am not a babysitter. My job is to take care of the patient and their baby, not the 5 kids they bring into the room with them. I am happy to give the family pictures of the baby when I am finished which then they can take home and show to their children. Also most hospitals have this policy and limit the number of guests in the room, and do not allow children of any age in the room. Before you write another article maybe you should do some research and understand the other side.

  69. And you are exactly the reason I stopped performing OB ultrasound. Entitled people like you who have absolutely no respect for a highly trained professional trying to perform a MEDICAL exam. A fetal survey is performed to detect numerous signs of potential defects that may need surgical intervention immediately after birth, or even conditions incompatible with life. It is not for your entertainment. If you need to have a “bonding” moment, go to a non medical, entertainment scan and leave the professionals to do their job. Before you write something like this, take one minute to research exactly what a registered sonographer really has to observe in a survey. Then multiply that by ten times a day, five days a week. Now picture doing it while family members are hovering over your shoulder, kids crying and running around the room, people asking questions. Do you know how many times I have started the exam to find that there is no heartbeat, no skull, no kidneys? Now try to record all the details while everyone is reacting to the shock and your next three patients are waiting for their exam. Good for that hospital, standing up for their professionals! I applaud them.

  70. The sonographer actually is reading, interpreting and diagnosing in the room as he/she performs the ultrasound. It’s a medical test. A 3D/4D ultrasound facility is the place for bonding and having a party, not the hospital setting. This medical exam really isn’t the place for children especially when bad news needs to be discussed.

  71. This author needs to do some research!
    Here in the U.K. we do read, review and diagnose in the ultrasound room and we tell the parents of the results too!
    The ultrasound scan is the only way the OB can become aware of a problem so the Sonographer being able to concentrate is essential.
    Supposing a problem is found, the Sonographer has to think about how to impart that devastating news knowing the children will want to know why their mummy is crying.
    I have 3 children and none of them came to any of my scans because the main aim of the examination is to ensure the baby is healthy and free of any abnormalities. It is not for a child to bond with its new brother or sister!

  72. Wow!! Just Wow! Please excuse me in advance for any writing errors, as I am a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, not a writer. I don’t pretend to be an expert in your profession as you seem to be in ours. Let me ask you, would you expect to stay in the OR while a surgeon was performing surgery or accompany your loved one into an X-Ray room? There are reasons why you may not be present for these very important MEDICAL tests/procedures just as there are reasons why family members should not be present for the entire ultrasound scan. That being said most sonographers would probably agree that inviting family into the exam room at the end of the test is encouraged.

    What you don’t seem to know is how much concentration it takes to evaluate your unborn child for things like a beating heart, brain abnormalities such as hydrocephalus, placenta previa, cystic hygromas just to name a few. Not to mention the fact that we have protocols we must adhere to and if we forget to take a specific view or image of something we may have to call you (the patient) back in for additional images. Which I’m sure, would now be an inconvenience to you.
    Please also remember that all families are not the same, just as all children are not always perfectly well behaved. I have had young children climb on and off of the stretchers to be next to mom. Much of what we do requires the patient to be still. I have had children climb on and off of chairs in doing so could potentially get hurt. And I have had children run in and out of my room and up and down busy hospital hallways where REAL sick patients are waiting for tests. RULES are made for a reason and while not all of this may pertain to you and your family you should respect them or go to a facility where you pay $$$ for a “show and tell” Ultrasound or of course your family could also wait patiently in the waiting room, until the diagnostic portion of the test is over, to be inviting in to view your baby.
    You are right about one thing “the medical field is an inherently busy place, full of distractions”. However you are wrong in saying we are “not trying to read, review, or diagnose the Ultrasound. We are in fact doing all of that. Our tests directly affects the way the Radiologist look at our still images and report on the case.
    “Better train your staff to do their job with a little background noise?”!!!! I bet you get your best work done while your kids are running around your house yelling, screaming, and climbing on furniture. Even your adult family members are a distraction. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I say I will discuss everything with you at the end of the test, Daddy still puts his fingers on my screen asking if it is a boy or girl. And continues asking questions the entire time. All of which I already said I’d be happy to answer once the test is complete. Please try and remember this is a MEDICAL test which does require concentration and we are trying to ensure that you AND your family are receiving the best test possible with 100% percent of our attention. Believe it or not your Doctor did not order and Ultrasound for you so you would know the gender of your child. While this is a super exciting time and very important information for your gender reveal party, insurance companies don’t pay all this money for gender reveals or bonding. Please remember this is about the health of your unborn baby!

    I for one wish more hospitals would restrict any guest from coming into the exam room until the test is complete.

  73. You don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about. If you really knew the role(s) a sonographer actually plays, you may rethink this absurd article. You should consider educating yourself before assuming the hospital staff to be selfish. You only made yourself look dumb.

  74. If the Sonographer misses something, then the radiologist misses it. A radiologist can’t diagnose something that isn’t documented. Fewer distractions are better for everyone. Their jobs are for the well being of the fetus, and not to entertain the family. Hospitals need to take a step back from customer service and excessive accommodation of patients’ guests. I don’t know many children that like to sit quietly in a dark room for 45 minutes. Your post sounds like a selfish rant instead of being a voice for kids that desire to be in a dark room with a blurry screen. Let mom and her 1 person focus on the ultrasound instead of chasing other children. Depending on age, kids have jumped on the bed and mom, and unplugged the machine causing a $50,000 computer short. There are pictures made available of the fun, highlight worthy portion of the ultrasound. This rant of yours was passionate, but misguided.

  75. Fetal surveys are a medical exam, not a family affair. They are intended to evaluate the well being of your fetus. Sonographers play a much larger role in diagnosing medical complications with your pregnancy than you realize, and having a distracting work environment could cause a sub-optimal exam. For your information, the Radiologist would not even be aware of any issues with the pregnancy unless the Sonographer identifies it and takes images of it, so to say that we “aren’t trying to read, review, or diagnose the ultrasound results with children present” is 100% inaccurate. The same is true for any other type of ultrasound, or medical procedure. Do you see family members in the operating room taking pictures and having a picnic during surgery? No, you do not. Why? Because the surgeon has to concentrate. You should keep your uneducated and ignorant opinions to yourself unless you have gone to college for Sonography, passed the registry board exams, and have practiced in my field.

  76. You are obviously not a sonographer. We do more than take pictures. We are the eyes of the radiologists. If we cannot concentrate to do our job and make sure the baby is ok from brain to toes how can the radiologist know there might be a problem? We may not officially read the study but we have to know what we are looking at to do our job. I’ve done OB for 3 years and the hardest scans are the anatomy scans. And to try to look at those tiny little details with a 2 year old screaming and slamming cabinet doors and running around the room is frustrating at best. Or trying to scan in a tiny room with 14 people crammed into it because mom-to-be just had to have her entire family there. I do understand it is an exciting time- I have two children- I remember that excitement, but it is also a diagnostic test. Would you bring an audience for a CT scan? It is one thing if there is another adult present to take care of the child/children, but a lot of patients bring younger children and expect us to watch them in addition to doing our jobs. Maybe not everyone under 12 should be excluded but unfortunately not all parents use common sense when expecting a young child to be quiet for 30 minutes-1 hour. I applaud the hospital for protecting their employees! Not enough places do that these days.

  77. You clearly know nothing about a sonographer’s role. You say interpretation doesn’t happen in the ultrasound room, but that is flat out wrong. A radiologist does the official diagnosing after the study is done by asking the sonographer “what did you see?” A sonographer MUST be able to interpret in order to do the job. So I’m trying to determine if a human moving around inside another human has any number of thousands of possible anomalies, all while having Cheerios thrown at me, the phone ripped off the wall, and screaming/hitting fights between siblings. These and more have all happened to me, while I’m trying to determine if the great vessels of the baby’s heart are positioned just right, or if it’s likely baby will turn blue after birth and need resuscitation. Yes, that is a sonographer’s responsibility. Educate yourself, this is a medical test, not show and tell.

  78. Gretchen,

    You clearly are not educated on what it takes to perform an ultrasound. I have been a Sonographer for 5 years and can tell you it is the most challenging and stressful career I have ever had. My employer has the same one-person rule, and believe it or not, that rule is there to protect your unborn child. The amount of concentration and precision it takes to perform a fetal anatomical survey is staggering. It is very easy for us to miss something that could potentially be life-threatening for you or your child. While we are babysitting your other child during a diagnostic procedure, we could miss spina bifida, omphalocele, transposition of the great vessels, and the list goes on and on. Every image we take is diagnostic and helps to rule out defects. While you may think the radiologist is the one that does all the work, you would be wrong again. If we don’t see it, they don’t see it. And as far as finding out the gender…we don’t really even need to tell you. It is not part of a diagnostic study unless other defects are seen. You are lucky we all take the time to give you that little tidbit. So next time you fly off the handle on something you know nothing about…Don’t!

  79. You obviously have no idea what a sonographer does. It is up to us to determine if there is something wrong! No, we can’t tell you, that’s the radiologists job, but WE are the ones who let them know what’s going on. It’s a medical exam, not a show and tell……..

  80. An ultrasound is a diagnostic medical exam. If you want entertainment do to your b or pay for a 3D/4D experience. There is so much more than looking at a heartbeat and gender. These exams have to be precise and it does take focus to do them. The person doing the exam needs to have eyes constantly on the screen. Your last statement is very disrespectful and unnecessary. How about you educate yourself a little more about what Sonographers do and the roles in which ultrasounds pay in the medical field and then you can have an opinion.

  81. Gretchen, As a sonographer of 40+years, I felt compelled to respond to your post. Your misconception of what a sonographer does leads to your foolish comments. An ultrasound exam is VERY dependent on what the sonographer sees. Who do you think gets the images? They are not there for the taking–one works very hard to obtain the best possible images for DIAGNOSIS. Yes, the tech IS capable of knowing what is being seen. Distractions can be the cause of a missed structure or anomaly. The radiologist can only read the images he is given. Just remember the exam is DIAGNOSTIC and not to find out the sex of the baby and hear the heartbeat. There are those places to go and get “fun” pictures of the baby where everyone can attend.

  82. Hm. Well let me start with saying this. Your horse is VERY high ma’am. Maybe I shouldn’t even be commenting since my job is ONLY to snap photos. Oh hell, I’ll go on. Not only do sonographers go through extensive training, studying, tests, and clinicals just to graduate school, our time and money go into sitting for area specific board exams in order to be able to even PERFORM your exam. This exam is absolutely NOT a family affair, although out of courtesy most of us tend to narrate, answer questions as we can throughout the exam, and work very hard to get you the perfect little profile picture that will sit in your baby’s baby book forever. In between answering what I think the gender is and “does my baby have a tail”, I’m looking to make sure all of the ventricles in the brain are measuring correctly, that all 4 chambers of the heart are present, that your baby doesn’t have life threatening syndromes like Turners Syndrome. I’m making sure that your baby doesn’t have echogenic bowel, and I wait and wait for your baby to turn over so I can get the required images in one exam, therefore making it possible for more people to schedule exams. My schedule isn’t just full of happy expectant moms. I’ve found cancer in young men, I’ve gotten the photos that will break a woman’s soul when she finds out her baby has no heartbeat, I’ve found breast cancer on women not much older than myself. I look for the details I’ll be reporting to the radiologist. We are the eyes for the radiologist. People come in and say “well how do you know what you’re looking at?” I studied, I practiced, I learned. I worked 3 jobs to be able to afford to sit for my board exams. So yes, I do need to concentrate. The meltdown that your 3 year old has while I’m in the middle of scanning could cause me to miss a vital anomaly because mom starts moving on my table, baby starts screaming for mom and I can’t focus on anything but the thoughts in my head of why is your toddler here? They won’t remember this, the have NO IDEA whats going on, and all you seem to care about is the gender of your new baby. On a personal note, I don’t necissarily mind kids in the room. I’ve done plenty of anatomy screenings with them. However, it’s one of those situations where one person ruins it for the masses. You can tell me your child is a perfect angel, but then they have a meltdown or they are so distracted that it distracts the mom on my table or the dad that’s supposed to be “sharing this experience”. In the states there are specific facilities for entertainment scans, that focus on the gender, the cute photos, etc. Those facilities offer better accommodations than my medical exam room. I’ll end with this. I absolutely LOVE my job. I love the ob/gyn portion of it the most. I work very hard to please my patients and then I go home to rest and come back and do it all over again. It’s extremely disheartening when someone comes in and demeans what I do. It hurts MY soul because this is what I’ve dedicated my time to. This is my contribution to the world, and it makes me sad to see it dismissed because I would prefer to focus on making sure your baby is healthy.

  83. Wow! You really should do your homework stay at home Mom Gretchen. Your anatomy ultrasound is not meant to be a dog and pony show. It’s a DIAGNOSTIC exam to prove and or disprove that your unborn baby is healthy. Like does it have a healthy brain, or even a head for that matter because guess what? That can happen. Or how about does your baby have legs? Because that happens too. We are not there to entertain you and your family. Our only concern is that we are able to do the absolute best job possible on that precious little life inside of you. Not dealing with the two year in the room throwing cheerios at us the whole time, and yes, that happens too. Maybe you should view the exam and the profession of Sonographer for what it is. A DIAGNOSTIC exam performed by a HIGHLY trained professional.

  84. The author of this article should really do some research on what the job of a Sonographer actually entails, because it is apparent she has absolutely no clue. Our job is not to “just show a heart beat and show the gender”, and being that the author is pregnant with her fourth child and undoubtedly has had many sonograms she should very well know by now that there is a million things we look for. Does this baby have spina bifida? Is there sacral agenesis? Is there transposition of the vessels? Is there any malformations of the brain? Are the orbits a normal distance apart? Is there agenesis of the corpus callosum? How’s the waveform of the ductus venous? Is the bowel echogenicity within normal limits? Any atrial or ventral defects in the heart? Is there any sign of gastrochisis at the cord insert? Is there a stomach bubble or is there a double bubble? I can go on with a million other anomalies we are looking for to HELP you and your unborn baby just in case there is, so do you really want your Sonographer (the one who essentially goes and reports to the Doctor what they see and the Doctor in essence just goes off our word and the images WE choose to present to them) distracted by your crying, screaming children when it can be a matter of life and death of your baby? Yeah… I didn’t think so.

  85. This is extremely ignorant and offensive. You have no idea what all is entailed in an anatomy scan. It’s not performed solely as a luxury for the mother, it’s an extremely detailed diagnostic test. My job is to look at dozens of points on the baby, evaluate for abnormalities, take measurements, all while attempting to keep multiple people in a room happy so I don’t get a complaint, even though my primary purpose is to make sure every baby I see is healthy. Did you know, the reading physician only receives the pictures we send, not a video of the entire scan? Do you understand how critical that makes it for my eyes to see a ventricular septal defect? Or cleft lip? Or club foot? Or a congenital diaphragmatic hernia? Do you want me to go on? What I am saying is, if there is a problem and we don’t see it, the doctor will not see it either. You’re writing about something you do not understand at all as if it is fact. I cannot tell you how horribly distracting it is to have 6 people in the room, as well as a screaming child. Children do not enjoy going to ultrasounds. This is at least a 30 minute test, mostly looking at things that are not “cute”. A small child’s attention span cannot last that long. I have had multiple experiences in which I’ve also had to play a babysitter, because parents and family members are too distracted with the ultrasound to pay attention to the other child. Now, how can you honestly expect me to evaluate multiple extensive angles on a heart the size of my pinky nail, all while entertaining loud family members, and trying to make sure a child isn’t going to be electrocuted playing with outlets or find something on the floor to choke on. It’s not as if I need complete silence to do my job. I have worked with the loud family members who ask a million questions, the screaming children, and I have a good attitude with my patients! Because most of them genuinely don’t know better. This article though…trash. GOOD FOR THIS HOSPITAL for standing up for its employees!!! There are places patients can go and pay to have a “fun” ultrasound, look at the face, hear the heartbeat, etc.. THAT is the place to bring your family members and children. That is the correct environment to have distractions, noise, and excited family members and children.

  86. Hi Gretchen,
    I feel you may need to learn what a Sonographers job actually entails – how important their role is in the health of the babies growing inside their mums tums and how incorrect your statement of “And it’s not like they’re trying to read, review, or diagnose the ultrasound results with children present” is, because that is EXACTLY what they are doing, you just don’t notice it because they are also trying to make you as a future mother comfortable and relaxed, while remaining professional especially when they see something unexpected. Load noises can help miss that small heart murmur, and lower the ability to concertrate on developing valves, spine and brain tissues. So please don’t under estimate the true importance of a sonographer.

  87. Its a medical exam. I know it may not seem like it to the general public. Sonographers are looking for heart defects on a baby that usually weighs 8-11 ounces-that’s very tiny. Sonographers are looking for brain abnormalities, skeletal deformities, and a myriad of other abnormalities. I think it’s more important that a sonographer concentrate on the health of the unborn baby than if the family’s ten year old is entertained.

  88. I am a sonographer for an OB/Gyn. I agree that an ultrasound can be a bonding experience for the family. However, if you were trying to write for your job and you had someone screaming in the room the whole time, how efficient would you be?
    Ultrasound is more than offering a bonding experience. It is true that it can be a wonderful experience, but first and foremost, it is a DIAGNOSTIC test. I am there to make sure that baby doesn’t have any abnormalities. Do you really want your child there when I tell you that your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat (1 in 3 pregnancies in the 1st trimester ends in miscarriage), or is missing fingers, or God forbid, is missing it’s brain? The risk is low, yes, but these things do happen and it can be devastating for a child to experience this. I have seen it first hand. It is also hard for the parents, to deal with their emotions, let their kids see them sobbing uncontrollably in grief, and having them ask questions that you don’t have an answer to or don’t want to answer at that time.
    There are exceptions to the rule of course, but how do you generalize and determine that for all?
    I personally, don’t have a problem with families being brought in after I make sure everything is ok.
    I think we all need to remember that we don’t always have a good outcome. Obviously, that is what we want, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen.
    I also agree that 12 may be a little old. 5 and younger would be better as long as they wait outside for the diagnostic part to be over. This also ensures there is someone there to watch you child if something is wrong and it takes longer than expected.
    It’s not that we are trying to be mean…but we do need focus to look at all the organs and systems in your child’s body are there and appear normal.

  89. This article is ignorant. A sonographer can’t diagnose, but they absolutely have every understanding of what is in the image before showing it to the doctor for confirmation. Anatomy scans are not for fun, they are to ensure your baby is healthy, and they are highly operator dependent. A fetal heart is the size of a raisin, and the sonographer is responsible for seeing and then documenting exactly how all the tiny parts are working. An anomaly in the brain or kidneys could be just a couple of milimeters wide. A distraction could easily lead to a devastating diagnosis being missed. Sonographers don’t just take pictures. We are highly trained medical professionals who are the eyes of the doctor. If we don’t see it and document it, they don’t see it. I have sympathy for people who struggle to find care, but it is extremely important for sonographers to be focused during a scan.

  90. Just so you’re aware, Sonographer’s do “read and review”. The radiologists follow up with a “you’re good to go” because the Sonographer has already evaluated you while scanning and taken the necessary images to prove that to the radiologist. I would hope you would fact check before writing something that you may not have much knowledge about other than your own experience. I would also hope that you would like the best environment for someone to be thoroughly checking your baby out. I have many women that can barely stay laying throughout the whole exam due to their baby running around the room. Tell me how this isn’t a distraction to either the Sonographer or the mother ? Our job isn’t to help you bond with your baby or find out the sex. It’s to make sure that the baby is healthy and compatible with life, to make sure that they have all the necessary body parts. Finding out the sex is an added bonus for the parents. And of course bonding comes with it, but it isn’t why the mother or Sonographer is there.

  91. First and foremost, the person who wrote this obviously is not a Sonographer because if you were the majority of your comments would not have been made. The 20 week scan that you are referring to is not just to get ” pictures” of the baby for you and your family and it is not a scan just to reveal the gender of the baby, it is a very important medical scan to review all the anatomy to ensure you have a healthy baby. The gender reveal is a bonus! Being a Sonographer, I know it does take concentration to ensure it is done accurately and completely. While we don’t get paid for reading the ultrasound, the results gravely depend on how well of a job we do and that job requires us to read and interpret some things as we go through the scan. Meaning if we see certain things, we have to know what they are and what they mean so that we can look at other areas that particular thing affects more closely And take images of everything that relates and distractions can take away from that concentration and possibly have us miss something critical to you or your baby’s health and well being. A reading doctor only sees what we as the Sonographers give them images of, so it is pretty important that we concentrate and do the best job we possibly can for you and your baby, which does take a lot of concentration! With all that said, I work in a facility that does allow a minimum amount of 3 people to come to this appointment and children can be a part of that as long as the children behave and do not cause disruption they are allowed to stay. I do understand why parents want their children there but it is a medical facility and families need to respect the importance of what this scan is really for. If families are looking for that “I just want to know the gender of my baby and I want to share it with everyone” and laugh and scream etc, which I do understand the excitement, believe me, but if that is the case you must seek a “boutique” type facility where their sole goal is to reveal gender to couples and families which is not the goal of ANY medical facility.

  92. That Mama Gretchen should pick a book up and further educate herself on exactly the point of an ultrasound. And before she speaks on a profession she knows absolutely nothing about.
    Ultrasounds are NOT a “family affair”
    Get real. If your unborn child has a heart defect that requires the presence of the right surgeons at their birth, I think you would prefer the DIAGNOSTIC MEDICAL sonographer to be able to concentrate to be able to SKILLFULLY obtain images to prove said abnormality. ????
    I guess anyone can become a “writer” these days. With or without credibility. ????

  93. I am a radiologist. The Sonographers do “read, review and diagnose” during the scan. They are the ones who take the images of the normal or abnormal anatomy of the fetus and they are highly trained to do so. If they do not appreciate the abnormality during the scan they will not take images of it and we will not report it. The anatomy scan is a medically indicated examination and is not a there for a parent to introduce a new sibling or find out the gender of the baby. In most cases the gender is of no medical relevance what so ever. The Sonographer have gone to check during the anatomy scan without being distracted by an unsupervised toddler/child in the room who in all honesty usually looses interest in the examination very quickly and then become bored and a distraction to all.

  94. Where to begin…I always love when someone who has never worked in a job/field feels the need to bash it with everything they think they know.
    Your statements, “How about you better train your staff to do their job with a little background noise? Then, families can unite in the joy of hearing baby’s heartbeat, finding out the sex, and growing a bond through visually seeing their new child/sibling.” One, obviously they are better trained because they scan the entire body of a moving target, that is not just a heartbeat, the sex or being able to visually see the baby. Sonographers look at/for abnormalities in the brain, heart, kidneys, arms, legs, stomach, bowel, face, fluid levels AND I could keep going. If you want to bring your children, family, friends to listen to a heartbeat, and find out the gender of your baby, pay for a pretty ultrasound that is for that purpose at a 4d ultrasound place on your own, but wait you wouldn’t want to do that because you complained about money like it’s the hospitals fault you decided to have a child.
    “Oh, and parents don’t have to add the cost of “ultrasound babysitter” to their already mounting pregnancy expenses.” If you can afford to have a child, you should be able to afford a few hours of babysitting and maybe consider not placing blame on a hospital and apparently poorly trained ultrasound techs because you feel entitled about something you are completely clueless about. Second, if your other children or even spouse couldn’t make it to the ultrasound, are you saying that just ruins the bond for life because that’s what you imply. I’m sure a stay at home mom such as yourself never thought about this with having to manage toy bins and snack times (people who have jobs still maintain their home and send snacks, pack lunch and take their children to practices, games, etc.), but what about military who are in two different areas and can’t be at the ultrasound appointment? Does that lessen their bond?
    Your paragraph, “Let’s be real. The medical field is inherently a busy place full of distractions. Take the emergency room, for example, should we no longer allow noise and interruptions there? I mean, those doctors need to carry out tests and concentrate too! Probably more so than a sonographer. And it’s not like they’re trying to read, review, or diagnose the ultrasound results with children present. That usually takes places outside of the actual scanning room. At least it did with all my ultrasounds. Then the radiologist followed up with a…” how do you think the Radiologist knows whether you are good to go or need a follow-up? The difference with ultrasound compared to x-ray and CT is if the sonographers don’t see/miss something, neither does the Radiologist because it’s not there because they were too busy “working with a little background noise” for a scan that is routine and highly important to know the viability of your unborn child and not just the gender or letting you hear the heartbeat.

  95. Gretchen my dear you better just stfu you have zero knowledge about what it takes to capture diagnostic images of a fetus. Stick to those “show and tell” types of ultrasounds for a fee.

  96. I think you are totally misinformed. In the U.K. Sonographers are highly specialised professionals. We diagnose, read and review there and then if there are any problems. We do not refer to a radiologist except perhaps for a 2nd opinion. We go to university for around 5 years to enable us to be qualified to do this. Please do not confuse the standards in the UK with those of the USA. There are plenty of “clinics” that will scan purely for social reasons, allowing gender reveal opportunities. And just so you know, not all hospitals here tell you the gender! In my experience children are totally uninterested in what’s happening and can be very disruptive.

    And sometimes we even train the doctors to scan.

  97. I am a sonographer. Words can not describe the ignorance of your article.. it physically hurts me. I work incredibly hard, my job is not just to take pictures. But in any case I do, I can handle screaming children and any kind of distraction. No problem. But when I’m doing an anatomy scan or any fetal scan? NO DISTRACTIONS. Want to know why, lady who cares more about an “important family moment” than the real task at hand? Because when it’s my job to make sure every inch and nail of your growing fetus is perfect, healthy, and accurate, I want NO distractions. Because when you let your children run around my room while “I’m just taking pictures”, I can miss a small defect that can turn into a HUGE lifelong battle for you and your child. Oh and for your incredibly ignorant and stupid comment about us not diagnosing? Lol. If I don’t find the birth defect to show, the radiologist won’t see a birth defect to tell you about. I’m going to give a grown woman and mother advice now. Because I am just 26 years old, and I would never behave the way you are with this disgusting article. So though I’m 26, I can give advice. No matter WHAT a profession is, even something that appears simple like a bagger at the grocery store, no matter WHAT PROFESSION, unless you have worked it, don’t ever put your ignorant two cents in.

  98. I understand where your coming from. I had my children before I became a sonographer. I had no idea the weight that was on the sonographers shoulder. Most ogyns dont review the images at all, they trust the board certified sonographer to relay any critical information to them. They then make the actual diagnosis (aka decide if they agree with the sonographer). Even radiologist only see what images we send, they never see anything real time. Ultrasound is not like any other imagining modality, it is operator dependant. Your scan is only as good as your sonographer. We’re literally the doctors eyes. It is very difficult to obtain all the images and put on a show within the appointment time. We get 30 min to do an anatomy scan. 30 min. For example today my patient showed up at 310 for thier 300 apt. I pick up thier chart code it, take them to the room by the time the patient and guest get settled and I squirt gel on and start scanning it’s 315. Her Dr appointment is at 330… I now have 15 min to preform a diagnostic study of approx 70 to 100 images… plus write the report of my findings to deliver to the Dr BEFORE they have thier appt, because if not, well there is nothing to talk about. That’s if everything is normal, and if baby cooperates. Most time it works out okay, Im all for family bonding and all my patients will tell you I go the extra mile. I wish more people would understand that it’s US finding out if something is wrong and passing the information along, it’s very possible to miss crucial things by being distracted. Something as small as how the cord is inserted into the placenta, if it’s too close to the edge then we will inform the doctor and they will have you come back to receive growth scans. We are human, what if a child was running around literally (happens all the time getting into the biohazard bin, unplugging my machine) and we didn’t notice how close to the edge it was and didn’t document it, so your doctor didn’t know and never sent you back for a growth, and your baby isn’t receiving adequate nutrition because of the cord placement…. There are a hundred senarios like this. I wish the anatomy scan never turned into an entertainment scan, or we were given extra time to preform them. I wish people understood that when we go in there we are not trying to see all the normal we are trying to prove that it is normal. Honestly I wish people understood the knowledge and skills it takes to preform diagnostic ultrasound. We are not trying to run your family time we are trying our hardest to provide you with the best care possible. We weap when we scan babies we know will not make it, we rejoice when we confirm that heartbeat that you have been trying for for so long. We go home with the weight of out patients every night. We care and we want to make sure that we don’t miss anything.

  99. Ultrasound is a diagnostic exam to make sure the fetus has all of it’s parts and no abnormalities. It is not “an introduction of a new family member to the mother and those she wishes to have present”. Would you expect to be able to bring your two year old into an X-ray appointment with you? Or MRI or CT scan? Probably not. The people like you who believe that ultrasound is for enjoyment are the problem and not the Sonographers ability to work with “a little background noise”. We have no problem scanning screaming children and elderly who are trying to kick us in the face or altered patients trying to grasp us inappropriately. While it may be more challenging for us we do our jobs and take care of all our PATIENTS very well. Children who could really care less about a new sibling trying to sit through an exam without tearing up our equipment and screaming like someone is hurting them and family members asking a bunch of questions that we are not allowed to answer is unnecessary and may distract us from the real focus which is diagnosing fetal abnormalities. Are the feet on straight? Is there a cleft lip/palate? Are the brain and heart structures normal? Don’t get a sitter for the children. Send the mother to get her DIAGNOSTIC exam alone. If you think everyone in the family needs to see the unborn then pay for the festive 3D/4D ultrasound. But please do it after the diagnostic exam because many of those third rate places usually have barely trained people making close to minimum wage scanning and not Sonographers with degrees, registries, and years of experience. You probably wouldn’t want a doctor operating on you with a toddler running around the room knocking things over. So why would you expect that to be ok for any other medical procedure?

  100. Wow! Thank you for informing us on something you actually have no insight on. These tests are preformed by highly skilled sonographers who’s main concern of the test is far from finding out the sex. They are the first ones to actually notice any congenital abnormalities, they may not be able to diagnose but they sure as hell know what they are looking for. If they see something suspicious they have to obtain additional views to prove what they are concerned about. I specialize in cardiac sonography and having children under twelve can be extremely distracting, especially when the mom is just as annoying telling to child to behave. Remember that next time you bring a child to an exam and the babies possible abnormality isn’t detected until or after birth.

  101. What health care facilities are still listening to the baby’s heartbeat with ultrasound? Or is that just something you made up?

  102. As a mother, and an obsetrical ultrasound tech, I have to say that the health and well-being of your unborn child should be of far greater concern than if a sibling or young family member gets to attend your ultrasound. We are responsible for far more than taking pictures. You may be under the impression that, what you consider, the real work is done after your scan, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our job involves close evaluation of complex fetal structures. We evaluate tiny hearts looking for millimeter small holes. We evaluate the heart chambers, the arteries and veins that come off of them. If there is a malformation it’s OUR job to recognize it and determine the best images to show the radiologist that reads it officially. If we don’t show it, they don’t see it. We evaluate tiny brains, spines, stomach, kidneys, arms, legs, feet, hands….and more. It takes concentration and focus. It is not an automatic, Gee these machines do amazing things, process. I understand completely that it’s an important family event and a chance to start the bonding process. I sometimes tell concerned parents that they should relax and enjoy seeing and bonding with their baby, and let me do the worrying about the baby for now. And I do worry. I worry that if i miss a heart defect a newborn may die before it’s found. I worry if I miss a cleft lip and a mother isn’t emotionally and medically informed it will make the birth a sad day and not a joyful one because the baby is otherwise healthy. I worry about one twin being much smaller than the other because it’s also my job to help figure out why. If I can’t figure it out then the doctor officially reading it won’t be able to either. No amount of sibling bonding is worth compromising your baby’s health. This hospital has obviously had issues with some of these things. If the ultrasound department voiced a concern loud enough to change hospital policy, then you can bet it was a real problem. I applaud the hospital for backing them enough to implement change. Then again, they may pay their liability insurance so it’s in the hospital’s best interest. Yes, we must carry liability insurance. We are that big of a critical link to your baby’s care.

  103. You should be ashamed of writing this. You have no idea what sonographers go through on a daily basis.

    It is our responsibility to give each and every patient 100% of our attention…every time.

    We are not machines. If we don’t take the image the Dr. doesn’t see it. Lives literally depend on us doing our job correctly.

    You may be the exception as a parent, but in my personal experience, children are left to run around the room, touch things they should touch and get into things they shouldn’t get into. Not to mention the constant crying, screaming, and talking while we are doing our best to get diagnostic images of a moving target.

    If you want a non-diagnostic test that you can have the family in on, there are places for that! A hospital isn’t one of them!

  104. As a sonographer myself, I can tell you that yes, we are actually diagnosing as we go along with the scan. We are not legally allowed to give results, but we know exactly what we are looking at and certain views require minute changes in angle and loud noises, particularly from children in the room trying to get the mother’s attention, can be quite distracting, particularly if baby is active as well. These exams may not be urgent, but neither are many abdomen or thyroid exams. These pregnancy ultrasounds are not for entertainment. They prepare you in the event that something could possibly be wrong with the baby. The clinic I work at allows one person during the exam and everyone else can come in later, but this allows us to do a proper job in examining the important parts of your baby, like the structure of the heart. Sorry, but gender is low on our priority list and yes, we do our best to find it, but there are more important things during this exam. I find it quite insulting that you think I don’t need to concentrate on the exam as much as other technologists and in this article you also manage to undermine my intelligence and training as we do know how to read, review, and diagnose the images. We write up the reports that the doctor sees alongside the images. I do agree that parents have the right to see the baby, but please respect that this is a job that requires a lot of knowledge and concentration- if we miss something, the doctor doesn’t see it.

  105. There is a definite difference between a MEDICAL ultrasound and a just-for-fun ultrasound. If you want your friends and family to “bond” with the baby while you find out the sex, then pay for the “fun” ultrasound. A medical ultrasound is a very thorough exam in which we check the baby from head to toe to ensure there are no abnormalities. It is a very serious exam with a long checklist of structures to be examined and is not meant as a gender reveal or bonding experience. We understand the desire to see the baby so we allow a few minutes at the end of the exam for a show-and-tell of the baby for the parents, but that’s it. It is more important to provide a thorough medical exam than it is to welcome a room full of visitors to experience that medical exam. I completely agree with this hospital’s policy and really feel that you should do more research on your own before you post such an opinionated and bashing article!

  106. I strongly encourage you to go to school and become a Sonographer, I’m POSITIVE you would re-evaluate writing this article.
    1. Not all pregnancies are joyous occassions (just ask a Mother who’s lost a child en-utero at any point of gestation)
    2. There’s a reason we work in dark, QUIET rooms where we can see, hear, evaluate and be the eyes for our Radiologists (Doctors)…distractions compromise patient care.
    3. We ask our patients VERY personal questions, the kind that aren’t for “family affairs”. HIPAA is BIG.
    4. You want a fun, louder environment for your ultrasound? There are plenty of “3D Experience” places where you can do this…but the hospital is DEFINITELY not one of them.

  107. Hi Gretchen,
    Let me start by saying that I wholeheartedly support this hospital’s decision to limit distractions for their sonographers. While I understand that pregnancy ultrasound is “fun” for patients and their families, the exam is, in fact, a medical procedure, one which requires the utmost concentration on the part of the sonographer to ensure the health and wellbeing of the fetus.
    I am a sonographer. I went to school for 6 years, enduring long nights of call without sleep for days on end, and have passed six national board examinations. I have seen more heartache than you will ever know. So let me break some news to you: Not all pregnancies are butterflies and rainbows. Lots of things go wrong with pregnancy.
    To put the medical ultrasound in perspective for you, here is a list of what we (the mean sonographers who don’t like your screaming toddlers in the room) need to interpret. (And no, these interpretations don’t happen outside of the room after you and your extended family have left. If we don’t see it and show it, the Radiologist also doesn’t see it, which means you also never know.) Since you sound like such a smart cookie, I’ll let you research the acronyms: BPD, HC, AC, FL, Vent and contravent, falx, CSP, cerebellum, cistern magnum, nuchal thickness, c spine, t spine, l spine, s spine (all in two planes), nose/lips, palette, orbits, nasal bone, stomach and heart laterality, 4CH, ventricular septum, foramen ovale, LVOT, RVOT, 3VV, FHT, ductus arteriosis, valves, lung spaces, diaphragm, stomach, kidneys, bowel echogenicity, bladder, hypogastric arteries, fetal cord insert, placental cord insert, bilat humerus, radius/ulna, hands and digits, bilat femurs, tib/fib, foot 90 degrees and digits, genitalia, AFI, fetal tone, placental location, maternal uterus, and cervix.
    Most of the time we get about 45 minutes to make sure your baby is healthy, all while trying to explain what we’re doing to obnoxious grandparents and making sure your toddler isn’t drinking Cidex behind us or playing with a drawer full of needles.
    I’m not trying to be rude, I’m just trying to put this into perspective for you. Instead of complaining that your extended family can’t have a “meet and greet” with the fetus, try and understand that it’s for the good of your unborn baby to have the full attention of the only person qualified to perform ultrasound. Your baby deserves that.
    Respectfully,
    Jennifer Miller
    RDMS (AB, BR, OB/GYN, PS), RVT (VT)

  108. Gretchen,
    Clearly you have no idea what a sonographer does besides tell the gender of the baby. Educate yourself on the occupation before you write an article you know nothing about

  109. It is a medical procedure. Go to a boutique that offers 3D for family if you want that experience. to just ‘schedule a second ultrasound’ if there are questions is ridiculous. schedule with a non-medical boutique for your fun ultrasound.

  110. You obviously know nothing about sonography. Sono-meaning sound, -ography, as in picture. If the picture relies on sound waves what do you think a lot of ambient noise does to the image? Also, don’t you want your medical staff to be able to decipher the tine lines and shapes in the image to be able to find anything that may be wrong with the fetus? Children are distracting. Children are loud. Children should not be allowed in the sonography exam room. Show them the print outs. Get over it. Unless you’ve done the job you literally don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

  111. “And it’s not like they’re trying to read, review, or diagnose the ultrasound results with children present. That usually takes places outside of the actual scanning room.”

    You know absolutely nothing about ultrasound. Just because the sonographer doesn’t give you results, it doesn’t mean we don’t have billion things to focus on during an obstetrical exam. Here are some routine questions I have to ask myself every single time I do an anatomy scan.

    “Is the cervix an appropriate length? Is the placenta actually low or is that a Braxton? Have to remember to check that later. Is that a succenturiate lobe? Again, check later. How’s the fetal head shape? Is it Brachy or Dolicocephalic? Is the CSP present? How do the ventricles look? How’s the posterior fossa? Is the cerebellum appropriately shaped, is the cisterna magna enlarged, is the nuchal fold thickened? Am I seeing nose and lips well enough to rule out a cleft lip. How do the long bones look? Any bowing? Are they shortened? Yes they’re shortened so now I’ve got to be absolutely certain I do a good job double checking for other soft markers. How’s the heart? Are the chambers an equal size? Do the LVOT and RVOT cross? Any aortic stenosis? Any chest masses? Is the diaphragm in tact?”

    This is not even a complete list. Believe it or not, we don’t just take the pictures and then the doctor analyzes everything. It’s up to us to call attention to any potential issues for the radiologist to review. Guess what, if we say the heart is normal, the rad isn’t going to spend an hour looking at normal pictures. You should have some respect for the people who very carefully screen for any potential problems in fetuses. And yes, this absolutely does require a great deal of focus. Have a little respect.

  112. First and foremost those appointments are not about looking at pretty pictures, they are about checking the well being of the baby, is it’s brain developing properly, is it moving like it should is it’s heart forming bladder kidneys functioning has everything developed in the place it is supposed to be is there a cleft lip /palate, if you want a bonding moment go to a 3d /4d place those appointments are serious and if the tech is distracted they could miss something reducing that’s baby’s shot at survival and treatment.

  113. The ultrasound is meant for medical purposes. Many different things need to be looked at and measured carefully.

    Yes, seeing the baby and finding out the gender is really special and fun, but it is not the main purpose. It seems kind of rude to say they need to be better trained. There are imaging places you can pay and go to and bring the whole family.

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