Getting Pictures or Video of Baby Ultrasound


If your obstetrician or midwife has ordered an ultrasound for medical purposes, it can still be a great opportunity to make a keepsake of the event. Even medical settings, including some labs to which medical practices outsource ultrasounds, may offer the chance to record all or part of the procedure. A typical 2D medically recommended ultrasound can take quite awhile—half an hour or more—and much of that is “boring” stuff, such as measuring unidentifiable parts. Most sonographers will record a few select elements of the session, such as the face, limbs in motion and gender identifiers. Some techs will get a little goofy and make the baby “wave” in utereo by shaking the transducer when a baby hand is in view.

Don’t expect the facility to provide a blank video tape or DVD; you may have to bring your own. In fact, call ahead to make sure they even offer this service. In some cities, you may have a choice of where to go, and this service could make the difference—especially if your doctor has “really” ordered the ultrasound because you told him or her you want to know the gender.

Because of legal concerns, some medical-setting sonographers are moving away from this service. Some even forbid videotaping and even the traditional single still photo. They may even keep others out of the room, or not allow them to view the ultrasound screen. Others, however, communicate closely with the mother and others in the room, explaining what the sonographer is seeing.

If an ultrasound has not been medically recommended, you may decide to seek out a freestanding commercial fetal imaging site offering “reassurance” or “keepsake” ultrasounds. Some of these facilities employ sonographers certified by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers who also offer diagnostic 3D and 4D ultrasounds in collaboration with physicians.

The clarity of facial features from a 3D or 4D ultrasound can be amazing, and when these still pictures are viewed side-by-side with pictures of the baby after he or she is born, the resemblance can be stunning. In 4D, a baby can be observed kicking, yawning and even sucking his or her thumb. Imagine showing this to the child a few years later, or during that “where babies come from” talk!

Opinions vary, but in general the companies providing reassurance and keepsake ultrasounds believe the best time to get high-quality images of Baby’s face is between 24 and 34 weeks’ gestation.

Please note that some freestanding fetal imaging centers (Little Sprout Imaging is one example) require that clients have already had a “normal diagnostic medical ultrasound” in the second trimester before undergoing a reassurance or keepsake ultrasound.

Most such centers charge from $75 on up, with $200 being a midpoint for a package including a video and several still images. A movie on DVD format may cost more than a VHS tape.

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