October was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. 1 in 4 women experience infant loss during their pregnancy or deliver a still born. It is unfortunately a very common occurrence that many people will either know someone that has lost their baby or experience the loss themselves. Infant loss is a very heartbreaking experience for the mother and families. For those families, remembering their angel babies is something they hold dear to them and no other child could ever take the place of the child they lost.
Over the past few years I’ve watched a lot of my friends post on their social media pages about their pregnancies, their births and unfortunately their losses. A couple of years ago there was one particular friend that posted a picture of her newborn baby with the caption, “our rainbow baby”. The caption really caught my interest.
What is a rainbow baby?
At first I thought it was her way of an endearment just like anyone else would use “cutie pie” or “sugarplum”. Then I began to read the comments from other people congratulating her and a couple of comments stood out from the others. They were telling her how much of a blessing her baby was after she had lost her previous baby and that he was indeed a rainbow baby. I did a little research and sure enough I came across tons of rainbow baby websites. I found educational sites, personal blogs and even support group forums.
A rainbow baby is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or stillbirth. When you think about a rainbow you think about the storm it follows. The storm has already happened and we are left with the aftermath…the sadness of loss. A rainbow lets you know the storm has passed and sunshine is to follow. It gives hope for things to get better. Although storm clouds may still be above you as you cope with the loss, something colorful and bright shines though from the darkness. Much like real rainbows, rainbow babies bring joy to a mourning family. A rainbow baby won’t replace an angel baby but they will bring hope and happiness. Those families finally have their sunshine after their storm.
As the rainbow appears that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of His brightness all around (Ezekiel 1:28)
So, You Just Found Out You’re Pregnant! …
You have a positive pregnancy test! After you’ve gone through that roller coaster of emotions, I’m sure you’ll start to wonder “What do I do now”?
The very first thing you should do is contact your health care provider. You’ll need to set up an appointment to check on you and your baby’s wellness as well as determining the big day…your due date! Early pregnancy measurements of the baby are more accurate for an estimated due date. Some doctors can have appointments backed up for a few weeks so if you’re really excited and can’t wait for your first appointment we offer a confirmation package for $40. For a lot of women they need to hear their baby’s heartbeat as soon as possible to put their minds at ease. We can detect a baby’s heartbeat anywhere between 6-8 weeks at the earliest. Bear in mind that if it’s a really early pregnancy we may not be able to detect the heartbeat due to how small the baby is at the time. If you do choose to visit us for your first scan, ALWAYS go with your doctor’s estimated due date that they give you.
Find a prenatal vitamin that works for you. Check with your doctor first to make sure those vitamins are safe for you to take. I always tell pregnant moms, if there’s a medicine you need to take or if you’re curious about the effects it could have on your baby, call your doctor before taking it. Your doctor is there to help you. Vitamins are very important at the beginning of your pregnancy. If you’re planning on getting pregnant start taking them before you conceive. Prenatal vitamins help you remain healthy and allows the baby enough vitamins and nutrients to grow. Folic acid is very important in the first stages of development. It helps prevent spina bifida and other growth defects.
Start making healthier choices. I’m not saying you should go through your pantry and throw away all of those cookies and chips. Just be more conscious of what you’re putting in your body. There are foods you can and cannot eat so it’s best to sit down and research which foods are safe to eat. If you’re one of those who drink a lot of caffeine every day try cutting back on the amount you consume. Caffeine is a drug and it does affect the baby as well. Some people cut it out completely and some just limit their intake. That’s a personal preference you can decide on. Also, keep in mind that you only need to consume around 300 more calories than your normal daily calorie recommendation. You don’t need to “eat for two”. Keeping yourself hydrated is very important as well. Morning sickness can be rough but you must try your best to drink enough fluids. Amniotic fluid is essential for the baby and the fluid can fluctuate if you’re dehydrated.
Relax. Enjoy the months ahead of you while your little one grows. You may find yourself in a few rough moments through the pregnancy but enjoy what you can. Celebrate your baby’s life! Share the news with your family and friends. Plan the nursery. Pick out names! Your baby will be here before you know it and you’ll look back to those memories of little kicks and flips in your belly and miss it.
If you’ve ever called and scheduled a 3D/4D appointment with us you’ve probably heard us tell you to drink orange juice before you come in. You may have had your doctor tell you to drink orange juice before your next visit as well. But what does that mean? Does it have to be orange juice? How long before my appointment should I start drinking?
The answer is pretty simple…sugar. Orange juice has high sugar content. Sugar
will help your little one wake up and wiggle around during their scan or doctor’s visit. We get a lot of babies who get sleepy during their scan and we also have the really stubborn babies. The sugar just helps them get hyped up. I always tell my clients that it’s easier to chase after a baby than push and poke at a baby who doesn’t want to move. Our machine has a rewind option to catch those cute faces when they’re in motion. If a baby doesn’t want to move or stays covered up through the whole scan it gets a lot harder to get the pictures you want.
Don’t like orange juice? That’s okay. Try apple juice, grape juice, kool-aid…anything sugary. I’ve had a few clients bring in a Sonic slush and those babies were so hyped up on sugar that they were bouncing around like a pin ball machine. On a few occasions I’ve even suggested caffeinated sodas. I try to steer clear of suggesting caffeine because it can dehydrate you and fluid is super important for 3D/4D imaging. However, if it can get a baby moving around then go for it.
Fifteen to twenty minutes before your scan, start drinking that orange juice. You have to give it a little time to get into your system and wake baby up. It’s like your morning coffee…it doesn’t immediately kick in. It wouldn’t hurt to have a snack as well. A lot of times I’ll ask the mom if she’s eaten anything after I’ve been pushing on a sleepy baby. If she says she hasn’t eaten in a while then I know that baby just needs some food fuel.
Does the orange juice trick work every time?
No. Some babies tend to be more stubborn than others. We have other tricks that we try during the scan though. Some babies don’t like being poked at so the belly button trick works a lot. It’s the center of your baby bump and a lot of babies respond to the pressure. If that doesn’t work we’ll try rolling you on your side or have you get up and walk around. We’ll get them to move!
So if you’re planning on visiting us for a 3D/4D, don’t forget your orange juice! Plus it’s a good way to get a serving of fruits and a good source of vitamin C so it’s good for you and good for baby!
Have you had experience with this? How has what you’ve eaten/drank effected your ultrasound or baby’s movement? Join our conversation on Twitter! or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Does Weather Affect Fetal Movement?
This summer has been quite interesting as far as scanning babies goes. I’ve only been with Sneak A Peek for a year now so I missed the hottest part of the year last year. I’ve noticed something strange though. We’ve had a lot of “stubborn” babies that wouldn’t move much for their scans. In fact, this summer alone I feel like we’ve had to schedule a lot of redo’s because of babies not wanting to move.
That got me thinking…is it the hot weather?
I fired up my laptop and started searching for scientific articles that would answer my question but I got nothing. However, I did get several forum pages of women talking about their baby’s lack of movement in warmer weather. I was really surprised at all of the responses. The majority of women stated that their babies didn’t move as much when it was hot. As I read the posts on each forum I noticed that some women said that as soon as they cooled off they could feel their baby move more.
Now I’m not saying every woman experiences this. We do get some wiggly babies as well.
Since I don’t have any scientific research to answer my question I decided to come up with my own theories.
Hot weather means dehydration happens easily. This doesn’t mean you have to be on the verge of a heat stroke. If it’s hot outside you are most likely sweating. That means you’re losing fluids. You can go about your day feeling completely fine even though you’re slightly dehydrated. If it gets worse you’ll start to feel bad. You’ll feel sleepy and out of energy. You can get headaches and if it’s bad enough you can even get stomach cramps. Think about it, you’re sharing your body with another body that happens to be growing inside of you. They’re most likely feeling groggy too. If it’s hot, try remind yourself daily to take plenty of water breaks. Carry around a water bottle or set a timer to remind you when you’re busy. Fluids are very important to a growing fetus so drink up! Plus, who doesn’t like a cold refreshing drink on a hot day?!
Ok, this one is a little far-fetched but it’s just a theory so I’m adding it in. Have you ever taken a load of blankets fresh out of the dry and just snuggled right into them? All of those warm blankets are really cozy right? Blankets are warm and keep you cozy (much like a womb!) but there’s something about heated blankets that make it so much better. Do you see where I’m going with this? What if babies just get really cozy and sleepy after being out in hot weather? Those women in the forums did say that their babies moved more after they cooled off. I’d wake up too if someone took my warm blankets away!
In all honesty, there’s no true reason for a baby’s behavior inside the womb in hot weather. We truly won’t know unless a doctor or some other medical professional did a study on it. Until they do we’ll just have to keep our minds open to all of the possibilities. Did your baby stop moving as much when you got out in the hot weather? Let us know!
Is Ultrasound Safe?
One of the many questions I get during a scan is whether or not ultrasounds are safe for the baby. I’ve actually been told to cut the scan short because they didn’t want their baby exposed to ultrasound. I’ve also had a surprising amount of people ask me if there is radiation involved with ultrasound. Fear no more! I’m about to put those worries to rest.
First, let me start out by saying…NO, ultrasound does not use radiation. We may be located in the radiology department but we don’t use radiation. That actually makes ultrasound safer than x-ray, CT, nuclear medicine and mammography. Ultrasound uses a high frequency sound wave that travels through tissue, bounces off the tissue and returns back to produce an image. Bats and submarines use the same technique to visualize their surroundings. The sound wave is so high that we can’t hear it so babies can’t hear it within the womb either. The only thing they’ll experience from an ultrasound is the sensation of someone poking and prodding at them from the mother’s stomach.
Are they safe though?
There have been many studies over the course of 40 years on the effects of ultrasound. The biggest discovery they have made is that over a very long term exposure, the tissue can heat up. Sound waves cause vibrations. You can see the big vibrations if you’ve ever seen the speakers on a car with a loud stereo system. The higher the frequency, the smaller the sound wave, which means smaller vibrations. No matter the frequency, sound waves carry vibrations. Vibrations cause friction if they’re traveling through a medium (like tissue). It would take a very long time for tissue to heat up…we’re talking days, way over your average thirty minute scan. Although it would take a while for those effects to take place, sonographers try to use the lowest setting possible for the safety of the baby. That is why it is important to always seek out a professional sonographer who has been trained to know which settings are safest for babies and for you.
Keep in mind that studies are still being done on the effects of ultrasound exposure but medical professionals have used ultrasound as their go-to modality for checking fetal well-being for decades now. The benefits greatly outweigh the risks. The FDA has stated to minimize the amount of scans done during your pregnancy as a precaution. However, there are instances where those extra scans are more important to a mother/family. There have been many times where we have had people come in for a scan and we have found accidental findings which have resulted in a better outcome for the mother and baby. Those who have previously miscarried, lost their baby or have had problems conceiving often seek us out to enjoy those special moments with their new little one growing inside of them and to be able to have that peace of mind.
Here at Sneak-A-Peek, we are trained professionals and we use the safest settings and never leave you exposed to ultrasound longer than necessary.
In ultrasound school we had to practice scanning each other. From someone who has had several ultrasounds done weekly for a year and a half I can assure you that I am as healthy as I was before and I am not a radioactive mutant…that would be pretty cool though!
“I have 3 boys already; we’d really like a girl”
“Our family has all girls and they’re hoping we give them a boy”
“Darn it! I really wanted a boy!”
Gender disappointment is not only real, but very common. I see it quite a bit (almost daily) at work while I’m scanning clients. From a tech’s perspective, this can be one of the biggest pet peeves we have. We look for healthy babies and we hear stories of the troubles some couples have to get pregnant so we automatically assume that some people tend to be really picky and not look at the greater outcome of their pregnancy…a healthy baby. But after doing a little research I’ve learned that there’s a lot more to it than just being picky.
Gender disappointment happens to a lot of women. Some voice their disappointment more than others. From an outside perspective, it can look pretty awful…as if it seems like you don’t want your baby. That’s an extreme way of looking at it, but what about the inside perspective? Nobody ever stops and thinks about why the mother (and sometimes father) gets upset about hearing the gender of their baby.
Fear and uncertainty can have a huge impact on how your feel about your baby’s gender.
“I don’t know how to raise a boy!”
“My mother really wants a granddaughter”
High expectations leading up to that reveal can either come as a huge relief or a really big letdown. That’s okay! Your baby is brand new to you. You know nothing about your baby so the only thing you can do is fantasize about the outcome. If the reality doesn’t match the fantasy it can feel like a letdown. The feelings only get worse because then you start feeling guilty that you feel that way about your baby. It’s hard to talk about your disappointment too. You’re either too afraid to voice the way your feel or others will judge you harshly for it. My advice, go ahead and voice your concerns. Seek reassurance from your friends and family. They’ll help convince you that it’s all going to be okay. If they judge you brush it off…you’re still going to rock the wonderful job of parenting either way.
Don’t give yourself a hard time though. It doesn’t last very long. Most women come to terms with the gender of their baby fairly quickly and move on.
The wonderful thing about babies is that you don’t know them until they’re born. As soon as the doctor puts that baby in your arms every doubt, fear and disappointment you felt during your pregnancy will melt away. The only thing you will feel during that moment is pure love for that baby. At the end of your pregnancy it won’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl. They will be your baby…the love of your life. And you know what they say about love
…love conquers all.
Trisomy 13 & 18
Recently, we were contacted by a local Little Rock news channel who wanted to interview us regarding our free service to expecting families given the diagnosis of trisomy 13 and trisomy 18 (by the way, we offer free scans to those diagnosed with trisomy 13 or 18). They wanted to interview us and a client of ours about their journey with trisomy 13 and what we do for those families who want those special moments with their little ones and memories they can keep forever. Their story was so heartwarming and it reached out to other families who were suffering as well. Just a couple of days after the story aired we received a call from another family who had been given the trisomy 18 diagnosis. These families have made an impact on us in a big way too and I thought I’d share some of experience with you today.
So, what is trisomy 13 and 18?
Trisomy 13 and 18 are chromosome disorders. Much like trisomy 21, Down ’s syndrome, trisomy 13 and 18 involve an extra chromosome. When we are conceived each sperm and egg contains 23 chromosomes. When they come together we have a total of 46 chromosomes that make up our genetic blueprint. Sometimes there can be a genetic error in the sperm or egg that results in an extra chromosome #13 or #18. Depending on which chromosome has an extra copy, determines the diagnosis of trisomy 13 or 18.
Trisomy 18 is also known as Edward’s syndrome. Babies who are diagnosed with Edward’s syndrome appear smaller in size and usually have a multitude of health issues that affect most of the body in some way. A common issue with these babies is that they have trouble feeding and most have heart defects.
Trisomy 13 is also known as Patau syndrome. Most babies with Patau syndrome tend to have major brain structure issues. This can result in facial defects such as cleft lip/palate and the eyes may form closer together. They may also have extra fingers and toes. These babies will most likely suffer from other health issues like heart defects and abdominal organs herniating out around the umbilical cord.
Babies who have been diagnosed with trisomy 13 and 18 usually don’t live past their first year of life. More commonly, most don’t live past their first couple of weeks due to the extent of their health problems. Most doctors will describe both disorders as “incompatible with life” meaning that they won’t be able to survive outside of the mother’s womb. There is no prevention and no cause for these disorders. These disorders are very rare. In fact, most miscarriages happen because of genetic issues during conception and it is rare if an embryo forms at all. Most end up being blighted ovums resulting in miscarriage.
I had the pleasure of scanning both babies who came to Sneak A Peek with these disorders. I could see their personalities and it made me so happy to see those families interact with their baby. I would catch them sucking their thumb and hiding from me when I was trying to take a picture. They were just like any other baby that I scan, happy and cozy in their own little world. I was able to witness the strength of those people and I truly admire their courage. I remember talking with one of the families and the mother told me the doctors were surprised he had made it that far along. She told me she was certain that he was a fighter and oh boy could I tell! He was a stubborn little one who didn’t like me taking his picture! At the end of their scan I received hugs from both mom and dad and shared an emotional moment with them. It’s those moments that really remind me how meaningful this job really is.
If you or someone you know is expecting a baby with trisomy 13 or 18 please reach out to us. We offer free 3D/4D scans for those who have been given the diagnosis. We know how precious every moment is with them and we would love to send you home with photos and a video that captures their unique personalities. Every baby is a blessing and whether their time here is short or long they will change the world. It may be your world or the whole world but the littlest feet make the biggest footprint on our hearts.
Hi! I’m Jessica, an ultrasound tech here at Sneak A Peek Ultrasound.
You may have seen me before at both Jonesboro and Conway locations.
If you have met me, hello again!
If you haven’t, welcome to our page!
I’ve been with Sneak A Peek for a year now and I have learned so much about babies and pregnancy that I thought I’d share a tech’s perspective with you about all sorts of topics.
Before I get started I’d like for you to get to know me. I graduated from Arkansas State University in 2012 with a Bachelors of Radiological Sciences in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (that’s fancy talk for ultrasound). If you’re a big Red Wolves fan you may have met me before! I was Howl for a big part of my college career. I kicked off my ultrasound career doing mobile ultrasounds and then landed a job at Forrest City Medical Center where I worked for a year. Currently, I’m engaged to another ultrasound tech, Jonathan, and in the process of moving to Paragould, AR.
I really look forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with you! I hope that you enjoy reading these blogs and hope that you find some of my blogs useful. Feel free to tell me what you think of my blog entries and if you have a topic you want discussed let me know!
Welcome to the Sneak A Peek Blog! We are looking forward to sharing lots of useful information with you! Our blog author is Jessica Mitchell. She’s one of our ultrasound techs who happens to be a great writer. We know you will find her posts informative and entertaining. We want to hear from you as well and would love to see your input on the topics you would like to have Jessica cover. She’s got a list going of some really interesting stuff. Stay tuned… the first post from Jessica is coming soon.