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The Lastest Pregnancy Trend: Ultrasound Parties

Friday, January 4th, 2013

We sat in the dimly lit room of the doctor’s office today as the ultrasonographer measured and prodded the growing baby in my belly.  Like previous ultrasounds, it was a moment marked by some anxiety, a lot of excitement, and a continual sense of awe. It was an intimate moment for our family of three, soon to be four. A tender and funny moment where every observation of our two-year-old filled the room; “Is she a doctor?” “Why don’t they have any snacks?” “What is sissy boo doing?” “I have to go pottttty!” “Can we listen to some music?” and the thoughtful concerns about the new baby surfaced from my husband as we admired the sleeping babe in my belly.

It was a memorable family moment, but I wouldn’t call it a party. For some expectant mothers though, an ultrasound has become a reason to party.

Writing about pregnancy has opened my eyes to the trends associated with the bump. We’ve talked baby shower etiquette for a second pregnancy, “dadchelor” parties, fetus key chains, and now there are ultrasound parties to add to the pregnancy vocabulary.

No, this isn’t necessarily a gender reveal party, although some use it for that, but it’s a straight up ultrasound where a lab technician comes to the home of those “cooking one up,” and use their gadgets and gizmos to show off all the parts of the growing little to an onlooking crowd.

According to an article by Today.com, these parties are a “trend [that] appear to be spreading. From California to Florida, services like Peek a View and Miracles Imaging help expectant parents turn a procedure into a party.”

The only aspect of a party I could really muster from the situation was my partially removed pantaloons. I mean, if I were that kind of party girl. No mom, I am not.

Trust me, I love seeing peeks of our baby. I understand wanting to share the excitement and joy of such an experience. I just think ultrasounds are more of an intimate moment. They are a moment solely about the health of the baby instead of tickets to a Saturday night show. The ultrasound party feels too much about entertainment.

Perhaps it’s the serial worrier in me, but I feel completely uncomfortable inviting others over for “drinks, snacks, [and] friendly banter” to have it suddenly, and quite possibly take a very serious tone. There are a myriad of complications detected during an ultrasound and I’d rather not receive that news in front of a crowd. Also, many abnormalities found during an ultrasound work themselves out and I’d hate to worry a crowd for no reason at all.

The article points out the reality of a party gone unexpectedly wrong: “What if the ultrasonographer started the ultrasound and there was no heartbeat?…Or what if the fetus had not developed a skull/head/brain? This happens more than most people realize. What do you do then?”

This budding trend mocks doctors and the FDA’s use of ultrasounds “to diagnose chromosomal disorders, malformations, and to aid in estimating fetal weight or the amount of amniotic fluid — not for entertainment value. Revealing gender has never been a reason to do an ultrasound.”

As “Grandpa Frank” from the article demonstrates, the sense of awe at an ultrasound doesn’t translate to everyone. His sentiments that “I don’t know why they keep showing that…you can only see so much of it,” reveal that the reveal of a baby in real-time isn’t equally thrilling for everyone.

As the mother of the little screen star, I could watch my baby girl flip, kick, and suck her thumb endlessly while in utero, but the moment loses the rarity and sweetness of glimpsing new life the minute interest wanes and party jokes and drinks become paramount to the unique moment.

Mostly, the ultrasound party trend feels like another way to turn pregnancy into an industry. To me, pregnancy should not be monetized. It’s not a spectacle, it’s a miracle. Just because today’s technology allows couples to share their joyous news in various ways, doesn’t mean everyone needs a front row seat. Especially when my derrière is partially exposed…

What say ye? A trend to follow or a trend to fail?

Image: Pregnant woman receiving ultrasound via Andrei Zveaghintev/Shutterstock.com

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