Most expecting parents would agree that seeing their unborn baby on an ultrasound screen is an exciting time. Now those special moments are becoming group events, following the rise in popularity of ‘ultrasound parties’ in private homes.
NBC’s Today has reported that ultrasound technicians are charging US$100-350 so parents-to-be can have a sonogram performed in front of family and friends at home, often using the event to learn the baby’s gender.
Teena Gold and Christy Foster, owners of Baby Face and More, a company that performs the in-home scans, told the program that “gender reveal is probably the bulk of [their] work”.
“It’s more of an experience and less of [the usual] in and out procedure,” Gold said.
“This way gets you out of that clinic setting,” Foster added.
For many couples, the parties are a fun way of sharing their excitement over the impending birth, and of bringing a new element to the usual baby showers. Foster recounted one memorable party – her company’s first – in which the expecting couple were thrilled to learn they were having twins.
But other experts aren’t so sure the sessions are a good idea. Today spoke to one doctor, Dr Amber Sills, who pointed out that ultrasounds can sometimes reveal bad news.
“What if the ultrasonographer started the ultrasound and there was no heartbeat?” she asked.
In response, Foster admitted she has seen things at the parties which require a professional follow-up. “If I see anything worrying I take the mother aside and tell her she needs to call her doctor right away,” she said.
While America is leading the way in home ultrasounds, a few clinics have followed suite in Australia. A Peek of U, a Sydney/Wollongong-based business, offers in-home views at a rate of $155 for 15 minutes or $250 for half an hour, with a “free rescan policy … so in the event that bub doesn't cooperate on the day you can have a free re-scan at either of our fixed locations”, according to the company's website.
Another business, A Window To Your Womb, offers 3D and 4D scans with at-home technicians around Australia. Its packages range from $165 to $450.