Fetus's gesture in ultrasound photo catches parents by surprise: 'We never saw anything like this before'
For parents-to-be, an ultrasound offers a rare glimpse of a growing fetus. For Kyle and Abby Weener of Hammond, Ind., the image offered something quite unique and rare: It appeared that the fetus was flashing a peace sign.
Kyle spoke with Yahoo Life about the surprising photos, which were taken at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, Ind.
"The tech just said, 'Hey, look at that. There's her two fingers,' and we all looked and just started laughing about what was happening. That's just crazy. They were like, 'Oh, we never saw anything like this before.' And so the tech was sure to get a number of pictures," he says. "It was special as our daughter was there — we were like, 'Wave to your sister!'"
Kyle, who shares son Ezra, 5, and daughter Eliza, 1, with Abby, says the couple is planning on naming their third child Eleanor, or Ellie for short.
"We're looking forward to meeting our daughter on April 1," he says.
How rare is it to see a fetus flashing the peace sign? According to ob-gyn Dr. Sarah Cross of Yale Medicine, it’s not particularly common — however, "if you spend enough time looking at fetal ultrasound you will catch fetuses in various cute poses."
Cross says that in terms of ultrasound imagery, it is "quite amazing how much better our technology has gotten." But it's not just used to give parents a view as to what's happening inside one's uterus — it can also be used to assess anatomical structures such as the "brain, heart and spine," as well as "the development of the placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic fluid."
"Later in pregnancy ultrasound can be used to check if a fetus is growing on track. We sometimes use ultrasound as a guide if we need to do a procedure like an amniocentesis," she explains. "I always joke that ultrasound cannot predict if a baby will sleep through the night or eat their vegetables or favorite colors, but we do have much more insight into fetal development than we used to in large part due to ultrasound."
Yet just like with Weeners' future daughter, it's possible to see "a lot of fetal behaviors on ultrasound."
"In the third trimester seeing a fetus doing practice breathing motions is also a sign of fetal well-being," she says. "In addition to these types of behaviors we sometimes catch glimpses of fetuses doing 'fun' things such as swallowing, yawning, sucking on a finger or grabbing things with their hands, such as a toe."
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