How Do You Read an Ultrasound Picture?

Excitement ensues as you receive your very first clear ultrasound picture! The picture that doesn’t just look like a black mass with a white dot hovering, like in outer space. As you peer at the little square card that is your child, you try to not feel disappointed. It does not look like much. It does not look like much at all! Sad face!

But even the first ob ultrasound  can tell you mammoth amounts – you just need to know what to look for. Take a breath. Know that as each month goes by your little peanut will progress into a real live and human-looking shape, that you will be able to identify easily on those ultrasound pictures.

Let us show you how to read your  ob ultrasound picture and not only identify the odd shapes and shadows but also know what all the numbers and lettering mean on the printout. Take this ultrasound picture here.

The Details

(From top left to right)ultrasound

Carrollwood OB/Gyn  - this is your Gynecologist name
OB  - reference to Obstetrician
CLA4.0/60 - the specific reference number given to this Ultrasound picture
13:26:40 - the time
Rachel Johnson - your name
1105609 - your reference for the gyne
FPS:22 - ultrasound setting
12/03/2007 - the date
The rest of the info is not so important so do not worry about it.

The Graphics

The Colors

White - solid white images are normally solid tissues like bone
Grey - tissues like the uterus will appear a murky gray – as they are filled with liquid

Your Womb

This will appear as a light gray line around the edges of the picture. The blackness inside is the amniotic fluid.

Where is my Baby?

Inside the amniotic, fluid will be your baby, floating merrily away. They will look a little gray with some white shades, but yes, that is the baby.

As baby moves and turns more, you will begin to see clearly different parts of his or her body. In the beginning, baby doesn’t move much at all and that’s normal. If the ultrasound technician is skilled, they should be able to get a good precise shot each time.

Boy or Girl?

Only around 16 to 20 weeks will you be able to determine the sex of your baby.
rsz_ultrasound2It may not be clear to you as you scrutinize those little vague lines and circles, but your gyne or technician will be able to point out the giveaways in terms of whether it’s a boy or girl.

A sure sign of a girl is the absence of a penis, however, sometimes a finger or the cord can look like a little penis on the screen. It will become much clearer as the baby grows. Some gynae’s state that three little white lines in a triangle indicate a girl and one line is a boy. Some others claim that a square skull and jaw depicts a boy and a softer, rounder skull a girl. Further claims, which we are not so sure of, are that if the placenta is on the left of the uterus it is a girl and vise versa for a boy.

Video Help

Here is a simple video, which explains with pictures how to read that confusing ob ultrasound picture.


How do you read an ultrasound picture? With an open mind and patience!

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