Shine On

The latest parenting craze? Ultrasound parties

Ultrasound parties cater to parents wanting to reveal the sex of their baby to family and friends. (Thinkstock …If the idea of sharing life's most intimate moments with family and friends appeals to you, you might be fan of ultrasound parties.  

Ultrasound parties have become a trend catering to parents wanting to reveal the gender of their baby to loved ones.

While Facebook made it possible to share sonogram photos, ultrasound parties are "the new frontier in pregnancy oversharing," says TODAY.  

At-home ultrasounds take gender-revealing to a new level and to a new price point. Companies charge between $100 and $350 for a session.

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"Gender reveal is probably the bulk of our work," says Teena Gold, co-founder of Arkansas' BabyFace and More."It's more of an experience and less of an in-and-out procedure."

Gold adds that at one party it was discovered the parents-to-be were expecting twins.

The parties have plenty of naysayers, and not simply because of the overshare element of having your in-laws ooh and ah over the contents of your uterus.

"What if the ultrasonographer started the ultrasound and there was no heartbeat?" asks Dr. Amber Sills, a gynecologist from Bentonville, Arkansas. "Or what if the fetus had not developed a skull/head/brain? This happens more than most people realize. What do you do then?"

Gold acknowledges that risk.

"If the ultrasonographer at the party sees something irregular during the scan, they will likely not say anything due to the potential legal implications. It's kind of a liability nightmare."

Sills cautions that ultrasounds were designed to diagnose disorders and malformations, to assess the amount of amniotic fluid, and to help estimate fetal weight — not for gender determination or entertainment value.

She worries that some expecting parents might choose an at-home ultrasound before going through the procedure with an obstetrician or radiologist, as they have diagnostic skills beyond those of ultrasonographers.

In Toronto, six hospitals won't reveal fetal sex during ultrasounds. In some cases, physicians can divulge gender information, but technicians cannot.

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The Stir's Lindsay Mannering is uncomfortable with the idea of sharing such an intimate experience with people who might not actually want to see her insides.

"Whatever floats your boat, ladies, but I'd sooner die than have Uncle Robbie drip salad dressing from his plate of crudités onto my exposed stomach as some stranger with an alleged degree rubs goo all over my midsection and reveals the most private details of my baby's life and mine to a room full of people who may or may not have accepted the invitation only because they felt like they had to, or because they're big fans of spin dip," she writes.

The Los Angeles Times' Alexandra Le Tellier defends the trend that Jezebel calls "the latest rage for self-important pregnant women."

Le Tellier writes that many America women are still encouraged to hide their pregnancies from employers for as long as possible in order to keep their jobs and not get passed over for promotions, and that women who celebrate their pregnancies publicly are to be admired.

"Sad to say, but pregnancy discrimination still exists," she writes. "So, while an ultrasound party may not be my cup of tea, I’m all for women celebrating their pregnancies — and  even screening their ultrasounds."

Would you host an ultrasound party? Tell us in the comments.  

Watch the video below about private ultrasound clinics in Canada willing to reveal the sex of a fetus earlier than medical clinics. 

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