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To wonder why some sonographers are so tactless?

(127 Posts)
nosexpleaseimpregnant Sat 20-Aug-11 10:44:22

I've been mulling this over for the past couple of weeks now and I was just wondering if anybody else has had a bad experience when having a scan?
Almost 2 weeks ago we went for the dating scan, booked by the antenatal team based on dates from an early pegnancy scan. Whilst me and OH were quite happy/excited to see what we have made the sonographer started mumbling that baby seemed small and she couldn't make it more than 11 weeks. She turned to us and said 'baby's a bit small. Did you consent to the downs screening?'. At which point me and OH looked at each other with a WTF? look. She merrily returned to scanning my stomach and OH blurted out....'Is there something wrong?' to which she said 'No I was just making sure you had handed the form in'
She asked me to go out and drink some more water to see if she could improve the scan and then, whilst sitting staring at my drink thinking the worst she came out and said 'ok I figured it out. The early pregnancy scan showed you were 5w+ 6 days. We've documented it as 6w+ 5 days. Panic over. But you'll need to come back next week as you are only 11w+0'
I didn't know whether I was more relieved or pissed off at the general lack of consideration shown to us in the first place!!
Any other bad experiences out there?

itisnearlysummer Sat 20-Aug-11 10:56:06

I don't think this sounds too bad tbh.

Although, I tend to think that most people doing a job are doing their best, but as most jobs are done by human beings, there are errors of judgement, slips of the tongue, oversights etc. and so I always err on letting things go or giving people the benefit of the doubt.

We had similar comments made at one of our DD's scans about her being small etc. We were ferried around, I was hooked up to machines and prodded and heard stuff I'd rather not have done, but ultimately I had an EMCS 5 weeks early as a result of this which saved my DD's life. They were just doing their jobs - and very well as it turned out.

If she came back to you with an explanation in the time it took you to drink a glass of water, it seems she resolved an issue, not created one anyway.

Whatmeworry Sat 20-Aug-11 11:02:18

Is this your first child?

nosexpleaseimpregnant Sat 20-Aug-11 11:03:28

It was more the breezy manner it which it all came out then what she actually said. I know she has a job to do but when you have 2 parents already trying not to worry about the worst happening she should have thought about how she said it. Following on from 'baby's a bit small' with 'did you consent to downs screening' and then not following on with any other comment was tactless and caused more concern.

activate Sat 20-Aug-11 11:04:38

doesn't sound bad to me either

she was being matter-of-fact professional

you and your DH are being emotional

all is right with the world then

what did you want her to go "OOoooo look at the ickle diddums on my screeny-weeny"?


GwendolineMaryLacey Sat 20-Aug-11 11:06:25

In the past I have found sonographers to be the most miserable, patient despising people I've come into contact with. Allowing for that fact that it's a serious job that requires concentration and skill and you never know what news they might have had to give the person before you, they do seem to be lacking in common courtesy.

Having said that, I had 2 sonographers at my anomaly scan last week and they were both absolutely lovely. I nearly fainted with shock! They actually spoke to me, everyone else I've seen has barely acknowledged that I was lying there. They even had a sense of humour. Amazing and a much much better experience.

LordOfTheFlies Sat 20-Aug-11 11:07:08

TBH its sometimes just the way people say things rather than what they say.
For you, your scan is an exciting, worrying, once in a lifetime experience.
You've got X number of questions you want to ask.

For the sonographer ,you are one in a line of dozens of women having their scans.
They want to do the scan, then answer questions. They can't give you a full answer until they've done all the measurements.Sometimes they can't answer and they have to get the doctor in.
(I work in healthcare ,but not in maternity,and I'm aware how I say something can affect how the patient percieves the whole treatment)

When I had DC2, the sonographer muttered about 'low lying placenta', and my mind was "why,when,how, will I need a CS.I can't have a CS,I've got a toddler, I'm the only driver."
Just a casual observation but it freaked me out. As it happened the placenta moved so DD was NVD.Phew.!

So YANBU, probably just because at this time you are centred on what is going on with you, and some NHS staff are a bit detatched. (Some are eye-wateringly rude as well but thats another story)hmm

PositiveAttitude Sat 20-Aug-11 11:07:13

After our first daughter died, then on our 4th miscarriage (5t pregnancy) had a scan to see if foetus was viable or not, as he walked out the room, he turned and said "have fun trying again!" Not impressed!! angry

Catslikehats Sat 20-Aug-11 11:12:17

I don't believe they are so YANBU.

I have had 4DC's: my first two pregnancies were fairly standard, scans pretty in and out, treated pleasantly but nothing of note from the sonographers, perhaps even a little dismissive particularly since I think you expect something of a fanfare with your PFB grin.

Then I had two complicated pregnancies, one of which resulted in the stillbirth of my DS2. I can say that without exception the sonographers were amazing. During my most recent pregnancy they were patient and reassuring, they took their time, repeated bits of the scan explained it all to me, comforted me, genuinely seemd to care about the earlier loss of my son and generally treated me with absolute kindness.

So now I like to think that the sonographers actually deal with a lot of shit day in day out and save their best behaviour for those that really need it.

itisnearlysummer Sat 20-Aug-11 11:14:09

But the sonographer is a HCP. It's their job to look for potential problems, to scrutinise, to make observations, to ask questions etc. That's her job. It's not so that you can coo over a fuzzy picture of your baby. That's why you look at it!

Obviously this has upset you, so I don't want to appear flippant, but I do think YABU. There were no unnecessary comments made, no disparaging assumptions, no implied criticisms, no prejudices. Just someone doing a job which involves potentially worrying questions/situations.

She was just trying to make sure she understood the situation, you had done all the things she needed to do and then when she identified a small error in recording she explained it to you to prevent you from worrying about it.

They are quite breezy, it's generally the nature of people who work with mums and babies. It's nice.

That's all.

Morloth Sat 20-Aug-11 11:19:34

Sometimes people get it wrong.

I remember my first scan with DS1, the sonographer made a 'hah' sort of sound and when I asked her what? She said 'Nothing significant'...

I worried and worried and worried, and guess what? It wasn't significant.

Also you can have sex while you are pregnant, I recommend lots.

nosexpleaseimpregnant Sat 20-Aug-11 11:20:22

Yes it's my first smile

Melly20MummyToPoppy Sat 20-Aug-11 11:22:32

grin screeny weeny

LordOfTheFlies Sat 20-Aug-11 11:22:44

Positve attitude sad shock

I hope that doctor kicked his own arse after he left the room!

LoveBeingAtHomeOnMyOwn Sat 20-Aug-11 11:23:13

PA that's terrible shock

Op I can see why you are upset/angry, it's the first judgement I would have come to also. But have to say ime they have all been very professional and not caused me any concerns. In fact the 20 week scan I had following my amnio was the most reassuring one I'd seen.

Scans are for medical reasons, photos and you seeing the baby really are a bonus. What she said was correct, the baby was small, and she figured out why.

OooohShiny Sat 20-Aug-11 11:26:06

Several years ago in the very early stages of pregnancy...around 5/6 weeks I had bleeding and had to go for a scan. The sonographer turned to me after a few minutes and said "who told you you were pregnant?" I told her the several tests I had done had told me to which she replied "well there's clearly nothing here, go out and do another one".

I was on my own and quite clearly worried about the bleeding...I realise she had to double check but it was her attitude that upset me.

so no op, yanbu - but then I think often people don't think about how they say things comes across

pictish Sat 20-Aug-11 11:26:45

Sorry OP, but that doesn't sound tactless to me at all. They have to tick all the boxes as that's their job. You are being oversensitive.

nosexpleaseimpregnant Sat 20-Aug-11 11:30:25

Morloth the name was more related to early weeks of pregnancy when I could barely drag my sorry ass out of bed but now my energy has increased ten-fold so making up for lost time grin
I understand people think we were being precious, we certainly did not expect a fanfare, but we expected a little more tact (there's that word again!). I have turned into the biggest worrier about EVERYTHING since finding out I was pregnant (usually I have a 'don't care, what happens happens' attitude) and of course you worry there's going to be a problem.
To be fair the sonographer at my next scan was hilarious and so was her assistant and it was a much happier scan!!

sheepgomeep Sat 20-Aug-11 11:33:31

a friend of mine lost her first baby aged 18 at 12 weeks pg, she went to have a scan, the sonographer announced coldly without a sorry word 'theres no 12 week old baby in there, looks like it died at 8 weeks'. She was devastated. In fact she was treated apallingly by all the staff at the hospital she came in contact with. She said they saw her as a silly teenage girl who got herself up the duff when in fact she was married and had a job, she went on to have two more children though after this though.

nosexpleaseimpregnant Sat 20-Aug-11 11:36:32

Not entirely sure why Activate felt the need to be so patronising hmm

sheepgomeep Sat 20-Aug-11 11:41:29

I do sometimes think though that the sonographers know more than the consultants on occaision.

when pg with dd3 I had to fight for another c section because the consultants did not believe my instinct that she would be even bigger than dd2 who was 9lb 8oz. I was given a scan and the sonographer noticed that dd3 had rolls of fat round her belly and she was measuring slightly bigger than my dates and in her opinion there was every possibilty that dd3 would be close to ten pounds if I went over my due date.

Consultant said rubbish! how ridiculus blah blah. Anyway got my c section 5 days early and guess what she was 9lb 12.5 oz!

Catslikehats Sat 20-Aug-11 11:41:42

Think activate got it spot on actually

Morloth Sat 20-Aug-11 11:43:46

Get used to worrying, this is your life now.

itisnearlysummer Sat 20-Aug-11 11:44:34


Welcome to parenthood!

I was warned all about the pooey nappies, and the sleepless nights and the terrible twos...

But no one prepared me for the state of constant worry I've experienced ever since!

I'm glad your next scan went better for you. Good luck with the pregnancy and the baby.

Tee2072 Sat 20-Aug-11 12:03:07

We were actually told by several consultants (I was high risk) before our 20 week scan tha sonographers are notoriously rude and tactless. They don't mean to be, but their job is to find problems and they take that job very seriously.

Of course, this included the same consultant who had hanging on the wall over his desk the chart of rate of fetal and maternal death in the hospital for the last 5 years. hmm

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