Dad’s “Aha” Moment: The Ultrasound

Expectant fathers can sometimes feel left out of the pregnancy experience. Moms-to-be get most of the attention, but an interesting study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focused on how Dads felt the first time they saw their babies on ultrasound. Not surprisingly, fathers reported that seeing their baby’s image for the first time – live and in person – was a huge step in helping prepare them for parenthood while reassuring them the pregnancy was going well.

Believe it or not, a father’s feelings about the ultrasound have rarely been studied, and prior studies have looked at fathers in Europe or Australia. This U.S.-based study interviewed 22 expectant fathers in Michigan aged 23-41 years old, after they viewed a routine ultrasound at 16-20 weeks into pregnancy.

Researchers suggest that this special moment of connection offers healthcare providers a great opportunity to engage men and to promote and encourage positive partnering and parenting. University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Researcher Dr. Tova Walsh:

“While all our fathers felt the mothers were receiving good care, about half of them felt excluded or ignored and wished that providers would offer them more explanation and opportunity to ask questions during the appointment. Because so much previous research shows that mothers and babies benefit when fathers are positively involved and supportive during pregnancy, they should feel welcome at an event that is their first interaction with the healthcare of the mother and baby.”

Interestingly, it didn’t matter if the dads were first timers or veterans – the ultrasound experience was just as powerful – with reactions ranging from quiet excitement to euphoria:

“My heart started beating faster just to hear a life — boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. It just felt like — the feeling’s indescribable, I was just blown away, like my eyes filled up but it’s like I won’t cry, I just was so happy to hear it…. The heartbeat is like letting me know it’s on the way, get ready.”

The net-net for Dads? Seeing is believing.


Gina Satta

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Gina Satta is a writer, namer and new mom living in San Francisco. When she isn’t brainstorming brilliant copy, she is either looking for parking, making up new versions of classic nursery rhymes, or eating chocolate. Gina is a paid consultant to CBR.

13 thoughts on “Dad’s “Aha” Moment: The Ultrasound

  1. When my husband Anthony saw the ultrasound, his eyes just welled up. This was an unforgettable moment for us. My husband is so masculine to see him have a sensitive side was so sweet. It’s even sweeter that he knows what we’re having and I chose to wait until the Gender reveal party. Now he just walks around the house grinning!

  2. Wish this was paid attention to and accounted for during the time of covid.
    Including partners in the 20-week anatomy ultrasound is so beneficial to the entire pregnancy experience.

    Due to covid, many partners are not able to attend leaving the pregnant partners feeling very alone and unsupported. Or looking to alternate, sometimes costly, options (ex. Outside practice ultrasound session)

    1. We’ve had some clients dial in their partners via FaceTime or Zoom while at the 20-week anatomy scan. We love when technology makes things more accessible 💜

    2. Yeah but we can go eat in restaurant together and go see movies, as well as live together but can’t go to the doctor together America is sick and I swear I hate that my husband can’t attend the ultrasound with me because this is our rainbow babies

    3. Omg I feel the same way I am mad at healthcare providers or who ever made that rule due to COVID not making an exception to the father. I am angry because they are being taken away their right to see their child! We should take a stand!

      1. Ultrasound wha is my gender reveal is boy or a girl just text me or just call me thank you appointment on friday 8 2020 at 10:00 in themorning

    1. Not true. My midwifery group let’s him into every single appointment no matter what it’s for. I had to search around but it is possible.

  3. I was lucky enough to get to sit in on the 20 week ultrasound due feb 6 with my first and I honestly still don’t know how I feel. It’s scary and exciting but this world worries the hell outta me.

  4. I agree with the posters above, the COVID era has left me bitter when it comes to how my husband is included (he’s not). I want the support of him by my side and he wants to see our baby but they won’t let him come. It’s so silly, he could come to our medical center to get a free flu shot or go to his own medical appointment but he’s not allowed to accompany even ONCE his pregnant wife, to see HIS baby that HE’S going to be tremendously involved in raising. Would him coming really raise the risk of the spread of COVID that much? I don’t believe so. If anyone should be not going into appointments, it’s me, as the lower immune individual. God forbid something happens and he’s not there at the birth, my heart breaks for those women. To those women whose medical facilities are allowing their partners, know you are SO lucky.

  5. My partner will Come to the only visit he can next week at our 20 week anatomy ultrasound appt. I’m glad my OB office is giving this opportunity to parents to be together at least for this appointment. Can’t wait to see his reaction!

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