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Ultrasounds: How to Deal With a Grouchy Tech

Going for an ultrasound to see your baby is such an exciting event to look forward to!  However a grouchy unpleasant ultrasound tech can quickly ruin that experience. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  This was supposed to be magical!  I’m seeing my baby for the first time!  

During the dating ultrasound with my first baby, the technician said they couldn’t see anything.  I had lost the baby… but the tech couldn’t tell me that, so I walked out in shock not knowing what just happened.  I had to see my doctor to get the results. One year later, I was walking into my first ultrasound after finding out I was pregnant with my rainbow baby.  It was nerve racking, I had no idea what to expect this second time around.  The ultrasound tech was cold, she told me to get on the table and lie down. I was hoping my husband could be there but she said he had to wait until after she had located the baby for him to come in.  She didn’t introduce herself, to her it was just another scan. But for me, this was a big deal… Is my baby okay?  Is there a heartbeat?  Will she see a baby there?  Thankfully, she allowed my husband to come in after she saw that there was a baby moving in my womb.  We got to take photos of the screen for our own memories.  Seeing your baby on that screen with a heartbeat moving around is such a reassuring feeling. 

I’ve heard so many stories of varying ultrasound experiences by women.  Some have a wonderful time and come home with a photo of their baby and some have to beg for a photo. 

If you’ve had a negative experience with an ultrasound tech and didn’t get to enjoy it as much as you had hoped, I’m sorry.   I asked some mamas to share their experiences and tips and these are the things they recommended. I hope this guide will help you know how to deal with any grouchy ultrasound techs that you may encounter in the future. 

  1. Be kind – If you are nice and respectful towards them, hopefully things will improve.  It’s hard to know what someone else is going through in the small snippet we see.   As one mama said – “Kindness usually wins”.  Start with asking for their name and ask how their day is going! 
  2. Manage your expectations – ultrasound techs are focusing on their task at hand and may not say much during the ultrasound. Do your best to rest, relax, and close your eyes if you need to.  They are looking to ensure that your baby is healthy and doing well. Their job is not to interpret the data.  Their role is to get good quality images so that the doctor can interpret them and provide the results.   They may not be chatty as they are unable to share much information and want to ensure that the baby is doing well first and foremost.  Many times, they are the first person to discover bad news about your pregnancy during an ultrasound. It can be challenging if they notice something is wrong such as a miscarriage or medical issues.  One mama recommends managing your expectations by treating an ultrasound just like any other medical procedure such as getting your blood drawn.  
  3. Advocate for yourself and ask for a different technician – if the experience was extremely negative and disappointing, feel free to ask for another technician or rebook with another clinic. Several mamas mentioned they did this when they were unhappy with their previous technician.
  4. Ask for your partner to be present – having a support person can make a big difference.  These days each clinic has different COVID protocols. Ask to see if they will allow your support person to be there.  Private obstetric ultrasound clinics are usually more guaranteed to have a positive experience and allow partners to be present.  You would need to pay out of pocket for this service however it would include a 2D or 4D image of your baby.
  5. Provide feedback – If you feel comfortable doing so, express to the tech how you felt and provide feedback. Another option is to inform their manager about your experience. One mama recommended doing this if you have a very upsetting time with your ultrasound tech.  Hopefully it doesn’t need to come to this last option however you may be helping the next mama have a better experience by complaining and providing feedback. 

If you’re reading this, I hope you have a healthy pregnancy and meet some calm, kind, and respectful ultrasound techs along your journey. 

Sending so much love and good vibes on any future ultrasounds you have!

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