I have the most stubborn little girl on the planet. She lights up my world each day and, sometime in the future, I know that her determination and fortitude will make her a force to be reckoned with. Right now, however, it can be a little stressful, and this began even before she was born. When I was pregnant with my tiny Slytherin, I had to get the anatomy scan done three times because she refused to move from her comfy position. I ended up asking the second tech how to get a baby to move for an ultrasound because I did not want to visit for a fourth time.
There are myriad solutions to this problem, and they're all pretty much along the same lines of thought: increase your movement, eat something high in sugar before hand, have a full bladder, poke, poke, poke. The website for a popular 3D medical scan clinic offers several suggestions ranging from the popular "eat chocolate," to the slightly more unexpected suggestion of "caressing your belly." The idea behind that suggestion is that the maternal touch somehow rouses the infant from their comfy place of relaxation and into more awareness and alertness, making them seek the stimulation of their mother's touch.
The issue with my daughter was a peculiar one. The tech needed her to move laterally (side to side) and a little bit horizontally so that they could get a good view of the four chambers in her heart. It was of extreme importance to see how they were progressing because of my family's medical history, but she couldn't be bothered to move. We tried poking her from the outside, rolling me onto my side, and drinking so much water I thought I might projectile vomit so forcefully that the first hurricane of that season would be named "Aquafina" in honor of me.
Third time was the charm, because after drinking a tall Frappuccino and going on a run right before the appointment, my daughter was practically a ball of fetal kinetic energy, and her heart was just the perfect little organ, beating away. Because my tech was so helpful, I spoke with Jenny Hernandez of South Texas, an ultrasound technician and mom of four, to get her suggestions for how to get a baby to move for ultrasounds.
Hernandez tells Romper that the best methods for getting your baby to move for ultrasounds are the ones you've probably heard about already. "There are a few that seem to work better than all the others. Drinking orange juice about 20 minutes before your appointment is probably number one." She says that she has no idea why everyone chooses orange juice, but because it's the gold standard, she has never thought to mention any other type of juice. I'm going out on a limb and say it doesn't taste as awful as say, cranberry, if it comes back up, which makes it a solid choice.
"Eating a milk chocolate bar with lots of sugar and a tiny bit of caffeine is also popular and seems to work. Just make sure you won't get nauseated by our prodding by eating it." Hernandez says that if nausea is still a thing for you, and it's exacerbated by the intense poking that ultrasounds require, "get moving. Take a brisk walk just before you come in. Even 10 or 15 minutes seems to do just fine to get your baby active as well. Babies mostly just sleep and roll around in your tummy — you have to motivate them to move." Much like my husband on a Sunday. When I asked Hernandez about a suggestion a friend once gave to me about having sex before the appointment she says, "I think a good walk is fine, but you do you.
"If all else fails," Hernandez adds, "we just keep poking, and keep trying. We usually get it eventually." Stay moving, have some sugar, and maybe get freaky. Hey, it's worth a try to avoid another doctor visit, right?