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The grey and white shadows, shifted, twisted, and flowed. Shapes and shades drifted back and forth across the screen. The sonographer gently angled the probe, and the pelvis came into view. There it was, in between the fetus' legs. She moved the probe again for a different view, to be sure.
She turned to the woman and her partner, anxious and excited, waiting for the answer.
Interactions like this occur thousands of times a day, in ultrasound rooms across the world. Almost all women in developed countries have at least one antenatal ultrasound, and often several. These ultrasound examinations are primarily aimed to identify significant congenital abnormalities. However, scans also have social meaning. They potentially help the woman and her partner to generate an emotional attachment to the child to be.1 Images are now frequently shared with other family members, and start to generate a social identity for the new family member. But, as Tamara Kayali Browne argues in her feature article in …